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Kevin Cooper - California Death Row - Page 4
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Thread: Kevin Cooper - California Death Row

  1. #31
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Death row inmate asks Gov. Newsom for innocence investigation

    By Kevin Cooper
    The San Francisco Chronicle

    On his way out of office, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered limited DNA testing in my capital murder case, but it will take the broader investigation I requested if I’m going to have a meaningful opportunity to prove my innocence.

    Old cases like mine require substantial investigations to prove innocence. Numerous judges, others in the legal community and investigative reporters have concluded that the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department framed me in 1983 for a crime I did not commit — the horrific murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter, Jessica, 10, and of their neighbor, Christopher Hughes, 11. Josh Ryen, 8, survived and said from his emergency room bed the killers were three white men. I am black.

    As Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William Fletcher put it in 2009, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department “manipulated and planted evidence in order to convict Cooper. In the course of their investigation, the sheriff’s office personnel discounted, disregarded, and discarded evidence pointing to other killers.” Finding out what happened to that evidence that was planted, disregarded and discounted, and testing what evidence might still exist, is crucial to show I did not commit the “Chino Hills” murders.

    The sheriff’s department has numerous documents never given to my lawyers that will show how exonerating information was ignored and evidence used to convict me was falsified. The documents will show I am innocent, could lead to the real killers and, hopefully, uncover who in the sheriff’s department framed me.

    An editor’s note

    Kevin Cooper’s Feb. 10, 2004, execution was stayed to allow further DNA testing, which was done. His DNA was found on a bloody shirt, and his death sentence reaffirmed. Cooper has filed multiple appeals, all of which have been denied. Questions however still arise. A retired judge now has been assigned to oversee the DNA testing of the four items selected and authorized by Gov. Brown’s executive order.

    The Chronicle solicited an opinion editorial from newly elected San Bernardino District Attorney Jason Anderson. He declined, saying it would be inappropriate as the case is in litigation.

    In my February 2016 clemency petition to Gov. Brown, I asked for an “innocence investigation” and listed the type of documents I need the courts to review: one showing what happened to a blue short-sleeve shirt with blood on it that was found near the crime scene and disappeared in the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department’s custody; and another proving Midge Carroll, warden of the California Institution for Men from which I had escaped, called the sheriff’s department to correct the prosecution’s false claim that crime-scene shoe prints were from shoes sold exclusively to prisons. (The shoes were available at retail stores). Some jurors said this claim helped lead them to find me guilty.

    I want documents relating to testing done on incriminating cigarette butts in the Ryens’ station wagon, and documents from the Scripps Research Institute that initially concluded there were high levels of the blood preservative ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) in a spot of my blood found with Doug Ryen’s blood on a medium-size, tan T-shirt believed to be worn by the killer. I wear a size large.

    The EDTA results, presented in my 2004 habeas hearing, proved the blood was taken from a vial of blood drawn when I was arrested and planted on that shirt. The test result was withdrawn after its import became known, and the judge refused to grant another. The vial later was found to have my blood and the blood of at least one unknown person. I want to see the chain of custody for that tan T-shirt that went missing from the sheriff’s department evidence locker for many months prior to trial.

    Also, I would ask for any documents relating to a sheriff’s department attempt to intimidate a witness into not testifying in my 2004 habeas hearing about seeing three strangers with blood on them in a neighborhood bar near the crime scene the night of the Ryen-Hughes murders. The witness testified anyway.

    Some testing was done, but testing was withheld from tiny blood spots found near a slightly larger blood spot, the only piece of evidence that supposedly linked me to the Ryens’ house. My lawyer believes the large blood spot was planted; a test for EDTA on the larger spot (marked as exhibit A-41) was denied by the judge in 2004.

    We need the test results from the smaller spots, which I believe could exonerate me.

    For unknown reasons, Gov. Brown did not grant five of the DNA tests I requested, tests I believe could show who committed these murders and establish my innocence, including DNA tests of hairs clutched in the victims’ hands as well as the victims’ fingernail scrapings. Why withhold these tests?

    Appellate courts are virtually blocked from considering innocence claims — that’s why it sometimes takes 20 years or more for innocent people to be exonerated. In California, we do not have an innocence commission dedicated to investigating innocence claims. The governor does have the power to order such investigations related to clemency and to obtain documents that have been denied to a person trying to prove his innocence. The judge assigned could oversee the testing of the items denied and conduct a wider investigation of the evidence.

    I now ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to use those powers in my case.

    Kevin Cooper, 61, is a Death Row inmate at San Quentin State Prison. He was convicted in 1985 of four murders that occurred in San Bernardino County.

    In the Shadow of Your Wings
    1 A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

  2. #32
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Kevin Cooper case: California Gov. Gavin Newsom orders more DNA testing

    CBS News

    Sacramento, Calif. -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered additional DNA testing Friday on evidence that a death-row inmate says will prove his innocence in a 35-year-old murder case that has drawn national attention. Former Gov. Jerry Brown previously ordered testing of four pieces of evidence that condemned inmate Kevin Cooper says will show he was framed for the 1983 hatchet and knife killings of four people, including two children, in Chino Hills.

    Newsom expanded the testing to include a green button and hair, blood and fingernail scrapings from the victims.

    San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said he, surviving son Joshua Ryen, and other family members are disappointed by Newsom's order, though the Democratic governor emphasized that he is taking no position on Cooper's guilt or innocence at this time.

    "Especially in cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined," Newsom said in ordering the testing.

    In 2000, 17 years after the murders, "48 Hours'" Erin Moriarty first heard from Cooper, who told her he had been framed. She has been reporting the story ever since. Nearly 35 years later, Cooper maintains his innocence.

    "I cannot take responsibility for murders I did not commit," Cooper told Moriarty.

    Moriarty found in her reporting there was evidence pointing to another suspect and in testimony at trial it was learned that a sheriff's deputy destroyed it.

    When Diana Roper, now deceased, found bloody overalls belonging to her boyfriend, a man with a violent criminal history, she turned them in.

    "Wouldn't you say that taking in coveralls that appear to be covered in blood, not sending them to a lab and throwing them away before trial would be highly unusual?" Moriarty asked Floyd Tidwell, who was the sheriff at the time.

    "I don't know that that happened," Tidwell said. "I'm very vague on that."

    Other evidence points to the killers being white or Hispanic, Cooper's supporters say. A San Diego judge in 2011 blocked Cooper's request for a third round of DNA testing.

