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  1. #1

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    Errol Duke Moses - North Carolina Death Row



    Summary of Offense:

    Errol Duke Moses (a/k/a, Craig Briskin, Henry Perry, Michael Gordon, Ethan Chen, Tony Moses, Thomas Hilton, and Ian Jackman) was born on December 2, 1971. Moses was indicted on October 7, 1996 for the first-degree murders of Ricky Nelson Griffin and Jacinto E. Dunkley. Moses was found guilty on both counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death.

    Moses has exhausted normal appeals and was denied certiorari by the US Supreme Court on June 23, 2008.

  2. #2

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    Judge denies death-row inmate's appeal; orders investigation of Rabil's handling of case

    A Forsyth County judge this morning denied an appeal by a death-row inmate of his conviction, but ordered that the State Bar investigate whether a former assistant district attorney committed any ethical violations in his handling of the case.

    Errol Duke Moses, who was convicted in 1997 of first-degree murder in the drug-related killings of 2 men, filed a motion last year that claimed Vince Rabil, who prosecuted the case, told a key witness, Casey McCree, that he likely wouldn't face charges if he testified.

    Moses was accused of killing Ricky Griffin and Jacinto Dunkley. Moses has maintained his innocence and has unsuccessfully appealed his conviction several times.

    McCree testified in 1997 that he went with Moses to Dunkley's house on Jan. 27, 1996, saw Moses shoot Dunkley twice and helped Moses ransack the house to make it look like a robbery. He also testified that Moses later told him that he killed Griffin, who was shot to death on Nov. 25, 1995.

    McCree was never prosecuted for involvement in Dunkley's death.

    In an affidavit filed with the motion, Rabil said he never had a written deal with McCree. During an evidentiary hearing in March, Rabil testified that he remembers telling McCree to trust prosecutors but never told him that he would not be charged if he testified.

    Judge Richard Doughton of Forsyth Superior Court said he did not find Rabil's testimony credible.

    "We're not dealing with someone who didn't know what they were doing," he said. "We're dealing with one of the most experienced lawyers in capital trials in the state."

    Doughton ordered that the complete file of Moses' case be sent to the State Bar as well as a transcript of the evidentiary hearing in March.

    Ken Rose, one of Moses' attorneys, said he would appeal Doughton's decision to the N.C. Supreme Court.

    (source: Winston-Salme Journal)

  3. #3
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    Racial Justice Act faces constitutional test as first sentencing bias claims reach court

    Cases of 2 death row inmates had their first hearing Thursday in Forsyth County, but D.A. is challenging legality of the law passed in 2009

    As Republicans in the General Assembly weigh seeking a repeal of the Racial Justice Act, the first 2 post-conviction cases to be considered under the 2009 law reached a courtroom in Forsyth County Thursday.

    Superior Court Judge William Z. Wood Jr. opened hearings on whether racial bias played a role in the death sentences given Errol Moses and Carl Moseley, both of whom have been on death row since the 1990’s. If the judge finds that racial bias tainted their cases, the law requires that their sentences be converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    But more than the fate of the 2 men is at stake. The Racial Justice Act itself may be in jeopardy. Forsyth County prosecutors, led by District Attorney Jim O'Neill, are using the opening cases to question the constitutionality of the law. O'Neill contends that it is unconstitutional because it overly broad and punishes prosecutors in 1 jurisdiction for the actions of prosecutors in another.

    "It's unconstitutional because our neutral and systematic approach to death-penalty cases can be thrown in the trash based upon what some other DA in some other county in some other part of the state is doing about his death-penalty cases," O’Neill said a Jan. 23 story published in the Winston-Salem Journal.

    Ken Rose, an attorney for the defendants, said that a district attorney does not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of a law aimed at a statewide problem.

    Judge Wood plans to hold a hearing on the law's constitutionality Feb. 7. Should he agree with prosecutors, the Racial Justice Act – and the cases of more than 100 death row inmates who have applied for review under it – would be effectively repealed. Rose, an attorney with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation Inc., said a ruling striking down the law would be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court.

