Innocent Man on Death Row Thirty Years

…..Glenn Ford, Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner, walked free on March 11, 2014 after spending nearly 30 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit….According to the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, a judge ordered that Ford be freed after prosecutors petitioned the court to release him. New information corroborated what Ford had said all along: that he was not present at nor involved in the November 5, 1983 slaying of Isadore Rozeman….Ford had been on death row since 1984, making him one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in the United States….

Dana Ford, “Louisiana’s Longest-Serving Death Row Prisoner Walks Free After 30 Years,” CNN, March 11, 2014

…..Glenn Ford, Louisiana's longest-serving death row prisoner, walked free on March 11, 2014 after spending nearly 30 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit….According to the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, a judge ordered that Ford be freed after prosecutors petitioned the court to release him. New information corroborated what Ford had said all along: that he was not present at nor involved in the November 5, 1983 slaying of Isadore Rozeman….Ford had been on death row since 1984, making him one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in the United States….

Dana Ford, "Louisiana's Longest-Serving Death Row Prisoner Walks Free After 30 Years," CNN, March 11, 2014

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Guillotine Chic

Almost from its first victim on April 25, 1792, the guillotine became a fetishistic object for the French during their revolution. Men had it tattooed on their bodies; women wore dangling guillotine earrings and brooches; the design was incorporated in…

Almost from its first victim on April 25, 1792, the guillotine became a fetishistic object for the French during their revolution. Men had it tattooed on their bodies; women wore dangling guillotine earrings and brooches; the design was incorporated into plates, cups, snuffboxes; children played with toy versions, decapitating mice; elegant ladies lopped off the heads of dolls and out squirted a red perfume, in which they soaked their handkerchiefs.

Richard Zacks, An Underground Eduction, 1997

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Woman Caught 37 Years After Prison Escape

     San Diego police officers caught a woman escapee on February 3, 2014 who fled from a Michigan prison 37 years ago….Judy Lynn Hayman, 60, was arrested at her apartment in San Diego. She was held without bail and was taken to the Las Colinas Jail, where she faces extradition back to Michigan.

     The Michigan Department of Corrections records say Hayman was sentenced June 28, 1976 for attempted larceny…. Then 23-years-old Hayman was given 16 months to two years of imprisonment. But April 14, 1977, she escaped from the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Washtenaw County….Hayman did not reveal her true identify for over 30 years. According to police, she even concealed her identity to her 32-year-old son….

Vishakha Sonawane, “Woman Escapee From Michigan Prison Caught in San Diego After 37 Years,” HNGN, February 5, 2014

     San Diego police officers caught a woman escapee on February 3, 2014 who fled from a Michigan prison 37 years ago….Judy Lynn Hayman, 60, was arrested at her apartment in San Diego. She was held without bail and was taken to the Las Colinas Jail, where she faces extradition back to Michigan.

     The Michigan Department of Corrections records say Hayman was sentenced June 28, 1976 for attempted larceny…. Then 23-years-old Hayman was given 16 months to two years of imprisonment. But April 14, 1977, she escaped from the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Washtenaw County….Hayman did not reveal her true identify for over 30 years. According to police, she even concealed her identity to her 32-year-old son….

Vishakha Sonawane, "Woman Escapee From Michigan Prison Caught in San Diego After 37 Years," HNGN, February 5, 2014

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Execution of Herbert Smulls

     By 1991, 33-year-old Herbert Smulls had spend several years behind bars for armed robbery and other crimes. On July 27, 1991, Smulls and a 15-year-old accomplice named Normon Brown walked into the F & M Crown Jewelers store in C…

     By 1991, 33-year-old Herbert Smulls had spend several years behind bars for armed robbery and other crimes. On July 27, 1991, Smulls and a 15-year-old accomplice named Normon Brown walked into the F & M Crown Jewelers store in Chesterfield, Missouri with the intent of robbing the establishment. Smulls told the owners of the St. Louis County jewelry store, Stephen and Florence Honickman, that he wanted to buy a diamond ring for his fiancee.

