Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Warren Lee Hill executed

The 11th Circuit denied his last stay request (Hull & Marcus, with a dissent by Martin) and the Supreme Court also turned him down yesterday, leading Georgia to execute Warren Lee Hill.

Here's the NY Times:
The State of Georgia executed a convicted murderer, Warren Lee Hill, on Tuesday night, ending a prolonged legal fight that led to a series of court-ordered reprieves and frequently tested the state’s standards for capital punishment.
The Georgia attorney general’s office confirmed Mr. Hill’s death at a state prison in Jackson, southeast of Atlanta. He was 54.
The execution would “live on as a moral stain on the people of this state and on the courts that allowed this to happen,” Brian Kammer, one of Mr. Hill’s lawyers, said shortly before the sentence was carried out.
The execution came at the end of a day in which state officials and the federal courts denied Mr. Hill’s final appeals, which focused on claims of intellectual disability and whether Georgia law made it essentially impossible to avoid a death sentences on those grounds.
The United States Supreme Court turned down the appeal Tuesday night; the court said Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor had supported issuing a stay of execution. Earlier Tuesday, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a request for clemency from Mr. Hill, who was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of another inmate, Joseph Handspike.
At the time of Mr. Handspike’s death, Mr. Hill was in prison for killing his girlfriend in 1985.
Although Mr. Hill’s appeals sometimes involved questions about Georgia’s lethal injection protocols, his last legal campaign dealt with a contention of an intellectual disability. Mr. Hill, with an I.Q. of 70, had “the emotional and cognitive functioning of an 11-year-old boy,” Mr. Kammer said.
“Warren Lee Hill is intellectually disabled,” Mr. Hill’s lawyers told the Supreme Court in a filing. “The lower Georgia courts have said this twice. All of respondent’s experts have acknowledged this fact.” ***
In a ruling announced less than 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the execution, the justices rejected Mr. Hill’s appeal.


Anonymous said...


we are all under a death sentence said...

We are all under a death sentence. Only the date, time, place, and manner of death are variable.

Unfortunately the death penalty in the United States appears reserved mostly for black men, of low intelligence, living in the South, and poor. This is not by chance, according to Chris Kromm. See, Why Does the South Execute More People?

"The regional disparity is striking. Since the Supreme Court lifted a ban on death sentences in 1976, 1,264 people have been executed in the U.S. And 921 of those executions -- or 73 percent of the total -- took place in 13 Southern states."

"It's true that Texas -- and what some call its death machine -- skew the numbers: Its 474 executions account for nearly 38 percent of the U.S. total. But the fact remains: Of the many things you can call the death penalty, one fitting adjective is that it's largely Southern."

"What has made the South the home base of capital punishment? As you might suspect, executions have their roots in the history of slavery."

A recent Supreme Court decision in Hall v. Florida did not sway the Eleventh Circuit.
Florida Statute § 921.137, "Imposition of the death sentence upon an intellectually disabled defendant prohibited" states that "A sentence of death may not be imposed upon a defendant convicted of a capital felony if it is determined... that the defendant is intellectually disabled."