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Thread: Sidney John Gleason - Kansas Death Row

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    Sidney John Gleason - Kansas Death Row




    Facts of the Crime:

    Convicted in July 2006 in the shooting deaths of Miki Martinez and Darren Wormkey in February 2004.

  2. #2
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Kansas Court considers capital murder case

    The Kansas Supreme Court is considering the appeal of a man sentenced to die over the killings of a Great Bend couple in 2004.

    The justices were hearing arguments Friday in the case of Sidney Gleason. He is challenging his convictions for capital murder and other crimes and his death sentence.

    The murder victims were Miki Martinez and boyfriend Darren Wornkey. Their deaths were days after the robbery of a 76-year-old man in February 2004.

    Prosecutors say Gleason and cousin Damien Thompson worried about what Martinez would tell police about the robbery.

    Workney was shot while he sat in his Jeep outside his home. Martinez was taken to a rural area and strangled and shot.

    Thompson avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty to Martinez’s murder.

    http://cjonline.com/news/state/2012-...al-murder-case
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    Court vacates death penalty in Great Bend murder, orders resentencing

    The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday vacated the death penalty sentence of Sidney Gleason for a 2004 double murder in Great Bend, sending the case back to the lower court for resentencing.

    The court also threw out Gleason’s first-degree murder conviction in the case, finding it duplicative, thus also vacating Gleason’s “hard 50” sentence.

    Barton County District Judge Hannelore Kitts sentenced Gleason to death in August 2006 for the 2004 shooting deaths of Mikiala "Miki" Martinez and Darren Wornkey. Gleason shot and killed Wornkey outside of his home in Great Bend Feb. 21, 2004. Then he and Damian Thompson kidnapped Martinez from the scene and drove her into the country, where Thompson strangled and shot her, dumping her body in a tree row.

    Prosecutors had argued during Gleason’s three week trial that he and Thompson became fearful that Martinez planned to talk to law enforcement about an earlier botched robbery attempt in which Martinez was a witness.

    Thompson reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that resulted in a life sentence, avoiding the death penalty.

    The court, in a 106-page divided opinion, found aggravating circumstances supporting Gleason’s death sentence legally valid and the evidence sufficient, but found the district court failed to properly instruct the jury on mitigating circumstances and that “a reasonable likelihood exists that this erroneous instruction precluded the jury from considering relevant mitigating evidence.”

    Because it vacated the death sentence, remanding it back to the lower court, the justices declined to consider Gleason's “constitutional and statutory challenges to his death sentence.”

    In Kansas, the death penalty may be imposed only if the jury “unanimously finds beyond a reasonable doubt” that there are aggravating circumstances, and that the aggravating circumstances aren’t outweighed by mitigating circumstances.

    The state presented four aggravating circumstances, while the defense offered at least nine mitigating circumstances.

    At issue was whether the jury understood the level of burden attached to the mitigating circumstances, which is less than required for the aggravating circumstances.

    Specially, the court found the jury, during the penalty phase of the capital murder trial, should have been instructed that: “(1) mitigating circumstances need to be proved only to the satisfaction of the individual juror in the juror's sentencing decision and not beyond a reasonable doubt, and (2) mitigating circumstances do not need to be found by all members of the jury in order to be considered in an individual juror's sentencing decision.”

    “Further, we agree with Gleason that… the instructions as a whole in this case exacerbated rather than cured the instructional error. Namely, the instructions repeatedly emphasized the State's burden to prove the existence of aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt and to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the death penalty should be imposed. Conversely, the instructions never informed or explained to the jury that no particular burden of proof applied to mitigating circumstances. Thus … Gleason's jury was left to speculate as to the correct burden of proof for mitigating circumstances, and reasonable jurors might have believed they could not consider mitigating circumstances not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    The jury also convicted Gleason of separate charges of first-degree premeditated murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and criminal possession of a firearm, and Kitts sentenced Gleason to a consecutive sentence of life with no possibility of parole for 50 years.