    Thursday's hearing was a discovery hearing in which lawyers for the defendant agreed to turn over to prosecutors studies that documented the racial imbalance in the death sentence. In a press release, the Center for Death Penalty Litigation Inc. said the studies released last summer from the University of Michigan:

    " … found that qualified black jurors are being excluded from capital trials at more than twice the rate of white jurors. For those currently on death row, 33 cases had all-white juries and 40 had juries with a single person of color. The studies also found that for those who kill whites are nearly 3 times as likely to get a death sentence as those who kill minorities."

    Should the judge agree that the Racial Justice Act is constitutional, the cases of Moses and Moseley will be reviewed for racial bias.

    Moses, who maintains his innocence and is seeking to have his conviction overturned in separate proceedings, is African American, as was his victim. Mosley, who is white, was convicted of killing a white victim. He is is claiming racial bias in his death sentence primarily because, his lawyer contends, prosecutors systematically strike African Americans from juries in North Carolina capital cases.

    While Thursday's hearing simply set the stage for a major ruling to come, there was a dramatic turn in the audience. Among the onlookers was Darryl Hunt. His DNA-based exoneration on a murder charge after more than 18 years in prison gave impetus to the Racial Justice Act. The courtroom was the same one in which Hunt was originally tried and convicted.

    In the General Assembly, Republicans leaders newly in control are considering whether to repeal the Racial Justice Act passed by Democrats. The day before the new legislative session opened this week, Hunt appeared at a press conference outside the Legislative Building to defend the law. "To oppose the Racial Justice Act," he said, "is to oppose justice."

    (source: North Carolina Independent News)

  4. #4
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    Forsyth County prosecutors seek dismissal of two Racial Justice Act claims

    Prosecutors are asking a superior court judge to dismiss two motions filed under the Racial Justice Act, arguing that the defendants failed to prove racial bias in their cases.

    The act, which was signed into law in 2009, allows death-row inmates and defendants facing the death penalty to use statistics and other evidence to show that racial bias played a significant factor in their sentence or in the prosecutors' decision to pursue the death penalty. The only remedy under the law is to reduce an inmate's sentence to life in prison.

    A dismissal of their motions would mean the two men would remain on death row.

    Prosecutors are basing their arguments on Forsyth Superior Court Judge William Z. Wood's ruling that the Racial Justice Act was constitutional in cases involving Carl Stephen Moseley and Errol Duke Moses, who are both on death row.

    Central to the dispute over the law is the use of statewide statistics. The statistics come from a study done by Michigan State University. That study found that a defendant in North Carolina is 2.6 times more likely to be sentenced to death if at least one of the victims was white. The study also showed that of the 159 people on death row in North Carolina at the time the study was done, 31 had all-white juries and 38 had only one person of color on the jury.

    Prosecutors have argued that using such statistics is unfair because it penalizes them for the actions of another prosecutor's office in another part of the state. Supporters of the act have said it would be impossible to prove that prosecutors pursued the death penalty in an inmate's specific case without using statewide statistics showing a pattern of racial discrimination.

    Of the 158 people on death row in North Carolina, about 150 have filed motions under the Racial Justice Act, including about 12 from Forsyth County.

    Earlier this year, state Republicans attempted to repeal the law. The proposed legislation passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

    Moses, who is black, was sentenced to death in the killings of Ricky Griffin in 1995 and Jacinto Dunkley in 1996. Moseley, who is white, was sentenced to death in the killing of Deborah Jane Henley. He was also sentenced to death in the killing of Dorothy Woods Johnson, whose body was found in Stokes County. Both bodies were found in 1991.

    Moseley's case is unique because he is arguing reverse discrimination, citing statistics showing that all of the 12 people executed in North Carolina from 1984 to 1999 were white.

    In his ruling, Wood said the Racial Justice Act allows courts to consider the individual facts of a case and is not limited to statewide statistics. The law also allows sworn testimony from prosecutors, law-enforcement officials and others, Wood said.

    Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill and Assistant District Attorney David Hall argued in motions filed late last month that Moseley and Moses failed to prove that racial bias was a factor in their cases.

    "This court has held that a claimant may only claim relief under the RJA where the racial discrimination complained of actually involved the facts and circumstances of the claimant's individual case, as required by the United States Supreme Court," O'Neill and Hall argue in the motion.

    They also cited a U.S. Supreme Court case known as McClesky v. Kemp. Warrant McClesky, a black man convicted of killing a white man in Georgia, argued that the administration of the death penalty was racially biased and that his death sentence should be set aside.

    The court rejected that argument in a 5-4 decision, but it did acknowledge profound racial disparities in the application of the death penalty. But the court also said that those disparities weren't sufficient to prove that the decision-makers in McClesky's case acted with racial bias.

    O'Neill and Hall argue that the McClesky decision requires that an inmate prove racial discrimination was a factor in his individual case.

    "To allow a defendant to seek relief under the (Racial Justice Act) without alleging actual discrimination in his or her case would create unjust results," they argue in motions.

    Hall said the motions are based on Wood's ruling. O'Neill said in February that Wood provided a narrow interpretation of the law in his ruling.

    Moses' attorney, Ken Rose, who works for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, said he disagrees with prosecutors' interpretation of Woods' ruling. He said the ruling doesn't limit the use of statewide statistics.

    "That can't possibly be the meaning of this law," he said. "The law was intended to prevent race discrimination on a system-wide basis in the county, district and state. The only way to effectively apply that is to use statistics that are broader than a single case."

    http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2011...l--ar-1401359/

  5. #5
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Moses' petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis were DENIED.

  6. #6
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    Judge denies motions to dismiss claims under Racial Justice Act

    Carl Stephen Moseley and Errol Duke Moses, two Forsyth County death-row inmates who filed motions under the Racial Justice Act, will have their cases heard in court, a Forsyth County judge ruled Thursday.

    Forsyth County prosecutors had asked a superior court judge to dismiss the motions Moseley and Moses filed under the law, arguing that they had failed to prove that racial bias occurred in their cases.

    Moseley, who is white, is on death row for killing two white women — Deborah Jane Henley in Forsyth County and Dorothy Woods Johnson in Stokes County. Their bodies were found in 1991. Moses, who is black, was sentenced to death for killing two black men — Ricky Griffin in 1995 and Jacinto Dunkley in 1996.

    Judge William Z. Wood of Forsyth Superior Court denied prosecutors' motions to dismiss the claims Moseley and Moses filed under the law. The next step would be an evidentiary hearing on the claims. A date for those hearings has not been set.

    The Racial Justice Act was signed into law in 2009 and allows death-row inmates and defendants facing the death penalty to use statistics and other evidence to show that racial bias played a significant factor in either their sentence or in the prosecutors' decision to pursue the death penalty. If a claim is successful, an inmate's sentence would be reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    About 150 inmates on death row have filed claims under the Racial Justice Act, and an evidentiary hearing is scheduled to be held in Cumberland County on a claim filed by Marcus Robinson, who was convicted in 1994 for the 1991 murder of 17-year-old Erik Tornblom. Robinson and another man kidnapped Tornblom, shot him in the face and stole his car and $27.

    Robinson's co-defendant, Roderick Williams, is serving a life sentence.

    Robinson and Williams are black; Tornblom was white.

    The hearing will be closely watched because it will be a test case for how the courts will handle other Racial Justice Act claims.

    The use of statewide statistics has been central in the dispute over the law. Prosecutors across the state have argued that using statistics is unfair because they are essentially penalized for what another prosecutor did in another part of the state. But supporters of the law have argued that it would be impossible to prove that prosecutors intentionally pursued the death penalty in an inmate's specific case because of racial bias. Statewide statistics can be used to show a pattern of racial discrimination, they say.