    The case also attracted national interest after New York Times' columnist Nicholas Kristof, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California and reality television star Kim Kardashian urged officials to allow re-testing.

    Prosecutors say previous tests show Cooper, now 61, killed Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Christopher Hughes.

    They say the tests proved Cooper was in the Ryen's home and smoked cigarettes in the Ryen's stolen station wagon, and that Cooper's blood and the blood of at least one victim was on a T-shirt found by the side of a road leading away from the scene of the murders.

    "Unfortunately, over time it seems the victims' desire for justice in this case matters less and less," District Attorney Jason Anderson said in a statement. "Prior DNA testing that Mr. Cooper sought, agreed to and claimed would exonerate him have all confirmed Mr. Cooper's guilt and that Mr. Cooper's allegations of evidence tampering were unfounded."

    Cooper's attorney, Norman Hile, said the testing will likely take months, though the timing will be set by agreement between himself, prosecutors and the former judge Brown named to oversee the retesting.

    "We hope that this additional testing will lead to the exoneration of Kevin Cooper and revealing who killed the Ryens and Christopher Hughes," Hile said.

    Brown in December ordered the retesting of DNA on a tan T-shirt, orange towel, and a hatchet handle and sheath.

    Hile has said investigators planted his client's blood on the T-shirt. He says more sensitive DNA tests are now available that may show who wore the shirt. He contends that investigators also planted other evidence to frame his client, then a young black man who escaped from a prison east of Los Angeles two days before the slayings.

    Supporters of Cooper say other evidence, including untested hair samples, indicates there were multiple killers who are white or Hispanic.

    Newsom ordered the testing of hair samples collected from the victims' hands and the crime scene, as well as two blood samples and a green button that investigators say links Cooper to the crime and Hile says was planted.

    The goal is to see whose DNA is on the items, Newsom said. He noted, however, that multiple DNA from unknown contributors may have contaminated the evidence, given the age of the case and that items have been routinely handled by investigators and others.

    California hasn't executed anyone since 2006. A federal appellate court in San Francisco stayed Cooper's scheduled execution in 2004 and called for further review of the evidence, but his appeals have been rejected by the California and U.S. supreme courts.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #33
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Kim Kardashian visits death row inmate Kevin Cooper in San Quentin Prison

    By Paulina Dedaj
    Fox News

    Kim Kardashian went to California’s San Quentin State Prison Thursday as a part of her efforts to exonerate death row inmate Kevin Cooper.

    The "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star took to Twitter Friday evening to share details about her meeting with Cooper, 61, who has remained on death row since his 1985 conviction.

    "I had an emotional meeting with Kevin Cooper yesterday at San Quentin’s death row," Kardashian captioned a picture of the two. "I found him to be thoughtful and honest and I believe he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted."

    In a seperate post, the 38-year-old added: "I am hopeful that Kevin will be exonerated since DNA testing has now been ordered on Kevin’s case and I remain grateful to Governor Newsom for ending capital punishment in California."

    TMZ exclusively reported Friday that the KKW Beauty mogul was pictured walking into the prison, dressed in all black, to meet with Cooper.

    Kardashian, whose recent campaign to have President Trump commute the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson was successful, has taken an interest in further exonerating inmates involved in other controversial cases.

    She first spoke about Cooper in a tweet last October, where she encouraged former California Gov. Jerry Brown to re-test DNA in the case.

    Cooper claims he was framed for the 1983 murders of Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old neighbor Christopher. The family and neighbor had been brutally attacked with multiple weapons, including a hatchet, knife and ice pick, while their 8-year-old son survived.

    In February, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new DNA tests on certain items that were never tested during the initial investigation. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new DNA tests on certain items that were never tested during the initial investigation.

    The order also suggested re-testing of some of the original evidence.

    As Cooper awaits the final DNA testing results, he will avoid execution as Newsom issued a moratorium for all executions back in March.

    Trying to get married before I turn 27.

  4. #34
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    KIM KARDASHIAN Pisses Off Victim's Mom


    TMZ News

    Kim Kardashian's mission to help convicted murderer Kevin Cooper prove he's innocent is enraging the mother of one of his victims, who says Kim needs to read up on the mountain of evidence that shows Cooper is guilty as sin.

    Mary Ann Hughes tells TMZ she was disgusted to see Kardashian embracing death row inmate Cooper in photos -- "It makes me feel sick to my stomach and I pity her. For what she's doing to us, there's nothing to justify what she's doing to us, the immense pain she is causing us."

    She added, Kim "obviously has not read all of the actual evidence -- she has bought into half truths perpetrated by the defense. If she actually sat down and read the transcripts of all the trials and appeals, she would be sick to her stomach to be in the same room with him."

    Mary Ann's 11-year-old son, Christopher, was sleeping over at a neighbor's home in Chino Hills, CA back in 1983 when he was murdered. Cooper was convicted of using a hatchet to slay the neighbors, Doug and Peggy Ryen, their daughter Jessica and Christopher. The Ryens' 8-year-old son survived the attack.

    Kim has been on a remarkable mission -- alongside multiple high-powered attorneys -- to help non-violent drug offenders get early releases from prisons. She started with Alice Marie Johnson's release last year, and has successfully freed 17 more inmates in recent months.

    But, Mary Ann says Kardashian's on the wrong side this time and believes Cooper's attorneys "are using her for her reality show status because they can't use the truth to try to help Kevin Cooper. The truth just condemns him."

    As we reported, Kim went to visit Cooper at San Quentin prison on Thursday, and she's successfully lobbied California Governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom to order additional DNA testing in Cooper's case. Kim says she hopes the results will show Cooper is innocent. He's long maintained he was framed.

    Mary Ann says it's absurd for Kim to think the "pile of evidence" against Cooper was planted. She says he's "100 percent guilty and the evidence shows it. If you want the whole truth, read the 94 page document on the website of the San Bernardino County D.A." ... which was filed in response to Cooper's last attempt to win clemency.

    Mary Ann points out a woman who claims Cooper raped her in 1982 in Pennsylvania testified against him during the murder trial -- something she thinks Kim needs to know. "She portrays herself as being for women's rights and for the women's movement and yet she is supporting a rapist and a murderer."

    As for whether Mary Ann wants a chance to educate Kardashian on the case -- absolutely not. She says, Kim "has not reached out to us. I would not even want to talk to her. My opinion of her is about as low as it goes because of what she's putting my family through ... dragging this through the press on a non-stop basis."

