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Sedrick "Ricky" Cobb - Connecticut
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Thread: Sedrick "Ricky" Cobb - Connecticut

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    Sedrick "Ricky" Cobb - Connecticut




    Facts of the Crime:

    Convicted of capital felony, kidnapping, murder, sexual assault and robbery in the December 16, 1989 murder of 23-year-old Julia Ashe of Watertown.

  2. #2
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Connecticut Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional, Bars Execution Of Any Inmate

    By EDMUND H. MAHONY
    The Hartford Courant

    The Connecticut Supreme Court Thursday ruled 4-3 that the state's death penalty law, as it now stands, is unconstitutional and it barred the execution of the 11 state prison inmates now on death row.

    The law in question was enacted in 2012. It barred the "prospective" execution of those convicted of capital offenses after the date of enactment, but permitted the execution of those convicted before.

    "Upon careful consideration of the defendant's claims in light of the governing constitutional principles and Connecticut's unique historical and legal landscape, we are persuaded that, following its prospective abolition, this state's death penalty no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency and no longer serves any legitimate penological purpose," Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority.

    ""For these reasons, execution of those offenders who committed capital felonies prior to April 25, 2012, would violate the state constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."

    When state lawmakers abolished the death penalty in 2012 but made the law prospective, it prompted legal challenges by attorneys representing those condemned to die by execution.

    The Supreme Court agreed to take up the law's prospective issue when it granted a request by Eduardo Santiago, whose death sentence was overturned two months after the repeal took effect.

    The justices ordered a new penalty phase for Santiago, saying the trial judge failed to disclose "significant and relevant" mitigating evidence for jury consideration when jurors decided to send Santiago to death row for the December 2000 killing of Joseph Niwinski in West Hartford.

    During the death penalty debate, some legislators questioned whether a prospective repeal would stand up in court. The provision was added following the high-profile trials of Cheshire home invasion killers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, both of whom are on death row.

    In his 2013 arguments before the Supreme Court, Assistant Public Defender Mark Rademacher told justices that even Connecticut's top prosecutor was skeptical of the prospective repeal.

    "The problems with the prospective repeal were aptly summed up by Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane when he told the legislature that prospective repeal creates two classes of people," Rademacher said at the time.

    "One will be subject to execution and the other will not, not because of the nature of the crime or the existence or absence of any aggravating or mitigating factor but because of the date on which the crime was committed," Rademacher said Kane told legislators in March 2012.

    "That is untenable as a matter of constitutional law or public policy. I just wouldn't plain feel right doing it," Rademacher recalled Kane saying.

    Rademacher said no jurisdiction in the history of the United States has executed an offender after renouncing capital punishment. In Connecticut, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles — not the governor — has the power to commute a death sentence to life in prison.

    Senior Assistant State's Attorney Harry Weller argued in support of the new law, saying that prospective repeal was the legislature's intent. He said it is constitutional and argued against the justices ruling on just part of the law. If the effective date of the law is found unconstitutional, the law must be struck in its entirety, he said.

    Weller said he saw two outcomes, "and neither of them get the defendant what he wants." The first outcome, he said, would be to affirm the constitutionality of the new law. The second outcome would be a ruling that the new law is unconstitutional.

    "But if you do that, the entire act is unconstitutional," Weller said. "This defendant remains subject to the death penalty and the death penalty remains in place."

    Weller said the state's highest court has always deferred to the legislature in regard to decisions about Connecticut's death penalty.

    The last person to be executed in Connecticut was serial killer Michael Ross, and it occurred in 2005 only after Ross waged a legal fight to end his appeals and to have the sentence imposed.

    http://touch.courant.com/#section/-1.../p2p-84199697/

  3. #3
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    State Supreme Court Upholds Abolishment Of Death Penalty, Including For Death-Row Inmates

    By Alaine Griffin and Matthew Kauffman
    The Hartford Courant

    The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld its decision to abolish the state's death penalty, including for inmates on death row.

    The 5-2 ruling, released Thursday, upholds the justices 4-3 decision last August that the death penalty was unconstitutional for all – including 11 convicts on Connecticut's death row – following the legislature's abolition three years ago of capital punishment in Connecticut. Lawmakers made the law prospective, meaning it applied only to new cases and kept in place the death sentences already imposed on those facing execution before the bill was passed.

    Attorneys for those on death row challenged the law, saying it violated the condemned inmates' constitutional rights. The ruling last August came in the case of Eduardo Santiago, who had faced the death penalty for the December 2000 killing of Joseph Niwinski in West Hartford. Santiago has been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

    In the August ruling, the justices in the majority wrote that executing an inmate "would violate the state constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment" and that the death penalty "no longer comports with contemporary standards of decency."

    Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers, who joined with Justice Carmen E. Espinosa and Justice Peter T. Zarella in the August dissents, voted this time with the majority, saying she felt bound to the doctrine of "stare decisis," a Latin term meaning "stand by things decided."

    "Just as my personal beliefs cannot drive my decision-making, I feel bound by the doctrine of stare decisis in this case for one simple reason—my respect for the rule of law," Rogers wrote. "To reverse an important constitutional issue within a period of less than one year solely because of a change in justices on the panel that is charged with deciding the issue, in my opinion, would raise legitimate concerns by the people we serve about the court's integrity and the rule of law in the state of Connecticut."

    Rogers said, "stability in the law and respect for the decisions of the court as an institution, rather than a collection of individuals, in and of themselves, are of critically important value, especially on an issue of such great public significance as the constitutionality of the death penalty."

    In separate dissents, Zarella and Espinosa rejected the assertion that respect for precedent mandated Thursday's ruling, saying that doctrine should never be used to enshrine a flawed decision. And they pointedly noted that Rogers herself had blasted the original Santiago decision as "a house of cards, falling under the slightest breath of scrutiny."

    They also criticized Justice Richard A. Robinson, who came on the court after the Santiago decision and voted with the majority, along with justices Richard N. Palmer, Dennis G. Eveleigh and Andrew J. McDonald. Like Rogers, Robinson cited the importance of respecting precedent.

    "I cannot fathom how Chief Justice Rogers and Justice Robinson believe they respect the rule of law by supporting a decision that is completely devoid of any legal basis or believe it is more important to spare this court of the purported embarrassment than to correct demonstrable constitutional error," Zarella wrote.

    In switching her position on Santiago, Rogers wrote that overruling the case so soon after it was decided could lead to public perception that Supreme Court rulings are based on the personal whims of its members and would undermine predictability in the law.

    "The short answer to those concerns," Espinosa wrote, "is that they are unjustified and irrelevant when the prior precedent at issue is clearly wrong." And that is particularly true, she wrote, when the "clearly wrong, recently decided case" upended prior decisions and violated the rule of precedent.

    Zarella also dismissed the assertion that overruling the Santiago decision would send the message that closely decided cases can be revisited whenever there is a change in the Supreme Court membership. "My response is concise and simple: So what," he wrote. "This has been, and will always be the case."

    Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in a statement released Thursday afternoon, said the ruling "reaffirms what the court has already said: those currently serving on death row will serve the rest of their life in prison with no possibility of ever obtaining freedom."

    Malloy noted that Connecticut in the last half century has executed only two inmates, both of whom volunteered for death.

    "Opinions on this issue vary, and it's critical that we respect that diversity of perspectives," Malloy said. "These are deeply personal and moral issues that we as a society are facing and the court has once again ruled on today. Our focus today should not be on those currently sitting on death row, but with their victims and those surviving family members. My thoughts and prayers are with them on this difficult day."

    Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane said his office respects the decision and would "move forward" to re-sentence the individuals currently on death row to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release.

    "The Division of Criminal Justice and I extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims of these crimes and to their families," Kane said in a statement. "I also wish to express my appreciation to the dedicated professionals in the Division of Criminal Justice who have devoted so much of themselves throughout this process."

    In October, the high court denied a request by the chief state's attorney to postpone the Santiago decision, a ruling that followed its denial of a request by prosecutors to re-argue Santiago.

    Prosecutors then filed briefs arguing for the Santiago decision to be overruled in the pending appeal of Russell Peeler, who was sentenced to death for ordering the 1999 killings in Bridgeport of 8-year-old Leroy "B.J." Brown Jr. and his mother, Karen Clarke. The justices heard arguments on those briefs in January.

    Prosecutors said in deciding the Santiago case, the court "did not confine its analysis" to the actual claim raised -- whether enacting the 2012 law invalidated the death sentences of those sentenced before the law went into effect. The court made its ruling, prosecutors said, "for reasons having little or nothing to do with" enactment of the 2012 law and "erred in its ruling on lines of analysis and authorities the parties had not discussed."

    Prosecutors also argued that the justices relied on "flawed historical analysis" to justify their "departure from well-established principles of law" and incorrectly determined that state residents prior to the 1818 constitution gave the high court the authority to act independently to invalidate a penalty.

    Public defenders for Peeler made several arguments against overruling the Santiago decision in court briefs, pointing foremost to the legal doctrine of "stare decisis" -- letting decided issues stand. Senior Assistant Public Defender Mark Rademacher told the justices that the state faced an "uphill battle" in getting the ruling reversed.