     Instead of purchasing a ring, Smulls pulled out a handgun and shot the owners. He killed 51-year-old Stephen Honickman on the spot. When Smulls and Brown fled the scene, they left behind Florence Honickman who was still alive but lying in a poor of her own blood. Smulls had shot her in the arm and side. She survived the shooting by playing dead.

     Fifteen minutes after the robbery-murder, a police officer pulled Smulls off the road on a traffic stop. Inside the car officers found handguns and the stolen jewelry.

     Upon Florence Honickman's recovery, she identified Smulls and Brown as the armed robbers and Smulls at the man who had shot her and her husband.

     In 1993, a judge sentenced Normon Brown to life in prison without parole. The judge handed Smulls the death sentence. The murderer was sent to Missouri's death row.

     In 1989, executioners in Missouri began dispatching death row inmates by injecting them with a lethal, three-drug cocktail. The first drug, midazalam, helped calm the inmate. Hydromorphine, a strong narcotic, reduced pain. Sodium thiopental, the killer drug, stopped the heart.

   In 2013,  the overseas companies that manufacture and distribute the above drugs stopped exporting them to the U.S. if they were to be used to execute prisoners. As a result, Missouri and other states had to switch to a single execution drug, pentobarbital. If Smulls' execution, scheduled for 12:01 AM, January 29, 2014 went ahead as planned, he'd receive a shot of pentobarbital.

     A few days before the 56-year-old's execution date, Cheryl Pilante, one of the lawyers fervently fighting to save Smulls life, asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a temporary stay of execution. Just two and a half hours before Smulls' date with death, the Supreme Court granted the stay. Justice Samuel Alito signed the order temporarily delaying the punishment.

     Smulls' execution was put on hold because corrections officials with the state of Missouri refused to disclose the identify of the compounding pharmacy that mixed the pentobarbital. Attorney Pilate argued that Missouri's execution secret made it impossible to know whether the drug would cause Mr. Smulls any pain.

     In expressing grave concern for her client, attorney Pilate said, "I frankly cannot begin to tell you how distressing this situation is, that the state is going to execute a prisoner in his mid-50s who made one series of colossal mistakes that were in many ways out of character, because he is not a violent person."

     What? He's not a violent person? His cold-blooded murder was out of character? If defense attorneys were paid to embarrass themselves on behalf of their clients, Pilate deserved a bonus.

     St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch characterized the drug purchase issue a smokescreen designed to save the life of a vicious killer. He also accused Pilate of trying to divert attention from her client's horrific crime.

     On January 29, 2014, the U. S. Supreme Court lifted the temporary stay of execution. Later that morning, the state executioner in Bonne Terre, Missouri administered the lethal drug. Herbert Smulls was pronounced dead at 10:20 AM. Only his attorneys and a few others were sad to see him go.

     Most U.S. citizens do not oppose the death penalty as a matter of principle. Regarding inmates like Herbert Smulls, few citizens are concerned they may feel some pain at the end. We all have to occasionally endure pain and anxiety in our daily lives. And because of people like Herbert Smulls, victims of crime are certainly no strangers to suffering.

     So what's behind this obsessive quest to insure that cold-blooded killers are dispatched without discomfort? Who really cares that Mr. Smulls was anxious about dying, and worried about pain? Who isn't? 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Utah’s Firing Squads

     The last person put to death by firing squad in the United States was John Albert Taylor, a convicted child killer executed in Utah in 1996. He was the 49th person executed by firing squad in that state….

     A Utah firing squad consists of five volunteer police officers from the county in which the crime occurred. One of the squad’s rifles is loaded with a blank. No member of the squad knows which rifle contains the blank….

     Utah abolished death by firing squad in 2004 and now uses lethal injection to kill its inmates. But the law was not retroactive so inmates with a death sentence imposed before that date can choose between firing squad and lethal injection. An inmate who chooses the firing squad sits in a specially designed chair that restrains his or her arms, legs, and chest. The head is loosely confined so that it remains upright.

