56 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Attorneys from the U.S.A III

"The crimes of rape, torture, treason, kidnapping, murder, larceny, and perjury pivot on a moral code that escapes apodictic [indisputably true] proof by expert testimony or otherwise. But communities would plunge into anarchy if they could not act on moral assumptions less certain than that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west.” [The Death Penalty, but Sparingly 1 July 2001]

“Abolitionists may contend that the death penalty is inherently immoral because governments should never take human life, no matter what the provocation. But that is an article of faith, not of fact, just like the opposite position held by abolitionist detractors, including myself. All of the instrumental or complementary reasons chorused by anti-death penalty supporters do not withstand scrutiny.” [The Death Penalty, but Sparingly 1 July 2001]  

“The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense, and thus subject even to butchery to satiate human gluttony. Moreover, capital punishment celebrates the dignity of the humans whose lives were ended by the defendant's predation. Nothing less would adequately give expression to the sacredness of innocent life.” [The Death Penalty, but Sparingly 1 July 2001]

“Conscription and war, like the death penalty, also involve government action that knowingly will precipitate the extinguishment of human life. And the dead conscripts, unlike a capital criminal, will be free of any legal or moral guilt.” [The Death Penalty, but Sparingly 1 July 2001]

“The death penalty is first cousin to conscription and war. In both cases, the government exercises coercion and undertakes action that it knows will end human life. In the former, the justification is retribution commensurate with the sacredness of the lives taken by the defendants in cold blood. In the latter, the government sacrifices the lives of its citizens to protect our constitutional dispensation from domestic or foreign enemies or for related reasons of urgent national security.” [The Death Penalty, but Sparingly 1 July 2001]

Bruce Fein is a lawyer in the United States who specializes in constitutional and international law. Fein has written numerous articles on constitutional issues for The Washington Times, Slate.com, The New York Times, Legal Times, and is active on the issues of civil liberties. He has also worked for the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, both conservative think tanks, as an analyst and commentator. Fein is a principal in a government affairs and public relations firm, The Lichfield Group, in Washington, D.C.. He is also a resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America. Bruce Fein was born in 1943 and raised in San Francisco. He received his degree in law from Harvard Law School in 1972.

Sunday 18 December 2011 - "When I was prosecutor in Houston in the 1980s, there would be something like 900 murders a year, and it seems like there was a store clerk or two being killed every weekend," said Rob Kepple, executive director of the Texas Association of District and County Attorneys. "It probably shouldn't surprise folks that the active use of death penalty was a tool that was used, at the very least to try to save some of the lives of those clerks. Now the murder rate is way down and you don't see nearly as many of those as you used to." 

Rob Kepple is the Executive Director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, a non-profit corporation that offers training and assistance to Texas prosecutors. He currently serves as a member of the Supreme Court Task Force on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, and is a past president of the State Bar Criminal Justice Section Council. Before going to the Association in 1990, Rob served as a chief felony prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, Texas, and as an associate at the law firm of Fulbright and Jaworski. Rob is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the National Law Center in Washington, D.C., and is certified by the State Bar of Texas as a specialist in criminal law.

Now think about the person who intentionally murdered that boy or girl. If you are not so angry that you want to kill that murderer, you are not being honest with yourself. [Our Innate Morality Demands Execution May 07, 2001]

This leaves as the primary objection that the state should never kill, an untenable position. States kill in just wars and authorize police officers to fire in self-defense. The state also, inevitably, makes choices that result in death, such as the decision to raise the speed limit to 65 mph or build a dam. [Our Innate Morality Demands Execution May 07, 2001]

It is true that the death penalty is administered not in the heat of war or a gun battle but after the opportunity for deliberation. But the procedural safeguards and opportunities for multiple judicial appeals may strengthen the case for the death penalty. [Our Innate Morality Demands Execution May 07, 2001]

People make all sorts of choices that shorten their lives. The state has put people on notice that committing murder can lead to the death penalty. McVeigh has made his choice and should have to live and die with the consequences. [Our Innate Morality Demands Execution May 07, 2001]

Much of the disquiet of elite opinion with the death penalty seems to stem from a reluctance to differentiate between right and wrong. A just society, however, must protect its citizens and vindicate their sense of justice. Perhaps paradoxically, executing McVeigh is the best way to affirm Americans' deeply held belief that life is a gift from God and that those who cold-bloodedly snuff it out should not continue to enjoy that gift. [Our Innate Morality Demands Execution May 07, 2001]

