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David Stevenson - Delaware
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Thread: David Stevenson - Delaware

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    David Stevenson - Delaware

    Facts of the Crime:

    On November 13, 1995, David Stevenson and co-defendant Michael Manley murdered Kristopher Heath on the morning he was to testify against Stevenson for stealing customers' credit card information at Macy's Department Store.

    Stevenson was sentenced to death on February 3, 2006.

  2. #2
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Stevenson's direct appeal was denied on January 3, 2007. The US Supreme Court denied certiorari on May 29, 2007.


    On August 14, 2007, Stevenson filed a habeas petition in Federal District Court.


  3. #3
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Supreme Court vacates death sentences for Powell and 12 others

    DOVER — The Delaware Supreme Court ruled Thursday the death sentence for convicted murderer Derrick Powell must be vacated.

    Although the court specifically addressed Powell, it also said its August ruling of the unconstitutionality of the state’s capital punishment statute was a “watershed” one that must be applied retroactively.

    It appears, thus, that the other 12 men on death row will instead have their penalty changed to life in prison, although they may have to formally appeal their death convictions.

    Powell, sentenced to death in 2011 for the 2009 killing of Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer, was appealing his punishment after the court’s August ruling. Justices heard arguments last week and released their decision Thursday, unanimously concluding Powell could not be executed after being sentenced under a statute since thrown out.

    While the news was welcome for some, others disagreed.

    “I think justice for the family and justice for the victims of these crimes is definitely not being served by having these sentences that were duly handed down overturned, but that’s the system that we live in right now,” Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, a Georgetown Republican who attended the hearing last week in support of the Spicer family, said Thursday.

    The August decision is a “watershed rule of criminal procedure,” meaning it meets the standard to apply retroactively, the justices wrote in their findings Thursday.

    Before the summer ruling, “the burden of proof was governed by the lesser standard of a preponderance of the evidence set forth in Delaware’s death penalty statute,” they wrote.

    In prior cases where the Delaware Supreme Court threw out the death penalty, justices ruled it applied retroactively, meaning the individuals on death row at the time had their sentences changed to life in prison.

    August’s ruling came about after a similar federal Supreme Court decision. Delaware justices found the state’s death penalty violated the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees right to a trial by jury. The law did not require the jury to rule unanimously on whether aggravating circumstances outweighed mitigating factors and gave the judge final discretion to sentence death.

    Chief Public Defender Brendan O’Neill, whose office represented Powell when he was charged with murder, applauded the decision.

    “I think the Delaware Supreme Court made the right decision. He was sentenced to death under a death penalty scheme that was unconstitutional, so I think it appropriate that the court not allow the state to execute him,” he said.

    “No doubt Mr. Powell committed a horrible crime for which he’s going to spend the rest of his life in jail but I think we need to keep in mind that five of the jurors who heard that case voted for a life sentence.”

    The Department of Justice declined to comment.

    Several justices appeared skeptical of the arguments set forth by the state last week, a fact noted by Sen. Pettyjohn, who said he “almost expected the ruling” handed down Thursday.

    While Delaware currently has no death penalty, 15 Republican lawmakers announced in August they intend to bring legislation to reinstate it. The House of Representatives voted down a repeal attempt last year, but the Senate may have the votes to block a bill bringing back capital punishment.

    Gov.-elect John Carney, a Democrat, said in October he would “probably” veto legislation reinstating capital punishment.


  4. #4
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Delaware's last two death row inmates resentenced to life in prison

    By Esteban Parra
    Delaware online

    Delaware placed the remnants of its death penalty on the history shelves Tuesday when it modified the death sentences of two convicted murderers to life in prison.

    Michael R. Manley and David D. Stevenson, both 43, were sentenced after years of legal battles fighting a conviction that brought the death sentence for killing a Macy's security officer in 1995.

    "No, your honor," both men responded when asked by Superior Court Judge Paul R. Wallace if they had anything to say.

    Manley and Stevenson were the last men in Delaware living under a state-imposed death sentence, which was done away with after the state's top court found its death penalty unconstitutional on Aug. 2, 2016. The state Supreme Court ruling came months after the nation's top court struck down Florida's law because it gave judges and not juries the final say to impose a death sentence.

    Florida's law was similar to Delaware's law.

    Manley and Stevenson were convicted of first-degree murder in the Nov. 13, 1995, slaying of Kristopher Heath, a Macy's security officer who was about to testify against Stevenson in a theft case. Manley shot 25-year-old Heath at Stevenson's direction to prevent him from testifying.

    The men received a death sentence in 1997 after a jury recommended execution. But the Delaware Supreme Court dismissed that sentence in 2001 after finding that the original judge had a conflict. In 2005, a new jury recommended death for the pair, voting 11-1 that Manley be put to death and 10-2 that Stevenson be executed.

    Manley and Stevenson, who have been fighting their convictions since, were among 13 men on death row when the state Supreme Court's decision was issued in 2016.

    All of the death sentences have now been modified, including that of convicted cop killer Derrick Powell, who last month was resentenced to life in prison.

    Opponents of the death penalty said they welcomed the final remnants of the ultimate punishment.

    "The penalty has not, nor has it ever been, about justice," said Chandra Pitts, president and CEO of One Village Alliance, a grassroots advocacy organization for young men and women.

    The death penalty's implementation has been biased depending on the race of the victim, she said.

    A study in California found that those convicted of killing whites were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as those convicted of killing blacks and more than four times more likely as those convicted of killing Latinos, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

    The center also points to a comprehensive study of the death penalty in North Carolina that found the odds of receiving a death sentence rose by 3.5 times among those defendants whose victims were white.

    "So it's not a question of compassion for criminals, or an eye for an eye, or for justice," Pitts said. "It's about where is justice for all of our victims."

    While this chapter of Delaware's death penalty is coming to a close, there have been other times when the ultimate punishment had been done away with in the First State.

    In 1958, the state abolished capital punishment, but that repeal lasted only until 1961. Despite the death penalty's restoration, it was not used for decades.

    That's because any prisoner who had been sentenced to death between 1961 and 1972 received an automatic reprieve following the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Furman vs. Georgia, which struck down all existing capital punishment statutes and required states to update their death penalty laws and trial procedures.

    But even after Delaware changed its laws twice to comply with the ruling, no inmate was executed over the next 20 years. This was because the new statute required the unanimous vote of a jury to impose the death penalty and few such sentences were imposed.

    Legislators passed a bill in 1991 that shifted the final decision about imposing the capital punishment to the judge, making it possible for the court to impose death even if there was a split vote among jurors.

    Delaware lawmakers are again pushing to reinstate the statute amid an outcry over two law enforcement officers being killed last year correctional officer Lt. Steven Floyd and state police Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard.

    State House lawmakers in May passed a revised death penalty statute that addresses the constitutional infirmities noted in the state and federal court rulings by requiring unanimous jury approval. The bill is now in the Senate, where it has been assigned to the Judicial & Community Affairs Committee.

    "House Bill 125 is being blocked in the Senate Judicial & Community Affairs Committee, where it has been pending action since early last May," bill sponsor Steve Smyk, R-Milford, said in a statement. "It is my understanding that the chair of the committee, Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, has been approached by legislators of both parties requesting that the measure be brought before the committee for consideration. Thus far, she has reportedly ignored these requests."

    Dp for me. Thanks. God bless America.

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