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  1. #1

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    Robin Lee Row - Idaho Death Row



    Facts of the Crime:

    Was sentenced to death for the February 1992 murders of her husband Randy, and children, Joshua Cornellier and Tabitha Cornellier.

    She has had a federal habeas petition pending since June 4, 1998.

  2. #2
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    January 25, 2008

    Idaho Supreme Court rejects death row appeal

    BOISE -- The Idaho Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from the state's only woman on death row.

    Robin Row, convicted of aggravated arson and three counts of murder in 1993 for setting the fire at her Boise apartment that killed her husband and two children while they slept, claimed the state wrongfully withheld information that could have been helpful to her case.

    But in an unanimous ruling today, the high court said the allegedly withheld evidence did not cast any doubt on the reliability of her conviction and sentence.

    Row already had brought three appeals -- some of which still were pending in the courts -- when she filed a fourth petition, claiming a deputy prosecutor committed misconduct by withholding evidence. The evidence in question was that a law enforcement officer was present when one of Row's friends recorded a telephone conversation with Row discussing the night of the murders.

    The fire that killed 32-year-old Randy, 10-year-old Joshua and 8-year-old Tabitha Cornellier happened in February 1992, and shortly after a detective asked Row's friend and neighbor, Joan McHugh, to begin recording any phone calls she received from Row.

    In one of those calls, the detective asked McHugh to lie and tell Row that early on the morning of the fire, she had woken up and gone downstairs, only to find that Row wasn't there. Row first told McHugh that she couldn't remember where she was, according to the recordings, but said in a phone call later that day that she'd been talking with her psychiatrist in a car outside the apartment.

    When McHugh pointed out that the psychiatrist could serve as an alibi, proving Row didn't commit the murders, Row "did not seem enthused about the fact that she would have an alibi and refused to tell her psychiatrist's name," according to the detective's report.

    In her appeal, Row claimed that the state wrongfully failed to reveal that the detective was actually present with McHugh when McHugh recorded the phone calls. But the Idaho Supreme Court didn't agree, instead finding that at the very least the detective's report made it clear that he and McHugh were in close contact during the calls. Besides, the high court found, such information would not have likely changed the outcome of her case.

    In 1980, another of Row's children, Keith, died in a California house fire that officials ruled accidental. A fourth child died of sudden infant death syndrome. Row was sentenced to death on Dec. 16, 1993, by 4th District Judge Alan Schwartzman, who called her a pathological liar, citing her purchase of $276,000 in life insurance on her family in the year preceding their deaths and her admission that she was having an affair with a married man. Schwartzman also said the premeditated arson murders were "the final betrayal of motherhood," and "a descent into the blackened heart of darkness."

    (Source The Associated Press January 25, 2008)

  3. #3
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    This is from last August but I am unaware of any court decision that followed the appeal.



    — Attorneys for the only woman on Idaho’s death row say Robin Lee Row’s triple murder conviction should be thrown out because her trial attorneys didn’t have the time or money to develop evidence that Row’s brain had atrophied, and the damage may have hindered her decision-making abilities.

    Row, now 52, was convicted of murdering husband Randy Row, 34, and her children from a previous marriage, Joshua Cornellier, 10, and Tabitha Cornellier, 8, by setting their duplex on fire in 1992. Row had two other children who died years earlier — a baby who investigators said died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and a son named Keith who was killed in a 1980 California house fire that investigators ruled accidental.

    Fourth District Judge Alan Schwartzman sentenced Row to death in 1993, calling her a pathological liar and citing her purchase of $276,000 worth of life insurance for her family the year before they died.

    “Robin Row’s actions represent the final betrayal of motherhood and embody the ultimate affront to civilized notions of maternal instinct,” Schwartzman said during her sentencing. “Maternal ’pedocide’ — the killing of one’s own children — is the embodiment of the cold-blooded, pitiless slayer — a descent into the blackened heart of darkness.”

    Row’s appeals attorney, Teresa Hampton, told U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Thursday that her client’s trial attorneys didn’t do enough to develop evidence that could have resulted in a lesser sentence.

    “There is significant and powerful mitigating evidence that should have been developed at trial,” she said.

    Row’s childhood was marred by long-term sexual abuse and mentally ill family members, and her own medical history included evidence of mental illness, including serious suicide attempts, Hampton said.

    But Hampton said a CT scan showing Row had brain atrophy is “the major red flag in this case” that, if explored, could have changed the outcome. Brain atrophy is a loss of brain cells and the connections between them, and it can occur for a number of reasons, including trauma and disease. The damage left by atrophy can sometimes lead to mental illness, dementia and other problems.

    Row’s trial attorneys did ask the court for money to hire an expert to evaluate Row’s brain function and history, but the trial judge refused their request and instead referred them to the public defender’s budget, Hampton said. The judge also refused to allow them additional time to investigate on their own, she said.

    But Jessica Lorello, the deputy attorney general representing the state, said Row’s trial attorneys were never deprived the money or the time they needed to come up with mitigating evidence.

    “The court’s position always was, ’I don’t know why you can’t take this out of the public defender’s budget,”’ Lorello said. “In terms of that social history evidence … the court determined it ultimately wouldn’t have made a difference.”

    Winmill said he would take the matter under advisement and could have a ruling in the next several weeks.

    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/201...eals-sentence/

  4. #4
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    Federal judge rejects Robin Row's death row appeal

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) A federal judge has dismissed the entire appeal of the only woman on Idaho's death row, but he has cleared the Robin Row to ask a higher court to consider a handful of issues in the case.

    Row was convicted of murdering her husband Randy Row and her children, 10-year-old Joshua Cornellier and 8-year-old Tabitha Cornellier, by setting their Boise duplex on fire in 1992. At her sentencing, 4th District Judge Alan Schwartzman said she was a pathological liar and a cold-blooded, pitiless slayer.

    Row appealed on several issues. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill rejected all her claims. Still, he said she could appeal some matters to a higher court, including whether her attorneys were ineffective and whether she was forced to wait too long to be arraigned.

    http://www.chron.com/news/article/Fe...al-2148029.php

  5. #5
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    Row will be profiled on ID networks Deadly Women on Saturday November 5 at 7 p.m. EDT.

  6. #6

    Question Length of time on Death Row

    Is there a reason why people on Death Row in Idaho have to set there for so long, and does this happen in every state or is this an isolated exception in Idaho. Her federal habeas petion is still pending. Why is it taking so long.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Is there a reason why people on Death Row in Idaho have to set there for so long, and does this happen in every state or is this an isolated exception in Idaho. Her federal habeas petion is still pending. Why is it taking so long.
    Row's federal habeas petition was dismissed last August. She has yet to file in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The delay in justice isn't isolated to Idaho, but the feds there sure seem to sit on appeals for a long time.

  8. #8

    to Hedi

    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    Row's federal habeas petition was dismissed last August. She has yet to file in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The delay in justice isn't isolated to Idaho, but the feds there sure seem to sit on appeals for a long time.
    Hedi thank You for the information on the habeas corpus I didn't relize that it just takes so long for all the appeals to go through. In the mean time we have to pay for them. I quess I will never understand the system truly and how it works. Thank You again Hedi.

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  10. #10
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    I don't know what evidence was used to convict her. On appeal Row has raised issues of childhood sexual abuse and brain atrophy. She has lost on appeal.

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