    The Supreme Court affirmed the other convictions except first-degree murder, which it noted is a lesser-included offense of capital murder, and when arising from a double murder is “multiplicitous” with capital murder. It vacated that conviction and the corresponding life sentence with no parole for at least 50 years.

    http://www.hutchnews.com/news/courts...5da5ee20e.html
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    Bad news/good news: Nancy Moritz, who is one of only two Kansas Supreme Court justices voting to uphold Gleason's death sentence, has been appointed by President Obama to the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The US Senate voted in favor of her appointment by a 90-3 vote. She's currently awaiting her judicial commission before formally assuming her duties on the Tenth Circuit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Caplinger

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    Attorney General Will Appeal Death Penalty Decisions

    Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review three recent Kansas Supreme Court decisions that overturned death sentences.

    Schmidt believes that the punishments were within federal constitutional requirements.

    The State Supreme Court upheld the capital murder convictions of Sidney Gleason, Reginald Carr and Jonathan Carr, but vacated all three death sentences.

    By officially notifying State Supreme Court that he will officially appeal, further proceedings will be put on hold until they have been reviewed.

    The decision whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court will here the case could come before the end of the year, although only about 5% of cases submitted to the Supreme Court are even heard.

    http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/A...270484311.html
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    U.S. top court agrees to hear 'Wichita Massacre' appeals

    By Lawrence Hurley
    Reuters

    WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up appeals concerning two brothers convicted in a 2000 execution-style murder of four people on a snowy soccer field in Kansas.

    The two brothers, Jonathan and Reginald Carr, and prosecutors appealed for different reasons after a July 2014 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that threw out death sentences imposed on both men but left various convictions in place.

    Jonathan and Reginald Carr were sentenced to death for the murders in 2002. Their December 2000 crime spree, known as the Wichita Massacre, included the kidnapping of three men and two women in a home invasion that included rape and sexual humiliation.

    The five victims were shot in the head. One survived. The appeals court affirmed some of the convictions against the two brothers, including murder, but vacated the death penalty for both of them, sending the case back to district court for new sentencing.

    Separately, the high court agreed to hear the state of Kansas' appeal in another murder case. The defendant, Sidney Gleason, was convicted of a double murder in 2004.


    Oral arguments and rulings in all three cases are due in the court's next term, which starts in October and ends in June.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0MQ1KI20150330

  7. #7
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    U.S. Supreme Court to hear Carr brothers, Gleason appeals in October session

    The United States Supreme Court has allocated time periods for oral arguments in three cases in which the Kansas Supreme Court set aside the death penalty for men convicted of capital murder.

    The nation's highest court will consider Kansas' appeal of its own high court decision at an unspecified date during the next court session beginning in October, the Supreme Court announced Monday.

    The Kansas Supreme Court in 2014 upheld the capital murder convictions but vacated the death sentences of brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr, both of Wichita, and Sidney Gleason, a former Topekan convicted in two Great Bend killings. The state appealed the decision to overturn the death sentences to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed this past March to hear all three appeals.

    Gleason was convicted of capital murder in the Feb. 21, 2004, killing of a woman, Mikiala “Miki” Martinez — a potential witness against him in a knifepoint robbery in Great Bend — as well as her boyfriend, Darren Wornkey.

    The Carrs were convicted in a killing spree in which five people were murdered in December 2000. Four of the victims were killed together after a night in which two women were raped by their assailants and forced to have sex with three other male victims. All five were shot execution style in a field, but one female victim miraculously survived a gunshot wound to the head and lived to testify against the Carrs, who also were convicted of killing another Wichita woman several days earlier.

    The Kansas Supreme Court cited the failure of the Barton County District Court judge to give a jury instruction regarding mitigating circumstances in vacating Gleason's death sentence. In removing the Carrs from Death Row, the Kansas court said the brothers should have been given separate hearings in the sentencing phase of their trial.

    The issue of jury instruction is common in all three cases to be argued before the U.S. high court.

    According to Supreme Court orders filed with all three, the high court must decide “whether the Eighth Amendment requires that a capital sentencing jury be affirmatively instructed that mitigating circumstances need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” as the Kansas Supreme Court found in vacating the death sentence.

    The U.S. Supreme Court allocated one hour of oral argument on the question, assigning 30 minutes to the state of Kansas, 20 minutes for Jonathan Carr and Sidney Gleason, and 10 minutes for Reginald Carr.