Daniel E. Troy is a Partner of the Life Sciences Practice & Appellate Litigation Group at Sidley Austin LLP.  He regularly represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal government agencies.  In addition to providing strategic counseling on FDA-related matters, Mr. Troy practices administrative and constitutional law and litigation, with particular focus on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, medical device, cosmetic, and media industries.  He is the former chief counsel of FDA.  In that capacity, he reviewed and approved major regulations and important guidances issued during that time.  Mr. Troy played a key role in the drafting of the rule modifying the process by which generic drugs come to market, and successfully argued two Hatch-Waxman cases for the FDA.  He oversaw the agency’s warning and untitled letters, helped raise the agency’s focus on First Amendment issues, and played a principal role in the FDA’s generally successful assertion of preemption in selected product liability cases.  Before serving as FDA’s chief counsel, he was a Partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in constitutional and administrative law issues.  Mr. Troy has argued more than a score of cases to federal and state courts of appeal, including a successful appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court.  he was also an associate scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writing Retroactive Legislation (AEI Press 1998).  He has also published articles in Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, the Washington Times, National Review, Legal Times, and others.  Mr. Troy is a contributor to the Cato Supreme Court Review and the Heritage Guide to the Constitution.  His writing on commercial speech, which includes his article “Advertising:  Not Low Value Speech” in the Yale Journal of Regulation has been cited by the California Supreme Court, as well as justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.  From 1987-1989 he served in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney-advisor.  From 1983-1984 Mr. Troy clerked for D.C. Circuit Judge Robert Bork.  He has served as a lecturer-in-law at his alma mater where he was a Book Review Editor of the Law Review, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and a James Kent Scholar.  He has served on numerous committees and was the Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy from 2006-2007.  Mr. Troy received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and his law degree from Columbia Law School. 

Sunday 23 October 2011 - While some defense lawyers say Hochul is overzealous and is wasting taxpayer money, Hochul, 52, defends his record. He said he is enforcing federal law and trying to protect law-abiding people in neighborhoods terrorized by gang violence.

Hochul said his office does elect to file murder and racketeering charges in some gang-murder cases, and it's the murder charge in the context of racketeering that makes the cases death penalty-eligible. But ultimately -- after a review process that usually takes months -- the final decision on whether to pursue the death penalty is made by Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington. And after a death penalty case goes to trial, a jury decides whether the defendant will face execution.

"I often go out and speak to block clubs in the inner city, and people come up to me and tell me they are afraid to go out for a walk in their own neighborhood, or sit in their own backyard," Hochul said. "We will continue to bring these cases against the most violent offenders and leave the ultimate decisions to the attorney general and juries."

Among those who still face potential death penalty prosecutions are: (1) Three men accused of ambushing and murdering Quincy Turner, a race car driver who was a federal witness in a Jamestown drug probe. (2) Six people accused of torturing and murdering Francisco Santos, whose body was found on the Seneca Nation's Cattaraugus Territory, and other violence. (3) Three alleged members of the Seventh Street gang who are accused of murders, assaults and drug trafficking on Buffalo's West Side.

"We take these decisions very seriously," Hochul said. "We only file capital charges against those defendants who appear to be the worst of the worst."

William J. Hochul, Jr. (born 1959) is the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. Hochul was born in Buffalo, New York in 1959. He graduated from Cheektowaga Central High School in Cheektowaga, New York, just outside of Buffalo. Hochul received a bachelor's degree from University of Notre Dame in 1981 and earned his Juris Doctor from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1984. Hochul served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of New York from 1991 to 2010. During that time, he served as Chief of the Anti-Terrorism Unit from 2002 to 2007 and as Chief of the National Security Division from 2007 to 2010. Hochul was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service for his work as lead prosecutor of the Lackawanna Six, which resulted in the 2003 convictions of six Yemeni-American for providing material support to Al-Qaeda. In 2006, Hochul unsuccessfully applied to a counterterrorism position at the Department of Justice's Executive Office for United States Attorneys. A 2008 report by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General revealed that Hochul's appointment was one of several appointments that were inappropriately blocked by Department of Justice official Monica Goodling due to political considerations. The report found that Hochul was passed over in favor of "a much less experienced, but politically acceptable, attorney". Hochul, who has variously registered to vote as both an independent and a Democrat, is married to Kathleen C. Hochul, a longtime politically active Democrat. The report concluded that Goodling found Hochul objectionable "because of his and his wife's political affiliation" and instead appointed a registered Republican who lacked counterterrorism experience and did not have the requisite five years of experience as a federal prosecutor. On December 23, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Hochul to serve as the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. He was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on March 10, 2010. It is hard to find a federal prosecutor anywhere in the nation who has filed as many potential death penalty cases as William J. Hochul Jr., the U.S. attorney for Western New York. Since taking office in March 2010, Hochul has filed potential death penalty cases against 24 people. That's more than those filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Miami or any city in Texas. In fact, among the 94 federal prosecutors throughout the land, only two others -- both from New York City-area districts far more populous than Western New York -- have filed as many potential death penalty cases with Washington as Hochul in the past two years.