    "What the state is asking this court to do ... is simply breathtaking," Rademacher said at the January hearing. "It is asking this court to overrule a long line of cases that have affirmed the court's authority as a constitutional matter to protect the citizens of this state against cruel and unusual punishment."

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...526-story.html

  4. #4
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    Resentencing Of Another Death Row Inmate Scheduled

    WATERBURY – Sedrick "Ricky" Cobb, sentenced to death for kidnapping, raping and killing 22-year-old Julia Ashe of Watertown in 1989, will be resentenced Aug. 5 as Connecticut continues to dismantle its death row.

    Cobb, 54, will be the fourth inmate to officially leave death row once he is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release and the first of four awaiting resentencing in Waterbury Superior Court.

    Cheshire home invasion killers Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky and Russell Peeler Jr., convicted of ordering the murders of a mother and her 8-year-old son in Bridgeport, have already had their death sentences voided and were sentenced to life following the state Supreme Court's ruling in May that affirmed the justices' August 2015 decision banning capital punishment in Connecticut.

    Cobb was waiting in the parking lot of a Waterbury department store the night of Dec. 16, 1989 as he watched Ashe, a University of Connecticut student, park her car and go inside the building to Christmas shop. Cobb then flattened one of her tires.

    When Ashe returned to her car just after 8 p.m., Cobb offered to help change the tire and she accepted his offer. Once the tire was changed, Cobb asked for a ride to his car, parked at a nearby gas station.

    Once in the car, Cobb grabbed Ashe around the neck and ordered her to drive to a nearby wooded area. He forced her into the back seat, rummaged through her purse, then raped her.

    He bound Ashe's wrists and ankles with packing tape and stuffed her glove down her throat and taped her mouth shut. He then carried her, alive, to a dam and threw her 24 feet into the ice and water below.

    Ashe survived the fall and struggled to stay alive. She rubbed her taped wrists on a jagged piece of metal fence that went around the dam and was able to break free. She reached the bank and made it out of the water but somehow either fell back or was pushed in. She was not able to get the gag off of her mouth.

    For more than a week, investigators searched for Ashe, a graphic artist, until her body was discovered in the icy water by a group of children on Christmas Day.

    At two points during Cobb's time on death row, he announced that he wanted to forgo his appeals and face execution. He later changed his mind.

    In April 2012, Connecticut legislators abolished the death penalty but made the law prospective, meaning it applied only to new cases and kept in place the death sentences already imposed before the bill was passed.

    Death-row attorneys challenged the 2012 law, saying it violated the condemned inmates' constitutional rights.

    Critics of capital punishment also argued that the death penalty laws were impractical and that executions were rarely carried out. Connecticut's only execution in the last half-century was the lethal injection of serial killer Michael Ross on May 13, 2005. Ross, who had spent two decades on death row, had not exhausted all his appeals, but waived them and asked to be executed.

    In August 2015, the state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that capital punishment should be banned for all defendants, saying in the majority decision that Connecticut's death penalty no longer comported with societal values and served no valid purpose as punishment. The justices affirmed their decision in another ruling last May.

    http://www.courant.com/news/connecti...728-story.html
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    Killer of Watertown woman has death sentence converted to life in prison

    WATERBURY – A death row inmate sentenced to die for killing and raping a 22-year-old Oakville woman in 1989 had that sentence converted Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    The conversion of Serdrick Cobb’s sentence in Waterbury Superior Court was part of a historic ruling by the high court last year that overturned the death penalty for 11 men on death row.

    A panel of three judges convicted Cobb, 54, in 1991 and imposed a death sentence for the brutal killing, which was discovered on Christmas Day.

    Cobb told a psychiatrist that he abducted Julie Ashe from a then-Bradlees parking lot on Reidville Drive in late December of 1989, according to newspaper archives.

    After spotting Ashe, he let the air out of one of her car tires. When she returned to the car with bags of Christmas gifts for her fiancée, Cobb offered to change her tire, then asked for a ride to a nearby gas station in return, according to the archives.

    Cobb raped Ashe twice, binding her arms and legs with duct tape after the assault. He gagged her with a glove he taped over her face after she kicked him in the back.

    After driving to a secluded pond off of Harper’s Ferry Road, he pushed her off a dam into icy water more than 20 feet below.

    Cobb said he came back later that night and screamed obscenities at Ashe, who was struggling in the water. Her body was found frozen in the water on Christmas Day.

    http://www.rep-am.com/news/local/doc...4255084461.txt

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