Tag Archives: clemency

Clemency for Arthur Tyler

From Ohioans to Stop Executions:

Urge Governor Kasich of Ohio to grant clemency to Arthur Tyler.

The state of Ohio will execute Arthur Tyler on May 28, 2014 unless the Governor intervenes.

The co-defendant in this case, Leroy Head, has confessed no less than eleven times that he killed the victim, Sander Leach.

Today Leroy Head is a free man while Mr. Tyler awaits the death penalty.

The clemency phase is Mr. Tyler’s last chance to receive a fair sentence. In a case so riddled with doubt and inconsistencies, the Governor would be more than justified to ensure the integrity of our criminal justice system by commuting Mr. Tyler’s sentence.

Write Governor Kasich today and urge him to grant clemency for Arthur Tyler.

See you along the Trail.


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Call for clemency in Pennsylvania

Terrance Williams is scheduled to be executed by the people of Pennsylvania on October 3, 2012 for his role in the murder of Amos Norwood.

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty and Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty are partnering to ask Pennsylvania religious leaders to endorse a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons appealing for clemency for Mr. Williams.

Time is of the essence. If you are a religious leader living in Pennsylvania, please support this call for clemency by endorsing the letter here.

If you know religious leaders who live in Pennsylvania, please encourage them to take immediate action.

See you along the Trail.

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Stop the Execution of Warren Hill in Georgia

Amnesty International USA provides this introduction to the situation and an opportunity to send a message to the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles:

Warren Hill is scheduled to be executed in Georgia on July 18, despite having been ruled “mentally retarded” by a preponderance of the evidence by a Georgia state judge. Executing persons with intellectual disabilities is unconstitutional, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has the opportunity and the responsibility to do what courts have been unable to do – prevent this execution and preserve the integrity of Georgia justice.

To learn more about this case, read or print AIUSA’s full Urgent Action sheet: PDF format

Warren Hill is to be executed for the 1990 murder of a fellow prisoner, Joseph Handspike. He has a mental disability the seriousness of which leaves the constitutionality of his pending execution in real doubt. However, Amnesty International USA reports that Georgia requires defendants to prove their mental disability to “the enormously high ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard.” AIUSA suggests that in most other states, Hill would not face execution.

I grieve for the family and friends of Joseph Handspike. There is no justification for his death.

But I oppose Warren Hill’s execution and I have signed AIUSA’s call to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles because of questions about Hill’s mental capacities, because it will not bring Joseph Handspike back, because it will be an act of vengeance, because imprisonment without parole is an option, and because state violence diminishes us all.

See you along the Trail.

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Not in my name, Governor Kasich

Ask Ohio Governor John Kasich to grant clemency to John Jeffrey Eley.

Unless Governor Kasich acts, the State of Ohio will execute Eley on July 26, 2012 for his role in the 1986 murder of Ahsan Aydah.

Ohioans to Stop Executions urges Governer Kasich to grant clemency because:

Prominent individuals connected to the case support clemency for Mr. Eley because they no longer feel his case necessitates his execution. These individuals include:

  • Gary Van Brocklin, the prosecuting attorney who tried the case.
  • The Hon. Peter Economus, one of the three judges who sentenced Mr. Eley to death.
  • Retired detective Joseph Fajack, the lead investigator on the case who secured Mr. Eley’s confession.
  • Guy Trammel, a probation officer familiar with Mr. Eley who prepared the presentencing report.

In addition to the unprecedented support of these prominent individuals, Mr. Eley is developmentally disabled (in the past, this was termed “mentally retarded”). The United States Supreme Court has disallowed the execution of anyone with such low intellectual function.

Three parole board members recommended clemency based on the following facts:

  • The prosecuting attorney supports clemency.
  • Mr. Eley suffers from a developmental disability, which the parole board affirmed, stating, “he is intellectually challenged.”
  • Mr. Eley was influenced to commit the crime by his accomplice.
  • Mr. Eley exhibits extremely low intellectual functioning.
  • Mr. Eley was offered a plea bargain.
  • Mr. Eley’s crime is not the “worst of the worst.”