Thursday 3 May 2012 - District Attorney Steve Cooley asked the Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday to execute a Death Row inmate convicted in the 1985 murder of a pizza deliveryman in a Glendale hotel room. 

Cooley requested the court-approved single-drug protocol--used in Ohio, Washington and Arizona for Death Row inmate executions.

“It is time Sims and Cox pay for their crimes,” Cooley said. “I am joining with the California District Attorneys Association and other District Attorneys throughout California in asking the Superior Courts throughout the state to hold these killers responsible for the innocent lives they took so many years ago.”

“The death penalty was voted into law by the citizens of this state and continues to be supported by a majority of the citizens,” Cooley said. He noted that it has been six years since the last California execution. 

“It is time to enforce the law of the state and carry out the death sentences that have been returned by juries, imposed by trial judges and affirmed by our appellate court system,” Cooley said. 

Steve Cooley A.K.A Stephen Lawrence "Steve" Cooley (born May 1, 1947) is an American politician. As a Republican, he has been a prosecutor for 27 years and has been the Los Angeles County District Attorney since his election in 2000, in which he defeated incumbent two-term District Attorney Gil Garcetti, a Democrat. Cooley was re-elected in 2004 and 2008. Cooley won the Republican nomination for Attorney General against John C. Eastman and Tom Harman in the June 8 primary election. Cooley ran against and lost to the Democratic nominee, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, in the November 2 general election. On November 24, 2010, Cooley lost the election to Harris.

Friday 2 November 2012 - "Prosecutors across the country are closely watching what happens with this, with some concern about how it could potentially impact them if this gains momentum," said Scott Burns, executive director of the National District Attorneys Association.

Burns, whose group represents 39,000 prosecutors, said law enforcement officials are fighting to preserve an "appropriate penalty" in the most heinous of criminal cases.

"How do you put a cost on the life of a victim?" Burns said. "Tell a family that the cost of a victim is based on some state budget."

Scott Burns was selected by the National District Attorneys Association Board of Directors on 21 March 2009, to serve as executive director of the association.

Tuesday 5 July 2011 - Former Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine, a proponent of the death penalty and a vocal critic of Ryan's decision to clear death row, pointed out that among those who benefit from the ban is a man who raped a mother and daughter in front of one another before stabbing them to death.

"I believe there are some people who do such terrible things that they forfeit their right to be among us," he said.

Devine said he doesn't believe the death penalty is gone forever in Illinois, and that the debate will begin anew when there is a particularly horrific crime.

"I suspect when the next John Wayne Gacy, Timothy McVeigh ... happens, there will be some discussion of bringing it back," he said. "Nothing is carved in stone."

Richard A. "Dick" Devine (born July 5, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois) was the State's Attorney of Cook County, Illinois, United States from 1996 to 2008. He was elected to his third term in November 2004. Devine is a graduate of Loyola Academy, Loyola University Chicago, and the Northwestern University School of Law. A lawyer for over 35 years, he has argued before the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, the 7th Circuit United States Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He served previously as an aide to Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, as First Assistant to Cook County, Illinois, State's Attorney Richard M. Daley, and as President of the Chicago Park District. As a lawyer in private practice, he was a partner at Shefsky, Froehlich & Devine, before that at Phelan, Cahill, Devine & Quinlan and initially at Foran, Wiss & Schultz, all in Chicago, Illinois. Devine began his legal career at Squire Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a member of the Greylord Commission appointed to reform the Cook County, Illinois courts and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is currently teaching at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and is a partner at Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP in Chicago.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos was among fellow top prosecutors at the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday 24 April 2012 voicing their opposition to a measure that aims to abolish California's death penalty.

The California District Attorneys Association, of which Ramos is past president, is opposed to the SAFE California Act, a November ballot measure that would replace the death penalty with the punishment of life in prison without parole.

The measure to abolish the death penalty official qualified for the November ballot on Monday.

If voters approve, 725 death row inmates would have their sentences converted to the new punishment, which would be the harshest that prosecutors could seek.