     The condemned inmate wears a dark blue outfit with a white cloth circle attached by Velcro over the heart. Sandbags behind the chair catch the four bullets and prevent ricochets. Some twenty feet in front of the chair stands a wall with five firing ports. The inmate may read a final statement before the warden places a hood over  his or her head. The firing squad takes aim at the white cloth circle and fires simultaneously at the warden’s command. The bullets rupture the heart, lungs, and major arteries, causing near instant death from shock and hemorrhage. The lower part of the chair in which the prisoner sits contains a pan to catch the flow of blood and other body fluids that rush out of the prisoner’s body.

Billy Wayne Sinclair and Jodie Sinclair, Capital Punishment, 2009 

     The last person put to death by firing squad in the United States was John Albert Taylor, a convicted child killer executed in Utah in 1996. He was the 49th person executed by firing squad in that state….

     A Utah firing squad consists of five volunteer police officers from the county in which the crime occurred. One of the squad's rifles is loaded with a blank. No member of the squad knows which rifle contains the blank….

     Utah abolished death by firing squad in 2004 and now uses lethal injection to kill its inmates. But the law was not retroactive so inmates with a death sentence imposed before that date can choose between firing squad and lethal injection. An inmate who chooses the firing squad sits in a specially designed chair that restrains his or her arms, legs, and chest. The head is loosely confined so that it remains upright.

     The condemned inmate wears a dark blue outfit with a white cloth circle attached by Velcro over the heart. Sandbags behind the chair catch the four bullets and prevent ricochets. Some twenty feet in front of the chair stands a wall with five firing ports. The inmate may read a final statement before the warden places a hood over  his or her head. The firing squad takes aim at the white cloth circle and fires simultaneously at the warden's command. The bullets rupture the heart, lungs, and major arteries, causing near instant death from shock and hemorrhage. The lower part of the chair in which the prisoner sits contains a pan to catch the flow of blood and other body fluids that rush out of the prisoner's body.

Billy Wayne Sinclair and Jodie Sinclair, Capital Punishment, 2009 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Jails in Colonial America

[In Colonial America], murder was practically never a bailable offense; the defendant therefore, languished in jail until trial, and if convicted, until execution. Jails were not very strong and escapes were not infrequent, although recapture usually f…

[In Colonial America], murder was practically never a bailable offense; the defendant therefore, languished in jail until trial, and if convicted, until execution. Jails were not very strong and escapes were not infrequent, although recapture usually followed quickly. The jail was usually left unattended at night so that a prisoner had the long evening to work to release himself. It also permitted his friends an opportunity to pass in tools for his assistance. To add to the security of the prisoner, he was frequently manacled and chained to a ring in the floor of his cell.

Thomas M. McDade, The Annals of Murder, 1961

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Jerome Murdough’s Jail Cell Death

     After graduating from a Queens, New York high school in 1976, Jerome Murdough joined the Marine Corps. He served a tour in Okinawa, Japan before his honorable discharge. Shortly after he returned to New York City, Murdough started d…

     After graduating from a Queens, New York high school in 1976, Jerome Murdough joined the Marine Corps. He served a tour in Okinawa, Japan before his honorable discharge. Shortly after he returned to New York City, Murdough started drinking heavily and taking drugs. In his thirties, after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, he found himself living on the street and in homeless shelters. He had joined the growing number of mentally ill Americans living on the fringes of urban society. To maintain a semblance of sanity, Murdough had to keep taking his anti-psychotic medication. He also took anti-seizure pills and continued to medicate himself with alcohol.

     Over the years, New York City police officers, on a dozen occasions, arrested Murdough for the misdemeanor offenses of drunk in public, trespassing, and drug possession. On February 7, 2014, a police officer in Harlem, New York arrested the 56-year-old homeless man for trespassing. Murdough had been sleeping in an enclosed stairwell in a public housing project.

     The arresting officer booked Mr. Murdough into Rikers Island, the nation's second largest jail system. At any given time, Rikers Island is the temporary home of 1,200 prisoners, almost half of whom are mentally ill. At his arraignment, the judge assigned Murdough an attorney from the public defender office, and set his bail at a prohibitive $2,500.

