Clock Ticking for Calif. Death Row Inmate

Update: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denies clemency. According to the New York Times,

Mr. Schwarzenegger agreed that Mr. Beardslee "suffers from a mental impairment" but said he was not "disconnected from the events of that fateful night."

California is set to have its first execution in three years at 12:01 am Wednesday morning. It's a controversial execution because prisoner Donald Beardslee allegedly is severely brain-damaged from childhood accidents and at the time of his trial in the 80's, there was no brain imaging technology to demonstrate this to the jury.

A clemency request to change the death sentence into one of life without possibility of parole is pending before Gov. Arnold. I hope he does the right thing and commutes the sentence, but speculation is that he will not because Beardslee does not claim to be innocent. The Supreme Court is expected to take its final action today.

The 9th circuit has denied Beardslee's claim that California's lethal injection method violates his first amendment right to free speech because it prevents him from screaming in pain.

The San Francisco Chronicle opposes the execution. So does the Los Angeles Times. His lawyers are arguing:

Laurence argued that Beardslee's life should be spared because jurors who considered his case did not have access to scientific evidence about the effects of brain damage that Beardslee suffered as a child and young man. A former juror, Robert Martinez, has said he might not have agreed to the death penalty if he had had more information about Beardslee's purported brain damage. Laurence also presented testimony that Beardslee has been a model prisoner for 21 years on San Quentin's death row.

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    Re: Clock Ticking for Calif. Death Row Inmate (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 03:55:41 PM EST

    Re: Clock Ticking for Calif. Death Row Inmate (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 04:06:30 PM EST
    Yeah, Arnold did the right thing .. not listening to some lame excuse. If I brutally murder someone and hit my own head with a brick, do I get out of the death penalty too?