In Sacramento, Ramos marched with fellow district attorneys and victims' family members in support of Crime Victims Week, which began on Monday. Opponents say the measure removes justice for victims of death row prisoners.

"It's a horrible idea and I think (supporters of the measure) are manipulating the facts," Ramos said.

"Nobody sitting on California's death row has ever been proven innocent. These people brutally and horrifically murdered citizens of our county. We are careful about who we select for the death penalty and we don't make these decisions lightly ... I can tell you that the people sitting on death row are not only guilty, but they deserve the ultimate punishment."

Saturday 5 May 2012 - San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos is speaking out against a November ballot initiative that aims to end the death penalty in California.

In an interview, he said it's his priority right now.

The SAFE California Act was cleared last month for the fall ballot. It seeks to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole as the maximum punishment for murder.

The initiative's proponent, Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California, cited several reasons for the repeal effort, including the state's significant budget crisis, the high cost of maintaining the death penalty and the risk of executing an innocent person.

If the initiative passes, more than 700 death row inmates - including 43 who committed their crimes in San Bernardino County - would join the prison's general population. But it would require the inmates to work and pay restitution to the state victim compensation fund.

"I think it's wrong," Ramos said of the repeal effort. "As we know, the citizens of California have voted for and approved the death penalty."

Ramos said the title of the SAFE California Act is misleading and that its proponents are simply using California's tough economic times to further their cause.

We have nobody who is innocent sitting on death row, he said.

Ramos said the non-profit RAND Corp. found no objective data as to the true cost of the death penalty. The state will have to pay for housing either way, he said.

"I'm such an advocate for the death penalty," said Ramos, who also advocates for victims' rights. "You want to save money, let's start putting people (on death row) to death."

Statewide, 41 death row inmates killed police officers, 141 killed children and 135 sexually assaulted and raped their victims, Ramos said.

One of San Bernardino County's notorious killers, Kevin Cooper, has been sitting on death row for 27 years after being convicted of the hatchet slayings on June 4, 1983, of Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old house guest in Chino Hills.

Cooper appealed 10 times each to the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, Ramos said.

"Each time, the evidence got stronger against him," he said. "Cooper wanted us to conduct DNA testing and we did. The most recent blood tests revealed Cooper's DNA." 

No execution date has been set for Cooper or any other California death row inmates because of concerns that the state's lethal injection method, which uses three injections, is inhumane.

But Ramos does agree that the death penalty needs to be fixed. There should be an appellate process, he said, but it needs to be streamlined to prevent appeals just for the purpose of delay.

Ramos also believes the method used should be a single injection and that it's not cruel and unusual punishment.

"It's a humane way," he said. "It basically puts them to sleep. I will tell you this, our victims didn't have that choice. They didn't get to say goodbye to family members."

District attorneys statewide use their discretion when deciding whether to seek the death penalty.

"This is probably one of the most serious decisions I have to make as a DA," Ramos said, "whether or not to seek the death penalty. I have a lot of respect for the whole process. It's a huge decision to make."

Wednesday 3 October 2012 - San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos, a Catholic, said he respects Prejean.

But Ramos, who did not attend Wednesday’s speech, said the death penalty truly is for the worst of the worst. He pointed to Rickie Lee Fowler. A jury convicted Fowler of five counts of first-degree murder and two counts of arson in connection with the 91,000-acre Old Fire. The same jury Sept. 28 recommended that Fowler be executed. Earlier this year, Fowler was sentenced to 75 years to life for repeatedly raping a cellmate.

“If Fowler is not executed”, Ramos said, “he’s going to continue to commit crimes on other victims. Our question is, ‘Will he kill someone in prison? Will he kill a correctional officer?’”

Ramos said passage of Prop. 34 would cause pain and suffering for the families of victims. Murderers like Fowler will be able to receive visits from their families.

“Where do our families go?” Ramos asked. “They go to the cemetery.”

