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Gerald Ross Pizzuto, Jr. - Idaho Execution - Stayed - Page 10
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Thread: Gerald Ross Pizzuto, Jr. - Idaho Execution - Stayed

  1. #91
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Clemency Hearing Tuesday for Death Row Inmate With Cancer

    Idahos parole board is scheduled to hold a hearing this week on a request to reduce the sentence of a death row inmate with terminal cancer to a sentence of life in prison

    By Associated Press

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) Idaho's parole board is scheduled to hold a hearing this week on a request to reduce the death penalty sentence of an inmate with terminal cancer to a sentence of life in prison.

    Idaho's Commission of Pardons and Parole is scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear the request to commute the sentence of Gerald Ross Pizzuto Jr., who was convicted of a double murder in 1985, the Idaho Statesman reports.

    The commission agreed to the hearing in May, staying Pizzuto's June 2 execution date.

    Pizzuto, 65, has been on death row for 35 years after being convicted for the July 1985 slayings of two gold prospectors at a cabin north of McCall.

    Pizzuto has bladder cancer, diabetes and heart disease and is confined to a wheelchair. He's been on hospice care since 2019, when doctors said he likely wouldn't survive for another year.

    If the seven-member board grants Pizzuto clemency, Gov. Brad Little must approve the decision.

    Court records show Pizzutos life was marred by violence from childhood. Family members offered gruesome testimony that Pizzuto was repeatedly tortured, raped and severely beaten by his stepfather and sometimes by his stepfathers friends, and that he sustained multiple brain injuries.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...te-with-cancer
    "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

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    - Rev. Richard Hawke

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  2. #92
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Mastro Titta's Avatar
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    How do you see this? Another "Oklahoma style" farce on the way?

  3. #93
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    ‘Protect him now’: Pizzuto’s family pleas for mercy in death row clemency hearing

    Angelinna Pizzuto recalled Tuesday morning that she and her older brother, Gerald, were repeatedly beaten and sexually abused by their stepfather, Bud Bartholomew, when they were children.

    They were never given refuge from Bartholomew’s abuse, she said. Along with her old sister, Elsie Rado, Angelinna Pizzuto appeared during a clemency hearing before the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole in an effort to protect their brother, a convicted killer and Idaho death row inmate for more than 35 years.

    “Please, I’m here to ask you to protect him now,” Angelinna Pizzuto told the seven-member parole board during the virtual meeting. “Please grant my brother the chance to die on God’s time.”

    A rare death row clemency bid for Gerald Pizzuto began with testimony from his sisters and arguments from his attorneys, who are pushing for him to die naturally in prison. Members of the Idaho Attorney General’s Office are set to argue in support of Pizzuto’s execution by lethal injection Tuesday afternoon.

    Pizzuto, 65 and confined to a wheelchair, was present for the hearing alongside members of his legal team at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution, where Pizzuto and other death row inmates reside.

    Bruce Livingston, one of his attorneys through the nonprofit Federal Defender Services of Idaho, told the parole board of Pizzuto’s terminal late-stage bladder cancer, heart disease and severe diabetes, asking that they spare him from lethal injection. “God will take him shortly in due course,” he said.

    Pizzuto could die at any time, Livingston said, as he’s been in hospice care for two years and isn’t a threat to anyone.

    “The taking of his life through state-sanctioned execution is unnecessary,” Livingston said.

    Pizzuto’s case stems from his 1986 conviction on two felony counts of first-degree murder after he was charged with killing two gold prospectors at an Idaho County cabin . Two of Pizzuto’s accomplices in the deadly robbery, James Rice and William Odom Jr., took plea deals for shorter sentences and testifying against Pizzuto, who was sentenced to death. Rice and Odom Jr. each served 12 years for their role in the slayings, and later released from prison.

    Meanwhile, Pizzuto has remained on death row for more than three decades, avoiding execution on three separate occasions during that time. Idaho’s latest attempt at putting him to death came when a state district court judge signed Pizzuto’s death warrant in May, only for the parole board to grant his petition for a clemency hearing two weeks later, which led to a stay of execution.

    A month before, Pizzuto’s attorneys at the nonprofit Federal Defender Services of Idaho appealed to the parole board for the clemency hearing. They cited an extremely abusive childhood, as well as his terminal illness of late-stage bladder cancer that saw Pizzuto transition to hospice care now about two years ago.

    His legal team stated in its April petition that Pizzuto long ago accepted responsibility for his crimes and does not wish to make excuses in making this “extraordinary” request. Rather, they sought the rare review not based on some question of their client’s innocence, but in an appeal to the parole board’s ability to grant mercy.

    Tuesday’s hearing is believed to be just the second time Idaho has held a clemency review for a death row inmate since 1977, when the state reestablished capital punishment. Over that same period, Idaho executed three prisoners, each by lethal injection — the last in 2012.

    The only other hearing of its kind occurred in the state in 1996, when the parole board voted 3-2 to recommend the death sentence of convicted murderer Donald Paradis be reduced to life in prison over questions of his innocence. Then-Gov. Phil Batt accepted the majority decision and granted the request.

    A timeline for the parole board’s recommendation to Gov. Brad Little on Pizzuto’s clemency petition is unknown, but a decision will not be issued Tuesday, board members said.

    https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/...256212672.html

  4. #94
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Bobsicles's Avatar
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    Petition for certiorari denied.

    Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Idaho
    Case Numbers: (47709)
    Decision Date: February 3, 2021
    Rehearing Denied: April 29, 2021

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/search....c/21-5800.html
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  5. #95
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Bobsicles's Avatar
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    Thank you for the adventure - Axol

    Tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesnt even matter - Linkin Park

    Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever. - Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt

    Im going to the ghost McDonalds - Garcello

  6. #96
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    Clemency denied by Gov. Brad Little. Idaho could execute Pizzuto in mid-2022.
    "How do you get drunk on death row?" - Werner Herzog

    "When we get fruit, we get the juice and water. I ferment for a week! It tastes like chalk, it's nasty" - Blaine Keith Milam #999558 Texas Death Row

  7. #97
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    He didn't "increase" the penalty recommended, he merely rejected their recommendation to reduce his already legally prescribed penalty.

    If they had, say, recommended reduction to life with parole and he had reduced to life without parole instead, there would be an argument possibly. Rejection is not modification via augmentation.
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  8. #98
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    Idaho judge weighs if governor has power over commutations

    By Rebecca Boone
    The Associated Press

    BOISE, Idaho — A state judge is weighing whether Idaho’s Constitution allows the governor to reject a parole board’s recommendation when it comes to commuting a death sentence — a decision that may determine if a longtime death row inmate will be executed.

    2nd District Judge Jay Gaskill heard arguments in Gerald Pizzuto Jr.’s case on Thursday. Pizzuto, 66, has been on death row for more than three decades after being convicted for the July 1985 slayings of two gold prospectors at a cabin north of McCall. He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection last year, but the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole agreed to grant him a clemency hearing. Late last year, the board voted four to three to recommended that Pizzuto’s sentence be changed to life in prison.

    In their recommendation, the parole board cited Pizzuto’s poor health — he has terminal bladder cancer, heart disease and diabetes as well as decreased intellectual function — and said commutation would be an act of mercy.

    But Idaho Gov. Brad Little rejected the recommendation and said he wouldn’t commute Pizzuto’s sentence. Little noted the man committed the Idaho slayings shortly after being released from prison in Michigan where he had been convicted of rape.

    “The severity Pizzuto’s brutal, senseless, and indiscriminate killing spree strongly warrants against commutation,” Little wrote.

    Pizzuto’s attorneys with the Federal defender Services of Idaho contend that the language of the Constitution is clear — the governor can grant a temporary reprieve of the death sentence, but only the parole board can decide whether or not to commute an inmate’s death sentence, and the board’s decision is final.

    But Deputy Attorney General LaMont Anderson, who represents the state, contends that the phrase “only as provided by statute” included in the relevant section of the constitution means the Legislature can adjust the commutation powers. A state law enacted by the legislature says the parole board can recommend commutation for death penalty cases, but the governor must approve the recommendation, Anderson said.

    “I don’t know how it could be any plainer, quite frankly. The power to commute a sentence is not vested in the commission — it’s vested in the Legislature,” Anderson told the judge. “‘Only as provided by statute,’ means that only the Legislature can determine what power what authority the commission or any other entity has as far as commutation in death penalty cases.”

    However, the Constitution also says no commutation or pardon shall be granted except by the decision of a majority of the parole board and simply doesn’t that power to the governor, Horwitz said. Even reprieves — a temporary stall of an execution — issued by the governor are only allowed until the commission has a chance to meet and consider the matter.

    There’s compelling public policy reasons that support the way the Constitution is worded, Horwitz said: Parole commissioners are appointed because of their expertise. In Pizzuto’s case, they considered a lengthy and detailed petition and reviewed a large amount of evidence from both sides.

    “The governor in contrast, took a single day ... and on that day determined he would not grant clemency,” Horwitz told the court. “Those facts amply demonstrate why the framers chose to give these important decisions to professionals who specialize in these matters, rather than to officials who have to directly consider reelection consequences.”

    Horwitz asked the judge not to issue a new death warrant for Pizzuto until the constitutionality of the matter is decided.

    Pizzuto was camping with two other men near McCall when he encountered 58-year-old Berta Herndon and her 37-year-old nephew Del Herndon, who were prospecting in the area. Prosecutors said Pizzuto, armed with a .22 caliber rifle, went to the Herndon’s cabin, tied their wrists behind their backs and bound their legs to steal their money. He bludgeoned them both, and co-defendant James Rice then shot Del Herndon in the head. Another co-defendant, Bill Odom, helped bury the bodies and all three were accused of robbing the cabin.

    Court records show Pizzuto’s childhood was marred by severe and unrelenting abuse by his stepfather and his stepfather’s friends. He is one of eight people on Idaho’s death row.

    https://apnews.com/article/idaho-34d...198fb1070a5ffa

  9. #99
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    "However, the Constitution also says no commutation or pardon shall be granted except by the decision of a majority of the parole board and simply doesn’t that power to the governor, Horwitz said."

    This simply means that clemency cannot be unilaterally granted by the governor. It says nothing about rejecting a recommendation for clemency. Also, the fact that this was even before the governor suggests it was sent to him to act upon.
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  10. #100
    Senior Member Frequent Poster Fact's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's pretty clear based on the language of that provision in the Idaho Constitution that the only way the legislature can't limit the board of pardons (if they decide to create one) is its power to remit fines and forfeitures. Other than that, the legislature has seems to have plenary power (including whether to allow pardons and commutations in the first place).

    It's also usually a very bad sign when a lawyer is making a policy argument rather than a textual argument.
    Last edited by Fact; 01-28-2022 at 06:22 PM.

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