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #35
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    From the Archives: Kevin Cooper sentenced to death 35 years ago

    Thirty-five years ago, Kevin Cooper was sentenced to death in a San Diego courtroom for murdering four people in Chino Hills in 1983 after escaping from the California Institute for Men where he was serving time for burglary.

    The trial had been moved to San Diego County because of extensive publicity about the case in San Bernardino County. Cooper, who has continued to deny his involvement in the murders, is currently on death row at San Quentin Prison. His case continues to draw intense scrutiny.

    From The [San Diego] Tribune, Wednesday, May 15, 1985:

    Kevin Cooper sentenced to death in Chino killings

    By Mike Konon, Tribune Staff Writer

    Kevin Cooper sentenced to death in Chino killings Prison escapee Kevin Cooper today was sentenced to die in the San Quentin gas chamber for the 1983 murders of four people in a Chino Hills home.

    San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Richard C. Garner affirmed the recommendation of a San Diego County Superior Court jury that Cooper should die for the slayings of three members of the Douglas Ryen family and a visiting neighbor boy in the Ryens’ home on June 4, 1983.

    A six-man, six-woman jury deliberated 5 1/2 days before finding Cooper guilty Feb. 19 on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

    Cooper, 27, was convicted of the murders of Douglas and Peg Ryen, both 41; their daughter, Jessica, 10, and a neighbor, Christopher Hughes, 11, in the Ryen home. The attacks came two days after Cooper’s escape from a minimum-security area of Chino State Prison.

    Cooper was also convicted of attempting to murder the Ryens’ son, Joshua, 10, who survived a throat slashing, skull fracture and knife wounds.

    The same jury deliberated 3 1/2 days before recommending the death penalty rather than life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    In denying a motion by Cooper for a new trial, Garner commented: “It strains my imagination to believe that anyone else could have done it. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Cooper was the murderer.”

    Cooper remained impassive during the hearing.

    Cooper’s attorney, David Negus, said Cooper had wished to make a statement but was remaining silent on his advice.

    “Cooper wanted to say that he was innocent of the crime,” Negus said. “He maintains his innocence.”

    The survivors of two of the murdered persons did address the court.

    “My son deserved to live more than 11 1/2 years,” said Mary Ann Hughes, her voice choked with emotion.

    “Kevin Cooper has a history of escaping when he is put away. I don’t know if we want revenge, but if Kevin Cooper is put to death some other little boy is going to live more than 11 1/2 years.”

    Mary Howell, mother of Peg Ryen, said she would prefer that Cooper be sentenced to life without any possibility of parole. “I would like to see him put in the prison population with no protection and let the prisoners take care of him,” she said.

    Because Cooper was sentenced to death, an immediate appeal will be filed on his behalf.

    Both Hughes and Howell expressed disappointment in the lengthy process of trials and appeals.

    “We really feel bitter about all this. The system has failed us,” Hughes said. “The Ryens and Chris were killed in a way less humane than what we use to kill animals.”

    “My grandson and I feel a lot of anger. Why did Kevin Cooper go up the hill and kill four people?” Howell said.

    “With people like (Chief Justice) Rose Bird and others on the state Supreme Court, there are 183 cases to hear. At the present rate it will take until the year 2010 to hear his (Cooper’s) case.

    Only one person, Rev. Frederick Bradford from Los Angeles, spoke in defense of Cooper. Bradford told Garner:

    “I feel he is innocent. The investigation was not handled properly. He (Cooper) happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I feel justice has not been served. I don’t feel that one person could have killed all those people.”

    Garner said he had heard that Bradford had made statements that Cooper had not received a fair trial, and indicated he was angered by that suggestion.

    “I believe he got a fair trial, he had his day in court,” Garner said. “He was represented by an excellent attorney. Few people in our society, certainly not me, could have afforded the representation he received.”

    Following the verdict, Presiding Judge Donald W. Smith ordered the courthouse corridor cleared of news reporters conducting interviews with participants in the case. Smith noted that the cluster of people and cameras was blocking the busy corridor leading to the court’s primary criminal departments.

    During the trial, San Bernardino County District Attorney Dennis Kottmeier produced evidence to show that Cooper had hidden out in a vacant home within sight of the Ryen home after his escape from prison. Kottmeier also maintained that a hatchet found in the vacant home had been one of the weapons used in the attack on the Ryens and the Hughes boy.

    Cooper, in his testimony during the trial, admitted escaping from prison and hiding in the Chino Hills home near the Ryen house, but denied involvement in the slayings, claiming he hitchhiked away from Chino Hills the night before the slayings.

    Kottmeier argued that Cooper killed the Ryens to steal their car for use in getting away from the Chino area. The Ryen car was found in the Long Beach area days after the killings.

    Cooper became a suspect in the killings shortly after the discovery of the bodies by the Hughes boy’s father June 4, 1983. Cooper became the target of a massive search on both sides of the border.

    Cooper testified that after his escape he worked his way to Ensenada, where he worked on a fishing boat. He was captured after a Santa Barbara woman identified him as the man who raped her and told police that he had been working on the fishing boat.

    Cooper’s trial, which began in October 1984, was shifted from San Bernardino County to San Diego County because of extensive publicity about the murders in the San Bernardino area.

    During the trial, Negus claimed that Cooper had been used as a scapegoat by the San Bernardino sheriff’s office, which was under public pressure to solve the killings.

    Negus pointed out that the only survivor, Joshua Ryen, had given varied descriptions of the attackers to sheriff’s investigators, including statements that three white men or three Mexicans had attacked the family. Cooper is a black man.

    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  6. #36
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On September 16, 2020, oral argument will be heard before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Kevin Cooper v. Edmund Brown, Jr. - An appeal from the district court's denial of a motion to intervene brought by District Attorneys of San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Mateo Counties in an action by condemned California inmates contending California's death penalty procedures violate the Eighth Amendment.


  7. #37
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    The panel was made up of Judges Fletcher (Clinton), Hunsaker (Trump) and VanDyke (Trump).


  8. #38
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Kevin Cooper: Surviving Death Row and COVID-19 in San Quentin

    An Exclusive Interview

    I interviewed long-time death-row prisoner, Kevin Cooper in San Quentin, on August 18th. Cooper is now a double survivor of death-row and Covid19. My Flashpoints Radio Team did some of the key research that helped to rescue Cooper in 2004 when he was exactly 3 hours 47 minutes from a California state-sponsored murder.

