Thursday, March 17, 2005

Execution of possible innocent stayed

The scheduled execution of Pablo Melendez, Jr. was stayed last night, but I can't find any information on why or by whom. He was convicted based on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch. Many people, including the mother of the victim, believe Melendez is innocent.

In other death penalty news, Sen. Eddie Lucio's bill creating an offense of Life Without Parole (LWOP) passed out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee this week. It needs 21 votes to reach the Senate floor, but Lucio thinks he has them. The terms of debate on LWOP shifted after the U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalth for juveniles and the mentally retarded. Prosecutors want the no-parole option for use with those offenders, which is why the bill has legs, now.

Melendez was 18 at the time of the murder for which he was convicted, so the Supreme Courts recent ruling on juveniles did not affect him.

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