     On February 14, 2014, a week into his incarceration, jail officials transferred Murdough to the Anna M. Kross Center, the jail system's massive mental health unit. They placed him into a 6-by-10 foot cinderblock cell at 10:30 that night. Pursuant to jail policy pertaining to prisoners in the mental observation unit, corrections officers were supposed to check on Murdough every fifteen minutes.

     At 2:30 the next morning, four hours after Murdough's transfer to the mental health unit, a corrections officer discovered Murdough dead on his cot. The first thing the guard noticed was the intense heat coming out of the cell. The temperature in the enclosure had risen to well about 100 degrees due to an heating system malfunction.

     While the forensic pathologist with the New York City's Medical Examiner's Office was unable to articulate the exact cause of death without more testing, initial indicators point to extreme dehydration otherwise know as heat stroke. Since psychotropic medications can impair the body's ability to cool itself by sweating, Murdough's prescription regime may have been a contributing factor to his death.

     Jerome Murdough's 75-year-old mother learned of her son's fate a month after he baked to death. She learned of  his passing from a reporter with the Associated Press. Mrs. Murdough hadn't been in contact with her son for three years.

     On April 3, 2014, a spokesperson for New York City's jail system announced that the warden of the mental health unit had been demoted over the incident. Two corrections officer were placed on thirty-day suspensions for not "following basic procedures."

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Ohio, Idaho Lead Nation in ‘Correctional Control’: Study

Oklahoma has the nation’s highest incarceration rate, but Ohio and Idaho jump into the lead when probation and parole is included, says a new report from the Prison Policy Initiative.

When it comes to ranking U.S. states on the harshness of their criminal justice systems, incarceration rates only tell half of the story.

More than two million people are in prisons and jails, but 4.5 million people nationwide are on probation and parole, and several of the seemingly “less punitive” states put vast numbers of their residents under these forms of supervision, says the Prison Policy Initiative in an updated report.

The advocacy group calculated each state’s rate of correctional control, which includes incarceration as well as community supervision (probation and parole). The report includes over 100 charts breaking down each state’s correctional population.

The report also includes an interactive chart that ranks states on their use of correctional control.

Among the findings:

–Ohio and Idaho surpass Oklahoma – the global leader in incarceration – in correctional control overall.

–Pennsylvania, which revoked Meek Mill’s probation last year, has the second-highest rate of correctional control in the nation.

–Rhode Island and Minnesota have some of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, but are among the most punitive when community supervision is accounted for.

Many of the highest rates of correctional control are in states with high rates of probation. “All too often, probation serves not as a true alternative to incarceration but as the last stop before prison,” says report author Alexi Jones. Jones proposes  reforms and highlights flaws in current probation systems:

Probation imposes time-consuming conditions and fees that people struggle to meet, and which the report says can paradoxically hold them back from turning their lives around.

Violating even the most minor requirement (such as missing a meeting) can result in incarceration.

Probation terms can go on for years after the original offense, meaning even model probationers can serve decades under state scrutiny.

Jones says, “States are putting people on probation when a fine, warning, or community treatment program would suffice,” putting more people at risk of incarceration.

Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington  Bureau Chief of the Crime Report.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Are States Truthful About Offender Recidivism?

Highlights States are claiming reduced recidivism yet national data states that five out of six prisoners are rearrested, many multiple times, and that the vast majority programs show little or no effect.  Given this, how is state reduction in recidivism possible? Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public […]

The post Are States Truthful About Offender Recidivism? appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Highlights States are claiming reduced recidivism yet national data states that five out of six prisoners are rearrested, many multiple times, and that the vast majority programs show little or no effect.  Given this, how is state reduction in recidivism possible? Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public […]

The post Are States Truthful About Offender Recidivism? appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Should Policing Be Like Military Service?

Highlights Should policing or corrections be like military service with a defined period of enlistment and benefits? More officers are dying by suicide than by gunfire and traffic accidents combined. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times […]

The post Should Policing Be Like Military Service? appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Highlights Should policing or corrections be like military service with a defined period of enlistment and benefits? More officers are dying by suicide than by gunfire and traffic accidents combined. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times […]

The post Should Policing Be Like Military Service? appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net