Texas executed Yokamon Hearn today. Hearn had been convicted of the 1998 murder of Dallas stockbroker Frank Meziere following a carjacking. Hearn had appealed his sentence on the grounds of his mental disabilities and inadequate legal advice early in his case. Courts denied those appeals.
I grieve for the family and friends of Frank Meziere. I recognize that Hearn had a previous criminal record. But imprisoning Hearn for life would have protected society from him.
Today in Georgia, the Department of Corrections postponed the execution of Warren Hill (who was convicted of the murder of Joseph Handspike). They did not do so because of concerns related to his mental abilities. The State Board of Pardons and Parole denied his appeal for clemency on those grounds. His lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to stay his execution on those grounds.
The postponement came because Georgia is changing its execution protocol to use only one drug, pentobarbital. Interestingly enough, Texas used the same drug to execute Hearn.
I grieve for the family and friends of Joseph Handspike. Again, however, imprisoning Hill for life would protect society from him.
Executions do not reverse horrible crimes. Violence begets violence. We have alternatives.
See you along the Trail.
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.