    Cooper has been incarcerated for over 37 years (35 years on death Row) for the murder of the Ryan family and child guest Christopher Hughes, a brutal crime he doggedly maintains he did not commit. Currently, having exhausted appeals through the courts, Kevin is requesting that Governor Newsom order an innocence investigation to consider all the evidence that points to others and exonerates Kevin Cooper. Gov. Newsom has ordered DNA testing which has almost been completed at this time.

    Quoting from a letter from Norman Hile, Kevins lawyer, to Gov. Newsom on July 6, 2020:

    The current profound awakening in California and the US as a whole to the systematic racism that affects Black lives every day is a clarion call to examine, under a bright light, the racism that drove the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of Kevin Cooper. The murder of George Floyd, and of so many other Black men, by racist law enforcement has brought us to a moment where the State of California can no longer look away. It is time to finally provide Kevin Cooper with a meaningful opportunity to prove his innocence.

    It is undeniable that racism was the driving factor in the SBSDs [San Bernardino Sheriffs Department] investigation and framing of Mr. Cooper and in the SBCDAs prosecution and conviction of him. Racism drove this case from the moment the SBSD became aware of Mr. Cooper and continued unabated until he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.

    Dennis Bernstein: We are joined, from San Quentin Prison, Death Row, by Kevin Cooper. Kevin, it is good to talk to you again. Its been too long.

    Kevin Cooper: Thank you, Dennis. Thank you for welcoming me back. Im glad to be back. Its been a long time.

    DB: Been a long time, and we are glad that we are still talking. But lets come in this door. We have seen the invasion of -19. The prisons have been the petri dish. I understand, not only did you have to face off with Death Row, you had to face off with COVID-19. How are you doing? And whats it like there, in terms of the disease?

    KC: Personally, Im doing well. I do believe I did have COVID-19, but I recovered from it. Its hell on earth, just like its always been. Its just a double dose of it. We inmates are trying to do the best that we can, to survive, as weve always done. But like I said, its a double dose, now.

    DB: Kevin, the Flashpoints show has been on this case for many years. One of our producers, Leslie Kean, former producer here, did a lot of work on the case. We care a great deal about it. Youre in this battle for a long time. Can I ask you, what keeps you going? After all these years, how come youre able to continue to struggle for an exoneration? Is that because youre innocent?

    KC: My innocence is what keeps me going. I mean, that is my motivating factor. And thats all I know. I just keep goin and keep goin and keep goin. I cant stop. If I stop, they win. And I dont want them to win. So, I keep going.

    DB: We know that youre in a battle now with the Governor of California. You are calling for an Innocence Investigation. What is an Innocence Investigation?

    KC: Correct.

    DB: What does that mean? Tell us about that and what the Governors position is, at this point.

    KC: Innocence Investigation is exactly what it says. They investigate the innocence claims that are in my case. I am no longer dead in the court system, because the court system has rubber stamped me through it. And every time I went to the court, they denied me. But yet I have all these Constitutional violations. I have no less than six Brady Violations, and one is enough to get you a new trial. And I have no less than 6.

    And for people who dont know what a Brady Violation is, its when the State willingly or unknowingly withholds material, exculpatory evidence from the defense, evidence that can prove a persons innocence.

    So, they did that, six times. They destroyed evidence, they planted evidence, they lied about witnesses. They did all types of stuff that they have historically done to people like me, in situations like this. And so, were tryin to get all this exposed, in a hearing. And if we do that, then Ill get out. I have no doubt about that. So, were not in a battle with the Governor. Were waiting for this final DNA testing to get done so that he can decide whether or not to give it to me. And if he does give it to me, we all believe that theyll get me out, my legal team.

    DB: Wow. Its been a long, hard struggle. Kevin, I wanna ask you to step back a little bit and talk about your response to Black Lives Matter. Black lives in the prison, what does that look like? And has that given you any extra support, in your battle for freedom?

    Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

    KC: Yes, and because I read, study, and understand our history of Black people in America, I understand that every generation has had some type of organization or people to come and fight for our humanity, our human rights, because we cant have any other type rights, civil rights, or any other type rights, unless we first have human rights. And so, at this point in time in our history, its Black Lives Matter.

    But before them, you can see it was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. And before them, you can say it was SNCC, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Or you could say it was the Urban League or CORE, Congress of Racial Equality, or the SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, that Martin Luther King was a part of. Or you could even say it was Malcolm X and the [inaudible] relations that he was after. And before that, Marcus Garvey, and all through that, A. Philip Randolph. So, my point is, you can go all the way back to Frederick Douglass and before him. And weve always had people or organizations to fight for us. And right now, its Black Lives Matter, because Black lives do matter. They havent mattered throughout the history of this country, but they matter, now.

    And we are makin these people accountable, even with this death penalty, which I have experienced and wouldnt have really experienced, if they had executed me, in 2004, when I came within 3 hours and 42 minutes of being strapped down to that gurney and burned alive from the inside, with those poisonous,lethal injection drugs. So, we understand that this criminal justice system, how unjust it is, from the back end, where Im at, to the front end, where George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and everybody else was at, when they got murdered.

    So, we need Black Lives Matter, not just as an organization that protests on the street. But we need that mentality to come up here in this criminal justice system. We need that mentality to get up there in Washington DC in Congress and in the United States Senate and in the White House, where those people, up in there, understand that Black lives matter.

    DB: Whats good trouble, to you? What does that phrase mean, to you? Making good trouble?

    KC: Doing what Im doing, what I have been doing, what I have been doin, since Ive met you and Leslie Kean, a long time ago. What I what Mumia Abu Jamal was doing and what every other person is doing, what Angela Davis is doing, and what Black Lives Matter is doing, what you know, making good trouble. Dont let things stay as, quote, unquote, normal. Because when things are normal, when we get murdered, when we get discriminated against, you know? People do all types of foul things to us, when things are normal.

    So, we cant let things be normal, because were tired of suffering under normal circumstances. We have to make good trouble, to make people see that their normal is our pain and suffering. And were tired of suffering and having pain, because of them. So, we must Get up, get into it, and get involved, using the words of James Brown. We must! Thats what gettin in good trouble means, to me. Good trouble is no longer sitting down and being silenced, because silence is betrayal. It really is! Bein complicit is givin the other side to go ahead to keep on whippin our ass. People are shooting us. People keep their knee on our neck. We can no longer I mean, we really couldnt do it, before, and a lot of us have always fought back. But we really cant stand it, now, because now, we have more people understanding that their plight in this country is right alongside ours. Thats why you see so many poor people poor white people, Latino people, Native American people, involved in this movement, right now. Thats what makes it different than any movement, before. They can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines.