The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center of Cincinnati offers the following (slightly edited) report on Eley’s case and recent clemency hearing:

Eley was convicted for murdering 28-year-old Aydah during a robbery of a grocery store. Eley told investigators at the time that he shot Aydah after the shopkeeper reached under a counter for a gun. He said he was aiming at the victim’s shoulder and did not intend to kill him, though the gunshot entered Aydah’s head inches above the earlobe.

The Ohio Parole Board rejected a plea for clemency for Aydah by a 5 to 3 vote on June 20, 2012. Federal public defender Vicki Werneke argued Tuesday during the hearing that Eley is an intellectually disabled, easily manipulated man who followed the lead of another, Melvin Green, the real instigator of the robbery who put the black, snub-nose gun in Eley’s hand the day of the crime.

Public defenders pointed out other mitigating factors — Eley’s impoverished childhood, a history of alcohol and drug abuse and head injuries, and likely brain impairment — as reasons for a sentence commutation. And a psychologist presented as an expert in mental retardation said he believed Eley is mentally disabled and, if tried today, likely would not qualify for a death penalty.

But Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Ralph Rivera called Eley a career criminal with a lengthy record who “has never learned from his mistakes” and who “denies all responsibility for the crime,” despite his earlier confession.

“It was the defendant who chose to go with Melvin Green, and he chose to end Mr. Aydah’s life,” he said.

Those words contain truth. I grieve for Ashan Aydah and for all who love him. I grieve that violence cut his life short.

But executing John Jeffrey Eley will not bring Ashan Aydah back to life. It will not protect the people of Ohio any more effectively than we would be by Eley serving the rest of his life in prison.

An execution would be an act of vengeance that perpetuates violence within our culture.

So I call on Governor Kasich to grant clemency: no executions in my name.

See you along the Trail.

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Ask for clemency in Oklahoma

Something rare has happened in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has voted to recommend clemency (mercy) for a person facing execution. They do not do that often, but they did so by a vote of 4 to 1 in the case of Garry T. Allen. The State of Oklahoma is scheduled to execute Allen on Thursday, April 12, 2012 for his murder of Lawanna Gail Titsworth. A number of reasons are cited to support the vote.

  • Allen does not recall the crime. This could result from either  extreme intoxication and/or being shot in the head when apprehended.
  • Despite this lack of memory, Allen has accepted responsibility for shooting Lawanna Gail Titsworth in a domestic dispute.
  • His behavior during the shooting when Allen asked Titsworth her if she was all right, and later, at the hospital, he asked where she was point to Allen being mentally impaired at the time of the crime.
  • Allen’s family reported instances of delusional thinking even as a child. It is also reported that he suffered head injuries during a beating. It is further reported that the “frontal lobe of Allen’s brain, the part involved in planning and moderating behavior, is damaged, perhaps because of earlier head injuries or perhaps because of the gunshot in the head, or both.”
  • Allen accepts the fact that he killed Titsworth – though he does not remember but was told by others that he committed the crime. In an effort to spare both Titsworth’s and his own family painful legal proceedings, Allen plead guilty to the crime.

I grieve for the family, friends, and all who loved Lawanna Gail Titworth. They have suffered a loss I cannot imagine.

But I fail to see how executing Garry T. Allen serves a purpose other than revenge. And the State of Oklahoma – any state – should be better than that. The State of Oklahoma should not execute this mentally ill and remorseful man. He should serve the remainder of his life in an appropriate state facility.

I signed a petition asking Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma to show mercy and, as the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommends, to grant clemency to Gary T. Allen.

You too can sign the petition.

See you along the Trail.

I regret that I have not made time to address issues of capital punishment and the death penalty over the last couple months.

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