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    1. #1

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      Oct 2010

      Donald Lee Leger, Jr. - Louisiana Death Row

      Facts of the Crime:

      On Deecember 11, 2001, during a dispute with his ex-girlfriend, Leger pulled a gun, bound her hands, and forced her into his van. As he was driving, she managed to escape and went into a house to call the police. Leger searched for her and ended up at a mobile home where he thought she was hiding. He shot the couple in that home, Troy Salone (who died) and Evelyn Salone (who was seriously wounded, but survived to identify him at trial). His ex-girlfriend testified against him, also. The defense attempted to show that his confession was coerced. At the penalty phase, the defense to on evidence through his brother to show that Leger had a bad childhood.

      Leger was sentenced to death on February 6, 2004.

    2. #2
      Moh's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2010
      No. 06-8170 *** CAPITAL CASE ***
      Donald Lee Leger, Jr., Petitioner
      Docketed: December 6, 2006
      Lower Ct: Supreme Court of Louisiana
      Case Nos.: (2005-KA-0011)
      Decision Date: July 10, 2006
      Rehearing Denied: September 1, 2006

      ~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings and Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Nov 29 2006 Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due January 5, 2007)
      Jan 5 2007 Brief of respondent Louisiana in opposition filed.
      Jan 18 2007 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of February 16, 2007.
      Jan 25 2007 Reply of petitioner Donald Lee Leger, Jr. filed. (Distributed)
      Feb 20 2007 Petition DENIED.


    3. #3
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      Oct 2010
      July 6, 2009

      Death row inmate, ACLU win fight to have Catholic Masses shown in cells

      By Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune

      Many convicted killers seek solace in the Lord in their final days, and Donald Lee Leger is among them. Further, he insists on the Catholic interpretation -- not a Baptist version that blared on the TV sets for all death-row prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

      So he sought help from the American Civil Liberties Union. Though the ACLU has fought for separation of church and state in the public square -- Nativity scenes, Ten Commandments, crosses -- in Leger's case it defended a particular brand of worship in a taxpayer-financed cage for the state's most evil men.

      "If you are behind bars and you have limited contact with the outside world, the only thing you have is your spirituality, " said Katie Schwartzmann, an attorney for the ACLU, which sued on behalf of Leger. "Baptists had access to services that Catholic prisoners didn't have."

      The prison relented in a settlement effective this month. So Leger -- awaiting death for murdering a stranger in St. Mary Parish while chasing his girlfriend, who escaped his kidnapping attempt -- will now have viewings of Catholic Mass and have private confessions with a priest. He will also receive the Holy Eucharist.

      Other prisoners who may prefer Baptist teachings will be offered earphones to listen to their preachers; the television's speakers will be silenced. It's the second time in the past year that ACLU lawyers alleged deprivation of religious rights by the prison -- a sprawling former plantation that has seven churches, a Bible College offering degrees for 19 denominations and Warden Burl Cain, who once said that one of the tenets of running a prison is "good praying."

      The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana, based in New Orleans, sued the state in December in an effort to bring Muslim services to Angola. Before his suit, Leger didn't get to watch Mass on TV or attend one in person from April through December 2007. One televised Mass was shown to death row prisoners between June 16 and Dec. 31, 2008, he said.

      Baptist sermons were ubiquitous.

      "On a single Sunday morning, televisions on death row will often broadcast two services from the same church, " Leger's attorneys wrote on his behalf in the lawsuit. "It is typically Baptist churches that have two services broadcast on the same day."

      Angola, through the state attorney general's office, agreed to extend policies to help Leger and other imprisoned Catholics worship. The settlement, reached July 1, affects all inmates at the maximum-security prison, and neither side admitted any fault.

      Instead, the prison agreed to welcome Catholic clergy to hold Mass on death row and hear inmates' confidential confessions, which are not to be recorded or monitored, according to the settlement.

      A prison spokeswoman said Angola wants to provide inmates with any religious services, books and programs they desire.

      Death row inmates typically spend 23 hours a day in their single cells, and can only ask a guard to change the channel. About four inmates share a television set on each death row tier, while in a typical dormitory, about 90 inmates must watch one set.

      The program choices come down to a vote, not any policy promoting one religion over another, said Assistant Warden Cathy Fontenot.

      "Angola has always had a very strong Catholic presence here, " Fontenot said. "We have St. Augustine Chapel, it's probably the oldest building on the farm. We try to do the best we can with the resources we have."

      In his lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, Leger accused prison officials of retaliating against him when he complained, including placing him in solitary confinement for 10 days and destroying a plastic rosary mailed to him from the Diocese of Alexandria.

      But in settling, Leger volunteered to dismiss all claims.


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