    DB: What do you think about the expanding White Power movement? We have a serial white supremacist in the White House, and he has opened up the door and given the go-ahead for folks to, shall we say, express themselves. Im wondering what you think about whats your reaction to this new White Power movement, where you can where a vigilante can walk down the street in Kenosha and shoot people, after having a conversation with the Sheriff and getting some water and encouragement? Your thoughts on the White Power movement?

    KC: Well, I look at it this way, Dennis. Theres always been a White Power movement in America, always. It aint never went nowhere. Never! The only thing thats different now, between then and now, is the fact that you have a guy in the White House, and he brought people out from behind the closet door, out of the woods, out of their sheets, and all of that stuff. Theyre out in the open, more so, now, than ever since the 1960s or 50s or 40s. So, I honestly believe that these people, who are sick in the head like that, theyre never gonna change. Not the majority of em. So, we just have to keep going and keep fighting and keep building, regardless of what they do.

    See, in my mind, its not about what they do. Its about what we do. Were not gonna stand there and let us let them just dog us out. We gotta stand up and get in good trouble. But theres always been and will always be a White Power movement in America, because America was founded on

    Recording: You have 60 seconds remaining.

    KC: And this racism that America was founded on has not left, and it will not leave. There have always been Black people or Black organizations, who have always stood up and fought for us.

    On the other side of the coin, since the coins are do have two sides, theres always been those who have been opposed to us. But were not in this country today because of those people, those white supremacists and those white supremacist presidents, like Trump and Woodrow Wilson and Reagan and W. Bush and H.W. Bush and you know, I can keep going, all the way down the line. Even, some degree, Clinton. No. Were not here still here because of them. Were still here, in spite of them, despite them, you know what Im sayin? Because we keep fighting.

    My mentality, and Im in a prison where white supremacy is in here, white supremacists, and they and officers. And I know that, but in that court system that Im in, theres white supremacy. But we dont care what they do, to a degree, because its not about what they do. Its about what we do. And thats how I see white supremacy. Its there. Its gonna its always been here. Its always gonna be there. Its always gonna be here. We just gotta keep on fighting. And if we fight long enough and hard enough, eventually, were gonna win. We are! We are! Thats what I believe. Dennis, I say this, in all due respect and all due truth. If I had not been fighting all these years in this white supremacist criminal justice system, these people wouldve tortured and murdered me, in 2004. The only reason why Im alive today is because I fought, and a whole bunch of other people fought against this white supremacist criminal justice system and proved that they were wrong and that they framed me. Now, Im still stuck here, on this modern-day plantation, in this Death Row Section, but its not like [laughs] Im dead. And as long as Im alive, theres a chance I can get out. So, we keep fighting.

    DB: Kevin, the situation in in Death Row there and in the prison at San Quentin has really been a very terrible scourge, and it was caused by the system, the same white supremacist system, wasnt it?

    KC: Its my understanding that this COVID-19 virus got here in this prison because one prison, who had infected inmates down in Southern California, transported em all the way up here to Northern California and some of em here. And the rest took on a life of its own. I mean, the coronavirus spread throughout this prison, and a lot of people died. And I think 26 inmates died. Half of em, or a little less than half, were on Death Row, you know? And that happened because these people in this system now, I cant say all of em. Im not gonna whitewash all of em like that, but the majority of em, they dont give a damn about us people. You know? They dont. Because if they did, common sense wouldve told em not to do nothin like that. But they dont use common sense. You know? They dont use things that you and I would use. They do things that they know is gonna mess with people, because thats what they do. They mess with us. They mess with us mentally, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically

    Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

    KC:and any other type way they can mess with us. Thats what they do, because theyre oppressors. Oppressors dont give a damn about the people theyre oppressing. And whatever they did, they didnt do it for those inmates best interests. They didnt have their best interests at heart. And so, were stuck in the situation that were in. I think that things are getting better, but I cant tell, because Im stuck in this cage. I dont know.

    DB: What does the medical care system look like, inside the prison? Were they up for this? Were they up for this outbreak?

    KC: No. They were not. I mean, historically, healthcare in prison systems around this country, and especially in the state of California, have notoriously been bad, the worst in the world, in some cases. And in this state, even in this prison, has been under a Federal court order. Its been monitored to get it right, because inmates were dyin from preventable deaths, because the healthcare system was bad. Now, when this coronavirus broke out, no. Nobody was ready for it, not the inmates, not the officials, not the officers, you know, because some of them, I mean, a lot of them got sick. One of em, I know, died, and he was a good officer. You know?

    But its just it just happened. But those of us who were in here, behind enemy lines, we took the brunt of the pandemic. We were the worst off. We suffered the most. And our families are still sufferin, Dennis, because they wont let us have contact visits. They wont even let us have visits through the glass, video visits, or no type visits, you know? We dont I havent seen anybody since, I believe, January. Not my attorneys, not my family, not my friends, nobody. So, this is not good for us.

    DB: But this is the nature of the system, that thats how they attempt to keep prisoners powerless, right, to cut them off from the source of love, energy and support. Wouldnt you say thats a part of prison treatment?

    KC: Yeah. Thats true. I mean, if it wasnt for these telephones. And in truth, they took the telephones away from us during this pandemic, for a couple weeks, because they said they were afraid that we would get coronavirus from the telephones, even though they were wiping em down with this very powerful disinfectant called Cell Block, which they pass out just to clean these cages. And they use it in the showers, because its supposed to kill coronavirus. But nonetheless, they wouldnt give us the phones.

    So, we found out later that the reason why they wouldnt give us the phones, because certain inmates were calling the news media and telling them what was going on in here. They were talking to their family members and telling their family members, and their family members were in turn talking to the news media and exposing all this stuff that was happening to us in here. So, therefore, these people decided to take the phones from us. But we finally got em back, but its just the principle of the thing. Yeah. They dont care about us. They dont care about our families. They dont care about nothin, man. These are oppressors. Oppressors dont care about us, man. They dont care about our families.

