Capital Resource Counsel Announcement
The Capital Trials Expert Panel of the Federal Public Defender system and the Capital Resource Counsel Project are pleased to announce that Kimberly Stevens has been hired as a Capital Resource Counsel to replace Gerald Zerkin who retired from that position in March. The CRCP works closely with the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project in coordinating and providing expert advice, assistance, and training to Federal Defender Organization staff attorneys and CJA panel attorneys regarding the representation of persons charged with federal capital crimes, and represents persons charged in federal capital cases. Ms. Stevens will begin in July and be based in the Middle District of North Carolina.
US v Briseno - Life Sentence
On March 6, 2015, a jury sentenced Juan Briseno to life. The jury had previously convicted Briseno of several gang-related killings. Click here for full news article.
U.S. v. Stone (EDCA) - Death Notice Withdrawn
Sammy Stone was charged with the 2003 murder of his cellmate at USP Atwater. Attorney General Holder authorized the case for a capital prosecution in 2012, but then approved Ms. Stone's request to deauthorize the case and authorized a plea to a life sentence. Click here for full news article.
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (D. Ia) - Death notice withdrawn - December 2014
Angela Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005. In 2012, her death sentences were vacated in 2255 proceedings based on ineffective assistance of counsel claims. The government withdrew its notice to seek the death penalty shortly before a new sentencing trial was set to begin. Click here for full news article.
US v Sanders (WD LA) - Death Verdict
On September 26th a jury sentenced Thomas Sanders to death for the kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old girl. Click here for news story.
U.S. v. Hammer (EDPA) - Life Sentence
On July 17, 2014, a federal judge sentenced David Paul Hammer to life for the murder of his cellmate at Allenwood Penitentiary. Click here for full news story.
U.S. v. Williams (D HI) - Life Sentence
On June 28, 2014, jurors - after deliberating for 7 days - announced that they could not reach a unanimous verdict as to the sentence for Naeem Williams whom they had convicted of killing his 5-year-old daughter. Click here for full news story.
U.S. v. Coonce and Hall (WDMO) - Death Sentence
On June 2, 2014, Wesley Coonce and Charles Hall were sentenced to death for killing another inmate. Click here for full news story.
U.S. v. Montgomery (Tenn.) - Notice of Death Withdrawn
On May 22, 2014, Chastain Montgomery pleaded guilty to killing two postal workers. The government withdrew its notice to seek the death penalty and Montgomery will be sentenced to life in prison. Click here for full news story.
U.S. v. Torrez (EDVA) - Death Sentence
On April 24, 2014 a federal jury recommended a death sentence for Jorge Torrez, a former Marine convicted of killing a fellow service member. Click here for news article.
U.S. v. McCluskey (DNM) - Life Sentence (Dec. 11, 2013)
A jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision in the sentencing trial of John McCluskey; therefore, he will receive a life sentence. Click here for news story.
U.S. v. Jacques (D. Vt.) - Case deauthorized (August 2013)
A month before jury selection was scheduled to begin, the Department of Justice reconsidered its initial decision to pursue the death penalty and agreed to settle the case in exchange for a guilty plea. Click here for news story.
U.S. v. Wilson (EDNY) - Death Sentence
At his re-sentencing, Ronell Wilson was sentenced to death for the murders of two undercover police detectives. Click here for full news story.
U.S. v. Gabrion - Sixth Circuit En Banc Opinion Affirms Convictions and Death Sentence, May 28, 2013
United States v. Gabrion, __ F.3d __, No. 02-1386/1461/1570 (6th Cir. May 28, 2013) (en banc).
In an opinion authored by Judge Kethledge and joined by 10 other judges, the Sixth Circuit affirmed Marvin Gabrion’s conviction and death sentence. The en banc court had granted the government’s rehearing petition after a panel had reversed the death sentence based on the district court’s refusal to (1) allow the defense to present or discuss, as mitigation, the longstanding policy against the death penalty in the State of Michigan, where the crime occurred and defendant was being prosecuted federally only because the victim’s body was found about 200 feet within the boundaries of a national forest; and (2) to instruct that aggravating factors must outweigh mitigating ones “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The majority opinion addressed these two and several other issues. In a separate opinion, Judge Clay concurred in the judgment, but said the majority’s reasoning and language was too broad. Judge Moore, joined by three other judges, dissented in a separate opinion. She would have granted relief on the two issues the panel relied on, as well as on an issue the panel had expressed concern about but reserved decision on, the imbalance in the way the district court disqualified pro-death-penalty and anti-death-penalty jurors.
Click arrow above for full summary.
U.S. v. Northington (EDPA) - Life Sentence
On June 13, 2013, a jury unanimously recommended a life sentence for Steven Northington, the co-defendant of Kaboni Savage who was sentenced to death earlier this month. Click here for news article.
U.S. v. Kaboni Savage (EDPA) - Death Sentence
On May 31, 2013, Kaboni Savage was sentenced to death after being convicted of 12 murders. Click here for full news article.
U.S. v. Jimenez-Bencevi (DPR) - Life Sentence
On April 30, 2013, Xavier Jimenez Bencevi was convicted of murdering a federal witness. On May 1, 2013, the jury in a unanimous verdict sentenced Mr. Jimenez Bencevi rejected the death penalty and recommended a life sentence.
U.S. v. Lashaun Casey (DPR) - Life Sentence
A second Puerto Rico trial in the past month has ended in a life sentence. Click here for news article.
U.S. v. Candelario (D. PR) - Life Sentence
A jury in Puerto Rico sentenced Alexis Candelario Santana to life yesterday. Click here for the full article.
Life Sentence - U.S. v. Richardson (NDGA)
After convicting Brian Richardson of murder in a BOP homicide case, they were unable to return a unanimous penalty phase verdict. Click here for news story.
2255 Relief Granted - Angela Johnson v. U.S. (N.D. Iowa)
Judge Mark Bennett – in a lengthy opinion – vacated Angela Johnson's death sentence based on ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims. Click here for a news story. Click here for the full opinion.
U.S. v. Stitt (EDVA) - Death Notice Withdrawn
Richard Stitt was originally sentenced to death in 1998, but his death
sentence was vacated in 2255 proceedings. Prior to the resentencing
trial, the government withdrew its notice of intent to seek the death
penalty. Click here for full news article.
U.S. v. Johnson (EDLA) – Judge vacates death sentence, May 18, 2010
District court, on a Rule 33 motion, vacates death sentence and remands
for a new penalty phase after finding numerous trial errors including:
admission of improper victim impact evidence; discovery violation
related to this victim impact evidence; introduction of unadjudicated
murder which the jury found was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt,
and; improper government argument in the penalty phase which (a)
compared worth of defendant and victim, (b) compared conditions of a
life sentence to the permanency of the victim's death, and (c)
pressured the jury into believing that a life sentence would be a
capitulation. Click here for full opinion.