Michael Ramos is the San Bernardino County District Attorney of California - Michael Ramos is the San Bernardino County District Attorney - On January 4, 2011, Michael A. Ramos was sworn in as District Attorney of the County of San Bernardino for a third term. In his address, he noted the importance of continuing his mission to fight violent crime and corruption and make victims’ rights a priority. No stranger to the local area, District Attorney Ramos was born and raised in Redlands, California. He has been married to his wife Gretchen for 30 years.  He has two grown children, Michele and Michael and a grandson, Christian. After attending local schools in Redlands and graduating from Redlands High School in 1976, Ramos earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California in Riverside in 1980 and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Citrus Belt Law School in Riverside in 1988. Ramos’ government service began in 1980, where he started as a group counselor with the Probation Department and then later became a Probation Officer. He started his career with the District Attorney’s Office in June 1989, as a Deputy District Attorney. In addition to his work in general prosecution and the narcotics unit, he served with the Major Crimes Unit for four years, until 2002, when he was elected District Attorney for San Bernardino County. His civic services have included serving as a school board member from 1995 – 2002; member of the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board; and President of the California District Attorney Association Board Member, to name a few. Recently, Ramos was elected to represent the State of California on the National District Attorney’s Association Board of Directors and serve as co-chair of the NDAA’s committee for corrections and prison re-entry. “Because of my work as president of the CDAA with Governor Brown on AB 109 this past year, I have been noticed as an expert in this area,” said Ramos. “Having this opportunity will give me the chance to highlight the successes and models of our office with my colleagues across the country. Ultimately, though, this will allow me to be a leader on all issues that affect public safety and victims of crime.” A firm believer in serving his community, Ramos has been recognized with such awards as the Inland Empire Hispanic Image Awards recipient for Influential Latino of the Year (2005); the Victim Service Award San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office Victim/Witness Assistance Program (2000); and M.A.D.D. Prosecutor of the Year Award (1998). During his tenure, he has added a Public Integrity Unit to handle political corruption and a Lifer Parole Hearing Unit to ensure that violent prisoners serve their maximum prison terms. He has also expanded Gang Units to all three of his major offices, as well as Fontana. Since 2005, when the Gang Unit was created, there have been 3,902 state prison commitments secured for a total of 25,840 years plus 108 life terms in state prison. “The rise of criminal street gangs in this county is a real threat to our communities, but I refuse to allow these local terrorists to determine how we live our daily lives,” said Ramos. “I’ve said it before and I will continue to say that coming down hard on gang crime and keeping our communities safe will always be an important mission of this office.” To further combat gangs, in 2007, Ramos implemented a Gang Injunction Unit, which targets gangs in unincorporated areas of the county and uses civil abatement methods to assist in ridding the county of gangs. The most recent gang injunction was filed in July 2011 against a criminal street gang in the City of Rialto. The injunction will serve to disrupt the gang's activities and make it harder for them to intimidate community members by prohibiting members from congregating and loitering in an area designated as the Safety Zone. Ramos has also expanded the Cold Case Unit to deal with the increase in cold cases that are being solved due to new technology, such as DNA. “These are important cases, said Ramos, “because to a victim or a victim’s family, a case is never ‘cold.’”Ramos has also established an Identity Theft Unit with attorneys in his three major offices, as well as the Victim Services Unit, which provides assistance to victims as they make their way through the criminal justice system. Additionally, he has expanded the Family Violence Unit with attorneys who are cross-trained in elder abuse, domestic violence and crimes against children. “Ultimately, our job is to represent the people in the criminal justice system for the County of San Bernardino,” said Ramos. “As long as I am district attorney, I will continue to ensure that we do just that in a manner that is consistent with our mission and the ethical responsibilities that we are sworn to uphold as prosecutors.”    

Death penalty abolitionists, invoking utilitarianism theories of justice, argue that empirical data doesn't establish that the penalty is a general deterrence to murder. They should consult a correctional officer who works with the most violent inmates sentenced to life. What incentive, short of their own deaths, would these inmates have to refrain from killing in the absence of the death penalty? It's absurd to suggest that not once, in mankind, has anyone considered the prospect of losing his own life in deciding against the commission of a murder. The preservation of that one innocent life alone justifies the existence of the death penalty. Furthermore, it is a specific deterrent as the likes of David Alan Gore will never kill again. [Sunday 6 May 2012]

Abolitionists argue life without parole adequately addresses society's concerns. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by this bait-and-switch tactic, which leads us down the "slippery slope." The death penalty has the historical support of a significant majority of the public, yet the courts have steadily diluted its enforcement by invoking the amorphous concept of "evolving standards of decency." Drawing upon European doctrine and U.N. resolutions, the Supreme Court has defined decency for us. Is it really hard to imagine a future when the court determines that the denial of any chance for release from prison is "indecent" and hence violative of the Eighth Amendment? Guess what group will be out front making this argument? Mark my words! [Sunday 6 May 2012]

Thomas Bakkedahl is the chief assistant state attorney in the 19th Judicial Circuit, which includes Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties. 

Do you support the death penalty? Why or why not?