    They all you know. They just dont. Just not into this is a money-making machine. This is a business, the business of death, the business of imprisonment, the business of modern-day enslavement, you know?

    Thats what this is. Its a business. And they can say whats the saying? It aint nothin personal. Its business. And thats the mentality that these people have. Its business! So what, you dont get to see your family? Dont worry about it. Its business! It aint nothin personal.

    But in the mens eyes, it is personal, because without our families, man, a lot of us dont have nothin. Our families is what keeps us alive and keeps us going, that love that we have, that connection that we have, that commitment that we have, or that responsibility that we have to each other.

    Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

    KC: Thats one of the strongest things that we have, that keeps us not just alive, as far as on a physical level, but on an emotional level, or on a mental level, on a psychological level.

    DB: Kevin Cooper were speaking with Kevin Cooper, at San Quentin Prison. Hes on Death Row. Were talking about really, what were talking about, the fact that theres an opportunity now, after all these years of struggling to get the truth out about Kevins case, hes got tremendous support from the Innocence Project, from several sections of it. And theyre now moving to have the Governor open up the door for an Innocence Investigation. We are delighted and really honored to be speaking with Kevin, on Death Row. Its been a long road for us, and I wanna ask you, Kevin, has your case do you think your case has helped to call attention to other cases, other innocence cases, and also, on the struggle to abolish the Death Penalty?

    KC: In truth, I cannot answer that question. I dont know if my case has had that type of impact on the criminal justice system. But I do know that it has had a positive impact on everybody who learns the truth about this case. You know? From the United Nations, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, former Judges on the California Supreme Court, certain Governors from Texas and Louisiana, and a whole slew of other people have found out about this case. And they have stood up and said, No, man, you cant do this. We support this guy. We want this man to have a Innocence Investigation, because the evidence has all been disproven, that they used to convict me.

    So, its just a matter of us gettin the opportunity to show our side in a open forum, that the criminal justice system denied me, for all these years. And if they do that, if I get that from Governor Newsom, and like I said earlier, we believe that Ill get outta here. Now, if I get outta here, that does not that does not mean that I will be free. Excuse me. What that means is, I will no longer be on this modern-day plantation, because freedom true freedom, without equality, theres no freedom, at all. So, I understand, you know, that if I get outta here, I will be in a status of a second-class citizen, or something like that.

    I will continue the work that other second-class citizens have done in this country, to help make this country better, such as John Lewis, who got in good trouble, such as Malcolm X, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael and Ella Baker, and a whole bunch of other people, whos too many for me to name in this brief conversation. But they were considered second-class citizens, when they took it on them on themselves to fight back. So, I will be out there on the front line, along with my brothers and sisters that struggle, fighting to bring this crime against humanity to an end. I will be definitely workin for all of us and fighting for our human rights, because its important for my wellbeing to know that I belong and that I am part of this struggle.

    DB: Kevin, its like you were given [laughs] it was an attempt at a sort of a multiple death sentence. If they dont kill you in the in the killing chamber, theyre gonna kill you with COVID. But in that regard, we you know, when we talk about Black Lives Matter Black and Brown Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives Matter, this goes far beyond the prison, in terms of the racism that really comes up being brought up by the pandemic and how different people are much more vulnerable than others. You wanna talk about how racism comes into it, through the economy, through the economics of it?

    KC: I just recently wrote a essay and called Disproportionate Blues, which was about how African Americans and Native Americans and Latino Americans are disproportionately affected by this coronavirus pandemic.

    And this is our history, in our country. This is why Black people invented the Blues, so because they had to find some way to express themselves about the horrendous conditions, from healthcare, to jobs, to housing or lack thereof, to everything else that we were facing in this country.

    This is why the Blues was invented. So, if you fast forward all the way up to date and all that time in between, while things have changed for certain people for certain people, for those same certain people of a lower class, things have not changed all that much, from redlining to where a person can or cannot live, to the type of schools their children can or cannot go to, to the type of jobs that a person can or cannot get, because of their education. These things all play a part in why coronavirus is affecting us. The Policies of this country have made it so that healthcare is not a human right. They dont wanna give us healthcare. They want money. Everythings about money, in this capitalistic society. And so, if you cannot afford to pay for healthcare, then, therefore, you do without it. And when you do without it, oh, well, you find out what happens when cases like coronavirus come around. So, we all, who are poor people in this country, are catchin hell. So, some Black people are escapin this, because they have money. But the ones that dont, were in trouble. And its its a historical fact. So, when people say, Times have changed, to a degree, they have. But to a larger degree, they have not, because racism its like when they build a building, when they build a courthouse or they build a hospital, its like they have racism in the in the cement, right? So, its like institutional racism. Its all up in there.

    And it affects it so much that its killing us. They dont kill us one way, Dennis, they kill us another way. Or they put us in a position to kill ourselves. And then, they say its our fault. Its our fault for having high blood pressure. Its our fault for bein obese. Its our fault that we live in food deserts. Its our fault that we have to eat processed food. Its our fault that we live in rat and roach-infested apartment buildings.

    Everythings our fault! But no, man, it aint our fault. Its the systems fault. But yet, we pay the price.

    DB: Youre listening to Flashpoints, on Pacifica Radio. Again, were speaking with Kevin Cooper, on Death Row. And Kevin is in a battle towards exoneration. He has the hes calling for an Innocence Investigation to be granted by Governor Newsom of California. Were keeping a very close eye on that as well. Kevin, can I ask you, what what are some of your favorite books? What are you reading, now?

    KC: I just finished reading Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson. And before that, I read James Baldwins The Fire Next Time. Im getting ready to read, because I just received, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, by Angela Davis. And, you know, I do a lot of reading. I read a lot of books, you know. So, Im always reading about this struggle that we are in, this historic struggle that were in. And it helps me to better understand my situation, why that Im in here, and they know Im innocent, but yet, Im still in here, goin on 40 years. You know? Because innocence makes no difference in America. They dont give a damn about killin innocent people on the front end of this criminal justice system or the back end of this criminal justice system or fixin it all in between.

    So, they give us these draconian sentences of 100 years or 200

    Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

    KC: so, when I read all these books, and I understand this historic struggle that were in, it gives me not just knowledge and not just a better understanding, but a will not to succumb to my circumstance. You know?

    It keeps me these books that I read keep my back straight. Because as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, They cant ride your back, if your back is not bent over. You know? So, its like, reading, to me and I guess it could be for everybody. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. So, I love to read, and Im thankful for all the people who send me books.

