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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Timothy Allen - New Mexico Death Row

    Facts of the Crime:

    On death row after his conviction for the 1994 strangulation death of teenager Sandra Phillips near Flora Vista.

  2. #2
    Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Court reinstates death row inmate's appeal

    The state Supreme Court has revived a legal challenge by a death row inmate.

    The court reinstated a habeas corpus petition by Timothy Allen of Bloomfield, who was convicted of murder, kidnapping and attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl. The killing occurred near Flora Vista in 1994.

    In a ruling earlier this month, the justices said a district court wrongly dismissed Allen's legal challenge as a sanction for refusing to answer deposition questions.

    Allen seeks to overturn his convictions and death sentence. He says his lawyers failed to do an adequate pre-trial investigation of his mental health background. He contends he was abused as a child and suffers from psychiatric disorders.

    The Supreme Court upheld Allen's convictions and sentence in 1999.

    Robert Fry of Farmington also is on death row.

  3. #3
    MRBAM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Capital Region NY
    Death penalty challenges still haunt NM courts

    By Leslie Linthicum
    Albuquerque Journal

    ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Three years ago and again last year, the attorney for Michael Astorga argued that because we wiped the death penalty from the state's lawbooks before Astorga was tried for murder it would amount to cruel and unusual punishment if it were still applied to him.

    The first time that argument was made was before Astorga had been convicted. The second time was before he had been sentenced.

    The New Mexico Supreme Court passed off the hot potato both times by deciding not to decide and left unsettled one of the legal wrinkles left in the wake of the Legislature's 2009 death penalty repeal.

    Astorga eventually received a life sentence, making the argument moot for him, but the court will get other chances to rule on this life-and-death issue.

    Robert Fry and Timothy Allen, both sentenced to death years ago, remain on New Mexico's figurative "death row." Fry is in Santa Fe and Allen in Los Lunas, and they are both at various stages in the drawn-out appeals process that follows every death sentence.

    Allen received the death penalty in 1995 for the strangulation of a 17-year-old girl in Flora Vista in San Juan County. The state Supreme Court last year reinstated his habeas corpus petition, which remains pending in state District Court in San Juan County.

    Fry was sentenced to death for the June 9, 2000, slaying of a 36-year-old mother of five from Shiprock, also in San Juan County. (He has been sentenced to three life terms for three other murders.) His death sentence has been upheld and his habeas corpus petition is also pending in District Court in San Juan County.

    Both inmates have the further option of federal habeas corpus petitions after they have exhausted their remedies in state court.

    Meanwhile, attorneys for both men will pursue the argument that the death penalty, once repealed in a state, violates the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

    It's an interesting argument that involves all of us, not just the two men facing the death penalty. That's because one line of the argument is that when a society - in this case us, through our lawmakers - has agreed to no longer punish by execution, carrying out a death sentence violates our collective standards of decency, which amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

    You could certainly make the case that capital punishment is unusual when you're one of two guys among a population of 2 million that can be executed by a state that has carried out exactly one execution in more than half a century.

    Juries here have rarely handed down the penalty, it has rarely been upheld on appeal and it has been very rarely carried out.

    Allen's attorney, Melissa Hill, described the chances of being put to death in New Mexico as "almost a lightning strike." That's being generous. Only one man, Terry Clark, has been killed by the state in the past 52 years. New Mexico has more than a dozen lightning deaths every decade.

    The counterargument on the prosecution side is that we spoke through our legislators when the death penalty was repealed and lawmakers were explicit in extending the repeal only to murders committed after the repeal went into effect. That isn't arbitrary, the argument goes, but the people's will.

    And on a national landscape, capital punishment is still the rule, not the exception.

    All of the half-dozen defendants who were in the court system and facing possible death sentences when the law was changed were either found not guilty, pleaded guilty to lesser charges or, in the case of Astorga, sentenced to life in prison when jurors could not agree on the death penalty.

    If some older unsolved murders were to be solved, more death penalty cases could pop up, but it's only Allen and Fry whose lives depend on the outcome of the argument now.

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