Yes, only in the most extreme cases. There is no set formula for deciding which case deserves the death penalty. Each case must be considered on the facts of the crime, the nature of the victim, the offender's history and mental status, and the other factors required by law.

Keith Scully is the Democrat Attorney-General of Washington.

Friday 30 September 2011 - The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has denied the claims of an Arkansas man convicted of murdering a Kingfisher woman in 2005 in Blaine County.

The court denied both claims by Wendell Arden Grissom, who received a death sentence from a Garfield County jury following his trial in 2008. The higher court overruled Grissom’s claims of error at trial and his request for repeal of his death sentence.

District Attorney Mike Fields, who tried the case as an assistant district attorney, said the decision will help the victims and their families.

“Obviously, I’m pleased with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals decision to deny Mr. Grissom’s appeal,” he said. “This decision moves the victims and their families one step closer to justice.”   

Grissom’s second appeal claimed his defense failed to properly investigate, develop and present mitigating evidence on his behalf. He also claimed testimony from an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper at trial was “emotional and improper.” The appeal also claimed Grissom’s Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The court denied all claims.

Grissom’s appeals were handled by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, which  handles all appellate proceedings.

“I’m grateful for the diligent work of the Attorney General’s Office to ensure the jury’s decision is upheld and carried out,” Fields said.

Mike Fields is the District Attorney for Canadian County in Oklahoma - Nobody has a bigger stake in the safety and welfare of our communities than Mike Fields. He grew up here in the district, less than a mile from the plot of land his relatives homesteaded in the land run. Mike and his wife Jennifer have chosen to live, work and raise their two children here. As a career prosecutor, Mike Fields knows what it means to pursue truth and justice. For him, it’s an honor and a privilege to represent the people of Oklahoma in our courtrooms. From his work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and churches to his work on community boards and agencies, Mike is committed to the principle of service above self. He believes the criminal justice system should serve all citizens and crime victims in particular because restoring crime victims restores hope. A tough, respected prosecutor. As an Assistant District Attorney, for the last 13 years, Mike Fields has successfully prosecuted hundreds of criminals including armed robbers, rapists, child abusers and murderers. Respected by his peers, Mike was named prosecutor of the year by the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association in July. Mike was named prosecutor of the year in 2003 by police officers statewide for his work in drug cases. He has educated and trained police officers, prosecutors, probation officers and school administrators.

Saturday 2 March 2013 - Harford County State's Attorney Joseph Cassily calls that "bogus," saying 80 percent of the murders committed in Maryland are by black men.

Cassily said if the death penalty is repealed, people already serving life sentences could murder with impunity.

"This is not repealing the death penalty, this is about legalizing certain forms of first-degree murder by removing the penalty," he said.

Joseph Cassilly is the State's Attorney of Harford County, Maryland.

Do you support the death penalty? Why or why not?

As King County Prosecutor I will uphold the law. I plan to approach each case individually, on its own merits, just as Norm Maleng did. I think the death penalty is justified in rare cases where the crimes are especially heinous and guilt is absolute. But we have to be very careful to apply the ultimate sanction rarely and fairly — too many death row inmates have been proven innocent by DNA tests to do otherwise.

Bill Sherman is the Deputy Prosecutor of Washington.

Thursday 21 June 2012 - The union representing Riverside County’s deputy district attorneys is opposing a November ballot initiative to end capital punishment in California.

“Abolishing the death penalty is not only dangerous to the citizens of Riverside County and California, but it also will drive up prison costs at a time when California is facing a severe budget shortage,” said Michael Hestrin, vice president of the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Association, in a press release. “This initiative is an attempt by the ACLU to hijack our criminal justice system and curtail the rights of victims.”

As of May 2012, there are 725 murderers on death row.  Of those, 126 involved torture before murder, 173 killed children, and 44 murdered police officers.

According to estimates by Californians for Justice and Public Safety, the repeal could result in an additional $600 million in housing costs and nearly $300 million in increased health care costs for inmates.

In 2009, Hestrin prosecuted Raymond Lee Oyler, who is on death row following the arson-murder of five firefighters during the 2006 Esperanza fire.

More recently, Hestrin, along with RCDDAA President and Senior Deputy District Attorney John Aki, obtained a death penalty verdict in the trial of Earl Ellis Green, who murdered Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio in 2010.

Hestrin has successfully prosecuted seven death penalty cases and has six convicted murderers awaiting execution. The California District Attorneys Association named Hestrin Prosecutor of the Year in 2010.