    DB: Are you have you always been a reader? Were you a reader, as a kid?

    KC: Oh, hell, no. I was stuck on stupid, as a kid. I didnt know the first thing about books, when I was a kid. I grew up thinking that white people were the greatest thing on earth. I mean, I was all messed up. I was uneducated and miseducated. I didnt know too much about nothin. You know? And thats why I put myself in the position for those devils to get their hands on me, and they did the rest.

    Because and thats another reason why I testified in my own behalf at trial, because I was so nave, so stupid, so believin in this rotten-ass system. I said, If I get up on this witness stand and tell the truth, theyre gonna believe me, and theyre gonna let me go. When I got up on the witness stand, and I told the truth, they did not shake my story. They did not change my story. They did not prove that I was lyin. And yet, still, the jury found me guilty. Yeah. So, no. When I was a child, man, I no, I was all messed up. But Im not messed up, no more. And thats the good thing about it. Ive learned.

    DB: Still learning, right? And how many books are you allowed to have in your in your cell? Do you have a little library there, or do you can you keep your favorite books?

    KC: Oh, first all right. First, let me I mean you no disrespect, all right? I gotta correct you on that. This is not my cell, right? If its anybody, its the taxpayers cell. This is a cage, that Im forced to live in, against my will. I will never claim this as mine. Nothing in this joint is mine.

    But in this cage that Im in, Im allowed to have 10 books. So, Im always sendin books out and gettin new books sent in. But you know but its good, because the books that I send out, I send to people who share em with other people, especially youngsters, so they can gain knowledge.

    DB: Books are crucial, behind bars. Thats for sure. I remember teaching in Rikers Island, and I had a book of poems by Etheridge Knight that I lent to one student in my class at Rikers. And it was a little dog-eared, it was a little ripped up, it came back all beautifully taped together, all nicely re-put together, and I with a little note saying, Hey, Teach, this book is too important to let unravel here. So, take better care [laughs] of your books.

    KC: [laughs] Right. And I even had your book up in here, you know? And so, I thank you for sending it to me. [Follow the Money] I forgot to mention that, you know? All the interviews that you did and over the years, and you even have my interview in there, after I came back from that near-death experience, in 2004. So, that you know, and its up in here. So, I thank you for that.

    DB: Well, I well, Im happy to hear that. I really am. And of course, its really good to speak with you. I wanna give you a chance. Id like to open the mic, and why dont you what would you like to talk about? What have I forgotten to ask you? Im gonna were gonna end by, you know, how people can find out more information about your case. But before that, what what did I miss? What did we miss?

    KC: Dennis, you didnt miss too much of nothin, because this is real life, and everything is continuing to grow, continuing to move. And Im still here. The struggle is most definitely here, and its not gonna

    Recording: This call and your telephone number will be monitored and recorded.

    KC: the struggle, this movement, is not going away, because theyre growing stronger. And so, Im gonna continue to do my part, as everybody in my life, who is in my life, I mean, really in my life is, because if they werent, they would no longer be in my life or part of what I do. I think were good. I really do. Considering the type of circumstance that Im in, and what we have to go through, to make this phone call and all that, yeah. Were good. We handled our business. And I thank you for allowing me to speak on your program.

    DB: Well, its an honor. And we all are learning together. And I have to ask you the final question. How can people, if they want, get more background? How can they help? How can they let the Governor know that they might want to see Kevin Cooper walk out of those through those prison gates, into the [laughs] the larger I guess we could say, the larger prison thats now being run by a white supremacist [laughs] in the White House? How can people learn more?

    KC: [laughs] Well, anybody who is very interested in my case and situation, they can go to kevincooper.org and learn about my case and a lot of the people and organizations who have supported me. They can go to my other website, freekevincooper.org. My Facebook page is currently bein redone, but I do have a Facebook page. Actually, thats freekevincooper. And if anybody really wanted to take that extra step, they could also write the Governor and ask him to grant me an Innocence Investigation.

    And for whatever reason that they can find out why Im on one of these websites with em, because

    Recording: You have 60 seconds remaining.

    KC: I have the support of the people, then Im good. And I do have support of a lot of people. But you can never have too much. So, with that said, and I thank you so much. And I wish everybody at KPFA well, and all of you stay safe and virus-free.

    DB: All right. Well, I want you to come back. Maybe next time, we could do this at KPFA, if the if we dont have the virus, and we dont have the virus of that prison. Maybe we can look eye to eye, and

    Maybe we can look eye to eye, and and have the next conversation together. Thank you, Kevin.

    KC: You got my word, thatll happen. Thank you.

    (source: counterpunch.org)
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  9. #39
    Senior Member CnCP Addict Wilso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    South Florida, USA
    June 10, 2021

    Gov. Newsom orders independent investigation into death row inmate's murder conviction

    SACRAMENTO (KABC) -- A decades-old case involving a man on death row is getting a new independent investigation after Gov. Gavin Newsom said recently acquired DNA results were inconclusive.

    A decades-old case involving a man on death row is getting a new independent investigation after Gov. Gavin Newsom said recently acquired DNA results were inconclusive.

    Kevin Cooper was convicted in 1985 of the gruesome murders of four people - including two children - in a Chino Hills home two years prior. A fifth victim's throat was slashed, but he survived. Cooper is facing the death penalty, but has maintained his innocence throughout the years.

    So far, every appeal he's made has been denied.

    "As you know I have very strong opinions about death, and the death penalty," Newsom said during a recent news conference. "I want to make sure it's done fairly and judiciously without any determination of bias."

    The bodies of the murder victims were discovered on June 5, 1983 by a neighbor. Bill Hughes arrived at the home in Chino Hills where his 11-year-old son Chris had spent the night. In addition to finding his son dead, he found the bodies of Doug and Peggy Ryen, and their 10-year-old daughter Jessica. The Ryens' 8-year-old son Josh survived the attack.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing new DNA tests for an inmate on death row who has been in prison for nearly 40 years.

    Kevin Cooper was considered a suspect early in the case. He had recently escaped from the California Institute for Men in Chino, and was staying in the vacant house next door to the Ryens' home. Authorities later collected evidence that included a green button with blood on it, a blood-stained rope in the closet, and a bloody T-shirt found alongside the road not far from the murder scene.

    Although DNA testing wasn't available at the time of the trial, when tested nearly 20 years later, DNA evidence indicated a match to Kevin Cooper.