    A second question to be considered by the high court in the matter of the Carr brothers is whether the confrontation clause applies in the “selection” phase of the capital sentencing hearing, as the Kansas court maintained. In dividing one hour of oral argument on this question, justices assigned 20 minutes for the state of Kansas, 10 minutes for the Solicitor General, 20 minutes for Reginald Carr and 10 minutes for Jonathan Carr.

    The justices made no oral arguments allocation for a third question in the Carrs' case – whether the trial court's refusal to order separate sentencing hearings for the Carrs violated the Eighth Amendment right to “individualized sentencing” and was more than harmless error.

    http://cjonline.com/news/2015-06-29/...ctober-session

  8. #8
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    SCOTUS Oral Argument scheduled for 10/7/15

    14-452 KANSAS V. GLEASON

    DECISION BELOW: 329 P.3d 1102

    6/29/2015

    A total of one hour is allocated for oral argument in No. 14-452, and on Question 1 in Nos. 14-449 and 14-450, to be divided as follows: 30 minutes for petitioner, 20 minutes for respondents Jonathan D. Carr and Sidney J. Gleason, and 10 minutes for
    respondent Reginald D. Carr.

    CERT. GRANTED 3/30/2015

    QUESTION PRESENTED:

    1. Whether the Eighth Amendment requires that a capital-sentencing jury be affirmatively instructed that mitigating circumstances "need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," as the Kansas Supreme Court held in this case, or instead whether the Eighth Amendment is satisfied by instructions that, in context, make clear that each juror must individually assess and weigh any mitigating circumstances?

  9. #9
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    #SCOTUS reinstates convictions, death sentences in Wichita Massacre case. Scalia for 8-1 majority, Sotomayor dissenting.

    https://twitter.com/jostonjustice
    "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."
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    Article

    Justices Say Kansas Court Wrongly Overturned Death Sentences

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of Kansas officials seeking to reinstate the death penalty for three men, including two brothers convicted in a crime spree known as the "Wichita massacre."

    The justices ruled 8-1 that the Kansas Supreme Court was wrong to overturn the sentences of Jonathan and Reginald Carr, and Sidney Gleason, who was convicted in a separate case.

    The state court said juries in both cases should have been told that evidence of the men's troubled childhoods and other factors weighing against a death sentence did not have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The lower court also had ruled that the Carr brothers should have had separate sentencing hearings instead of a joint one.

    The Supreme Court said the Kansas court's reasoning was flawed on both counts.

    Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said there is no requirement to tell jurors in a death sentence case that they can consider a factor favoring the defendant even if it's not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

    "Jurors were told to consider any mitigating circumstance, even those not found to exist by other members of the jury," Scalia said. "Jurors would not have misunderstood these instructions to prevent their consideration of constitutionally relevant evidence."

    The court also ruled that the district court was not required to hold separate a separate sentencing proceeding for each brother. Reginald Carr had argued that his sentence may have been unfairly tainted because Jonathan Carr blamed Reginald for being a bad influence during their childhoods.

    "Only the most extravagant speculation would lead one to conclude that the supposedly prejudicial evidence introduced by one brother rendered the sentencing proceeding fundamentally unfair to the other," Scalia said.

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the lone dissenter, saying the case never should have been taken up by the Supreme Court. Sotomayer said the Kansas Supreme Court "has overprotected its citizens" and had a right to do so under its interpretation of federal and state laws.

    Prosecutors in the Carr case said the brothers were responsible for a night of mayhem and murder in 2000 when they broke into a Wichita home and, over the course of several hours, forced the three men and two women there to have sex with each other and later to withdraw money from ATMs.

    The women were raped repeatedly before all five were taken to a snow-covered soccer field and shot in the head. One woman survived a gunshot wound to the head after the bullet was deflected by a plastic hair clip.

    Gleason was convicted in the February 2004 killing of Mikiala Martinez and Darren Wornkey in Great Bend. Martinez was a potential witness against Gleason in a previous robbery in which he was involved. Wornkey was her boyfriend.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireS...ences-36397785
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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

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