    The statistics in question come from a study done by two law professors at Michigan State University. The study found that a defendant in North Carolina is 2.6 times more likely to be sentenced to death if at least one of the victims was white. The study also showed that of the 159 people on death row in the state at the time of the study, 31 had all-white juries and 38 had only one person of color on the jury.

    Assistant District Attorney David Hall argued Thursday that state law and legal precedent required defendants to present facts proving racial bias in their own specific case.

    "There's no allegation in decision-making, jury selection or trial of any racial discrimination against Carl Stephen Moseley," Hall said.

    But Paul Green, Moseley's attorney, said that the Racial Justice Act doesn't preclude defendants from using statistical evidence. And the law doesn't require that defendants have to prove racial discrimination in their specific case, he said.

    Moseley's case was heard first, and the judge's ruling therefore applied to Moses' case, eliminating the need for Moses' case to be argued.

    This year, Wood ruled that the law was constitutional. He said in his ruling that the law allows courts to consider the individual facts of a case and is not limited to statewide statistics. The law also allows sworn testimony from prosecutors, law-enforcement officials and others.

    Also this year, Republican legislators filed a bill that would have essentially repealed the Racial Justice Act. The proposed bill would have required people filing claims under the law to prove that prosecutors intentionally used race to pursue or impose the death penalty. The bill stalled in the state Senate, and legislators have said they would take up the bill in the next session.

    http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2011...nd-ar-1497980/

  7. #7
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    Two Forsyth County cases under the Racial Justice Act not to be heard until 2014

    Two men from Forsyth County will have to wait until at least 2014 for their chance to prove that racial bias helped put them on death row.

    The first evidentiary hearing under North Carolina's Racial Justice Act, signed into law in 2009, began last week in Cumberland County and is continuing this week. Marcus Robinson, who is on death row for killing 17-year-old Erik Tornblom in 1991, is alleging that race played a role in jury selection, resulting in a nearly all-white jury. Robinson is black and his victim was white.

    In Forsyth County, Carl Stephen Moseley and Errol Duke Moses have filed motions under the Racial Justice Act. The law allows death-row inmates and defendants facing the death penalty to use statistics and other evidence to prove race played a significant role in either seeking or imposing the death penalty.

    The law provides only one remedy if the motions are successful – a death sentence is converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Last year, Forsyth County held the first hearing ever under the law in the cases of Moseley and Moses when prosecutors challenged the Racial Justice Act's constitutionality. Judge William Z. Wood of Forsyth Superior Court ruled the law constitutional.

    But Robinson's case has gotten to an evidentiary hearing a lot faster because the statistics are not as complex, said Gretchen Engel, a staff attorney with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. The hearing in Cumberland County involves alleged racial bias only in jury selection, she said.

    That case doesn't look at prosecutors' decision to seek the death penalty or the jury's decision to impose it, Engel said. Wood, who is presiding over the two Forsyth County cases, has decided to tackle those issues first, Assistant District Attorney David Hall said. Hall and Assistant District Attorney Mike Silver are handling the Racial Justice Act motions in the two Forsyth County cases.

    The statistics in the cases involving Moses and Moseley are more complex, and Hall and Silver are challenging the methodology used to get those statistics. The data used in the motions come from a study by two Michigan State University law professors.

    Wood signed an order in December that spells out the schedule for discovery and depositions in the two cases. An evidentiary hearing wouldn't be set until late 2014, at the earliest, according to the order.

    Moseley, who is white, is on death row for killing two white women – Deborah Jane Henley in Forsyth County and Dorothy Woods Johnson in Stokes County. Their bodies were found in 1991.

    Moses, who is black, got the death penalty for killing two black men – Ricky Griffin in 1995 and Jacinto Dunkley in 1996.

    Engel said the extensive schedule isn't that unusual. She likened it to the schedule for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

    "This is a serious matter, and (this is) no less worthy of full court process than a civil matter," she said.

    http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2012...e--ar-1889781/

  8. #8
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    On January 22, 2013, Moses filed an appeal in the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals over the denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...urts/ca4/13-3/

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