“Today, we as prosecutors have taken a stand against the ACLU’s desire to protect the murderers of our police officers, firefighters, and children.  We unite with law enforcement to stand up for victims and keep California a safe place to live,” Hestrin concluded. 

Michael Hestrin received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his Jurist Doctorate from Stanford University, School of Law. Mike has been a prosecutor for approximately 14 years. During the course of his career as a prosecutor, he has served in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit. Mike has spent the last eight years in the homicide unit. Mike was the Riverside Country Deputy District Attorneys Association President since 2008.
Well, Mr. Allen has cited his age, the length of time on death row, claims about innocence, errors at his trial. We found and told the governor we found all those reasons to be unpersuasive given the nature of his crime, which was in fact a direct attack on the criminal justice system perpetrated by a man for whom society thought — for whom society thought was safe. They thought they were safe from him because he was behind bars and yet he continued to perpetrate these types of crimes and none of the factors that they cite now overshadow or outbalance those reasons for now executing the judgment of the people of the State of California.”

After the Supreme Court turned Allen down, Deputy Atty. Gen. Ward Campbell, who prosecuted him, noted that "every court has now rejected all of Allen's claims." "Allen deserves capital punishment because he was already serving a life sentence for murder when he masterminded the murders of three innocent young people and conspired to attack the heart of our criminal justice system," Campbell said.

Ward A. Campbell is a Supervising Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice.

“There are some cases, a number of anecdotal instances where it seems pretty clear that the death penalty in some instances does deter people from committing certain crimes. Most of these guys aren’t going to think about what they do. For the majority of them, it’s probably not going to deter them. But, there are some of them, will not, do not kill because their afraid that they might meet the same fate that the person that they’re going to kill meets.” [Interview by Professor Fabrikant & class, thoughts on the death penalty (February 2010)

Paul B. Ebert is the Commonwealth's Attorney for Prince William County. He directs 21 Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys, who provide Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park with more than 300 years of legal experience, including more than 200 years in criminal prosecution. The Commonwealth's Attorney Office works closely with multi-jurisdictional police departments and magistrates to provide 24-hour legal advice. The Office also handles Special Prosecutions in other jurisdictions, delivers state-wide lectures, teaches at the Police Academy and conducts mock trials to educate state and local law enforcement. 

Saturday 28 January 2012 - Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders, a vocal proponent of the death penalty, said the state should find a way to accelerate the pace of executions so aging condemned inmates aren't an issue.

"When voters start making timely executions a priority, the legislature will take steps to speed up the process," Sanders said.

Thursday 3 January 2013 - Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders believes the state uses an abundance of caution when carrying out the death penalty. The state has executed three inmates since the U.S. reinstated the death penalty in 1976 and has 35 inmates awaiting execution on death row. Sanders said the state gives death penalty cases a significant amount of scrutiny. Costs for death penalty cases would just go into life-without-parole cases, he said.

He believes society benefits from the death penalty.

“I believe some killers are so heinous that they forfeit their right to live on this earth,” Sanders said. “Life in prison isn’t even punishment to some criminals. It’s just sending them home. If, God forbid, the Sandy Hook school shooting happens here in Kentucky but the killer livers, the vast majority of Kentuckians believe the death penalty should, at the very least, be an option, and rightfully so.”

Rob Sanders is the Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney in Kentucky.

Saturday 28 January 2012 - Kings County District Attorney Greg Strickland sees it in more basic terms: "People who rape and kill a child deserve death."

There are four death penalty cases pending in Kings County, including one that involves a Corcoran State Prison inmate accused of killing his cellmate. That defendant already was serving life in prison without parole, Strickland said.

If the death penalty was abolished, inmates who kill in prison would never be punished, Strickland said.

"Where's the justice in that?" he said. 

Greg Strickland has over 28 years as a career prosecutor both in Kings County and Fresno County having conducted over 200 jury trials. He previously served as the District Attorney of Kings County from 1995-1999. He is a graduate of USC and received his jurist Doctorate from Whittier College of Law. He is also designated by the California State Bar as a Certified Legal Specialist in Criminal Law. He was named by Super Lawyer magazine as one of the top attorneys in the State of California (only five percent of the lawyers in California are named by Super Lawyer). Greg also has 27 years plus of reserve military service and holds the rank of Colonel, as well as medals for Meritorious Service and Global War on Terrorism Service. 

Thursday 7 October 2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a jail escapee who killed a hospital guard and a sheriff's deputy in a rampage that set off a manhunt near Virginia Tech.