    "You have a blood drop that was found in the hallway where the victims were murdered; that's Kevin Cooper's blood," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson, who said he's spent considerable time reviewing trial documents.

    "You have a T-shirt that was introduced by the defense at trial, that was... tested in the 2000s. That turned out to be Kevin Cooper's blood and Doug Ryen's blood."

    But Cooper's advocates have said abnormalities with the results indicate evidence may have been planted. U.S. District Court Judge William Fletcher, who dissented in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to deny Cooper's appeal in 2009, said he believed Cooper was framed.

    Newsom said recent DNA results were also inconclusive in his eyes, which is why he's ordered an independent investigation.

    "(Regarding) prosecutorial misconduct, I'm not suggesting any of that is at play," said Newsom. "I am suggesting that based upon the DNA evidence that came in after I authorized additional DNA evidence to be collected, it was inconclusive so much so that we made this determination for an independent investigation."

    But D.A. Anderson said scientific evidence shows that it's undeniable that Kevin Cooper's blood was found in several places. And he said Cooper's advocates haven't shown a shred of evidence indicating evidence was planted.

    "It sounds like a neat little theory when someone says 'he was framed,' but given the opportunity to explain it, as has been done over the last 30 years, you find out there's nothing to this," Anderson said.

    Furthermore, Anderson said even the theory that evidence was planted doesn't make sense.

    "(To say) the prosecution planted Doug Ryen's blood and Kevin Cooper's blood on a T-shirt that they didn't introduce as an exhibit at trial, and were prescient enough to figure out in 20 years it would be tested by the defense, and then blood would show up and it would be a gotcha moment- that's absurd," he said.

    It's unclear where the case goes from here, nor how long an independent investigation will take. But both sides are expected to be sitting down with an independent law firm that is reviewing the case.

    Last edited by Helen; 07-18-2021 at 07:39 PM. Reason: moved date to top, spacing, bolding wrong
    "Based upon recidivism studies, just since 1973, we have allowed an additional 14,000 people to be murdered by those we know to have murdered before." - Dudley Sharp.

  10. #40
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Ninth Circuit denies bid by California DAs to challenge death penalty moratorium

    District attorneys from three counties in California did not have the authority to challenge a moratorium on the death penalty enacted by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019

    By Matthew Renda
    Courthouse News Service

    (CN) In a divided opinion, a Ninth Circuit panel upheld a lower court decision that prevented a group of district attorneys from intervening in a case where Governor Gavin Newsom stayed all executions in the state of California via executive order.

    The district attorneys have no authority to choose the method by which California will execute condemned inmates, U.S. Circuit Judge William Fletcher, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote for the majority. California law does not authorize the district attorneys to defend the state against constitutional challenges to execution protocols."

    U.S. Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke dissented, saying the district attorneys are trying to uphold California law.

    The district attorneys would uphold and seek to help enforce Proposition 66 to retain the death penalty on which a majority of the voters of California voted Yes while the attorney general must defend the governors contrary executive order instituting a moratorium on death penalty executions, the Donald Trump appointee wrote.

    Fellow Trump appointee U.S. Circuit Judge Danielle Forrest dissented from the majority opinion regarding mootness.

    District attorneys from San Bernardino, San Mateo and Riverside counties sought to intervene in a federal lawsuit challenging Californias lethal injection protocols in 2018. A federal judge denied their request that same year, finding they failed to establish separate interests not adequately represented by the California Attorney Generals Office.

    In March 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted a moratorium on executions, citing his belief that capital punishment is morally wrong. In August 2020, the state reached an agreement with death row inmates to dismiss the case without prejudice while the moratorium on executions stays in place.

    In their motions to intervene, each district attorney cited their interests in ensuring capital punishment is carried out for criminals sentenced to death in their counties.

    This comes after a California state court refused to consider the ALCUs claim that California law bars local district attorneys from taking part in a legal dispute about execution procedures in cases they protected. But Thursday's ruling upheld a previous decision that held the district attorneys in question did not have the authority to challenge Newsoms moratorium.

    The district attorneys point to no legislative authorization granting them the authority to represent the states interest in this case, Fletcher wrote.

    There are currently 706 inmates on death row in California, including 683 male inmates and 23 female inmates.

    The San Bernardino District Attorneys Office argued it has an interest in ensuring Kevin Cooper is executed for the 1983 murder of the Ryen family. The DAs office called it a brutal hatchet murder in which mother, father, 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old boy from a neighboring home were slaughtered. The familys 8-year-old son had his throat slashed but survived.

    Cooper was convicted in 1985, but recent DNA test results show an unknown person was present at the crime scene and witnesses have come forward to say another suspect had bragged about killing the family. Cooper has maintained his innocence for more than three decades.

    The motion to intervene was filed when Michael Ramos led the San Bernardino District Attorneys Office from 2002 to 2019. He lost an election to the countys current DA, Jason Anderson, in 2018.

    In 2019, Anderson said he was disappointed in Governor Newsoms decision to require more DNA testing in the Kevin Cooper case, saying it seems the victims desire for justice in this case matters less and less.

    Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin, who has been in office since 2015, also sought to intervene in the lawsuit. He argued his office has an interest in ensuring that Albert Greenwood Brown is executed for the 1980 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl. Brown was scheduled to be executed in September 2010, but a federal judge stayed the execution due to concerns that the lethal injection procedure might subject him to an agonizing death.

    Hestrin also cited the case of Ronald Lee Deere, a man convicted of the 1982 murder of a father and his two daughters, ages 2 and 7. The state currently has 92 inmates on death row who were convicted of capital crimes in Riverside County.

    San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who has served as DA since 2011, insisted his office has an interest in ensuring executions are carried out for Robert Green Fairbank Jr., convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of a female college student, and Anthony John Sully, convicted of murdering five women and one man during a six-month killing spree in 1983.

    Notwithstanding the debate over local prosecutors' interest in the outcome of litigation over lethal injection protocols, the ACLU and its co-petitioners say their interference in the lawsuit violates state law.

    These DAs are rogue actors who seek to ignore the Constitution and create their own rules, ACLU of Northern California attorney Emi MacLean said in a statement Friday. Their lawlessness cannot stand.

    Groups joining the ACLU in its First Appellate District petition include Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement, Riverside All of Us Or None, Starting Over Inc., and Silicon Valley De-Bug.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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