William Morva appealed his 2008 capital murder conviction and death sentence in the death of hospital security guard Derrick McFarland and Cpl. Eric Sutphin in August 2006.

The Virginia Supreme Court last year rejected Morva’s claim that he should have been allowed to present an expert’s testimony on whether he would endanger guards or fellow inmates if the jury sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear the appeal, as first reported by The Roanoke Times on Wednesday.

Morva was in jail awaiting trial on attempted robbery charges when he was taken to a Blacksburg hospital for treatment of an injury. He overpowered a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy in the hospital and used the deputy’s pistol to shoot unarmed security guard McFarland, 32.

Morva shot Sutphin, 40, one day later on a walking trail near the Virginia Tech campus, which had been shut down on the first day of classes as police tracked Morva.

Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brad Finch said he, too, was pleased with the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case.

“This decision by the U.S. Supreme Court concludes a very important part of the appeals process, and it represents an important step towards justice for the victims and the victims’ families,” Finch said. 

Bradley W. Finch has served in the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office since 2001. He is a lifelong resident in Virginia. He graduated from the William and Mary School of Law in 1997 and subsequently served as a judicial clerk for the Supreme Court of Virginia.

But Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said Thursday he remains a proponent of the death penalty.

According to Shellenberger, with the advances of DNA and other technology, “the chances of an innocent person being executed in Maryland is very minimal.”

Shellenberger said that prosecutors need to have the necessary tools available to them to “go after the worst of the worst.”

Wednesday 7 March 2012 - Shellenberger said there needs to be an "ultimate punishment" for those who commit certain heinous acts, including the killing of a police officer or the murder of a correctional officer by a prisoner.

"What do you tell the family of a correctional officer when a defendant is already serving life for murder and then they killed your loved one?" Shellenberger said. "There has to be an ultimate penalty."

Currently, Maryland has five defendants sitting on death row, including three who have avoided being executed since 1983.

The state has executed five men since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, the last being Wesley Baker in 2005 for the 1991 murder of grandmother Jane Tyson. She was shot and killed during an armed robbery in a Catonsville parking lot in front of her 6-year-old granddaughter and 4-year-old grandson.

Since Baker's execution, Maryland has established some of the most stringent policies in the country for prosecutors to seek the death penalty. Shellenberger said since 2009 capital cases in the state are limited to those with "biological or DNA evidence proving guilt, a videotaped confession or a videotape that can link the defendant to a homicide."

Those restrictions, Shellenberger said, practically eliminates the chances of someone being wrongly convicted of capital murder and offer enough safeguards to ensure those improperly imprisoned—like Bloodsworth—are freed.

Baltimore County has only sought the death penalty twice since the new restrictions were put in place, Shellenberger said. Both cases involved defendants in the 2010 murder of Hess gas station owner William "Ray" Porter.

Walter Bishop was sentenced in November to life with the possibility of parole  after shooting Porter twice at the East Joppa Road station in Towson after he told police he was promised $9,000 from Porter's wife, Karla.

Shellenberger said he will seek the death penalty against Karla Porter, who is scheduled to go to trial later this year.

"I believe that Maryland right now has the most restrictive death penalty statute in the country," Shellenberger said. "[The legislature has] added conditions to our death penalty statute that basically said you cannot rely solely on eyewitness testimony, that if you want to go forward with a death penalty case you would also need DNA linking the defendant to the crime, or a videotaped confession or an actual video of the murder taking place itself."

"It's not called capital deterrent. It's called capital punishment. The concept is the punishment fits the crime."

Sunday 27 January 2013 - The more loosely organized death penalty supporters, who have been slower to mobilize this year, expect a close fight that they still believe they can win. The last time advocates attempted repeal, in 2009, lawmakers ultimately recast the state's death penalty law to require a high standard of proof.

As a result of the change that year, prosecutors can seek the death penalty only when they have DNA evidence, a videotape of the crime or a video-recorded confession by the killer.

"Not only is it targeted to the worst of the worst, there are assurances there that an innocent person won't be affected," said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger, who has been an outspoken proponent of keeping Maryland one of 33 states to allow the death penalty.

Monday 4 February 2013 - Even though he said the evidentiary requirements are relatively stringent, he believes the state should keep the law on the books if the punishment fits the crime. Since the turn of the century, this country has experienced the 9/11 attacks, the Virginia Tech shootings and most recently, the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., all of which serve as proof to Shellenberger that some crimes are too “heinous” for life without parole to suffice as the ultimate state-sanctioned punishment.

“There’s some really bad people out there who don’t deserve to live in any society, including a prison society,”