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Thread: Alvin Bernal Jackson - Arkansas Death Row

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Alvin Bernal Jackson - Arkansas Death Row

    Sgt. Scott Grimes, 41

    Charles (Dickie) Colclasure was murdered in 1989. Jackson was serving a 60-year sentence for this crime.

    Facts of the Crime:

    Jackson was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death on June 20, 1996 in the November 1995 stabbing death of Sgt. Scott Grimes, 41, at the Department of Correction’s Tucker Unit. At the time, Jackson was serving life in prison without parole in the 1990 slaying of Little Rock businessman Charles R. Colclasure, 47.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    September 23, 2007

    LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A Little Rock man on death row for the slaying of a prison guard in Pine Bluff is entitled to a new hearing on his claim that he is mentally retarded, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

    An attorney for condemned killer Alvin Bernal Jackson said the hearing may be delayed because of a pending appeal in a similar case.

    Jackson was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1996 in the November 1995 stabbing death of Sgt. Scott Grimes, 41, at the Department of Correction’s Tucker Unit. At the time, Jackson was serving life in prison without parole in the 1990 slaying of Little Rock businessman Charles R. Colclasure, 47.

    During the federal appeals process, Jackson, 37, asked for a hearing to present evidence to show that he is mentally retarded. He cited a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that executing mentally retarded people violated the Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

    A federal judge refused to grant Jackson’s request, finding that he did not argue mental retardation as a defense at his trial and therefore could not make the argument on appeal.

    The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed the lower court ruling Tuesday and sent the case back U.S. District Court in Little Rock for an evidentiary hearing.

    The appeals court cited its recent ruling in a another death penalty case to explain its ruling in Jackson’s case. The court ruled in June that convicted murderer Sedrice Maurice Simpson, also known as Sedric Simpson, 35, of Dallas County, was entitled to a new hearing on his claim of mental retardation, even though he did not present a defense of mental retardation at trial.

    The court found that Simpson was raising a “previously unavailable federal claim” based on the Supreme Court’s 2002 decision, which did not exist at the time of Simpson’s trial. That Simpson could have argued mental retardation as a defense under Arkansas law but did not do so at his trial was irrelevant, the court said.

    The state is appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson’s attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig of Little Rock, said Tuesday he anticipates the state will move for a delay of Jackson’s evidentiary hearing, pending the outcome of state’s appeal in the Simpson case.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    August 11, 2010

    New hearing ordered for Arkansas death-row inmate

    LITTLE ROCK — A federal appeals court has ordered a hearing on whether an Arkansas inmate sentenced to die for fatally stabbing a prison guard is mentally retarded and ineligible for the death penalty.

    The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a federal judge’s decision that dismissed a lawsuit by death-row inmate Alvin Bernal Jackson. Jackson was sentenced to death for the 1995 stabbing of Sgt. Scott Grimes. Jackson was already serving a life sentence for another murder when Grimes was killed.

    The appeals court says Jackson deserves a hearing on whether he is mentally retarded. Court records show that Jackson was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and an antisocial personality disorder. According to records, he also had low IQ scores throughout childhood.

    A date hasn’t been set for Jackson’s hearing.


    Opinion is here:


  4. #4
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Personal Inmate Information

    DOB: 06/30/1970
    Race: Black
    Gender: Male

    Crime and Trial Information

    * County of conviction: Jefferson
    * Number of counts: One
    * Race of Victim: White
    * Gender of Victim: Male
    * Date of crime: 07/30/1989
    * Date of Sentencing: 06/20/1996

    Legal Status

    Current Proceedings:
    Remanded to E.D. Ark.


    Jeffrey Marx Rosenzweig

    Court Opinions

    Jackson v. State, 954 S.W.2d 894 (Ark. 1997); Jackson v. State, 37 S.W.3d 595 (Ark. 2001) (reversing dismissal of post‐conviction relief as untimely); Jackson v. State, 105 S.W.3d 352 (Ark. 2003) (affirming denial of post‐conviction relief); Jackson v. Norris, 468 F.Supp.2d 1030 (E.D. Ark. 2007) (denying habeas corpus); Jackson v. Norris, 256 Fed.Appx. 12 (8th Cir. 2007) (reversing and vacating the judgment of district court in light of Simpson v. Norris, 490 F.3d 1029 (8th Cir. 2007)), cert. denied, 128 S.Ct. 2907 (2008); Jackson v. Norris, 2010 WL 3155187 (8th Cir. Aug. 11, 2010) (reversing denial of habeas corpus)

    Legal Issues

    On habeas:
    (1) Atkins claim of mental retardation

    On petition for post‐conviction relief, 105 S.W.3d 352 (2003):
    (1) trial judge's instruction that jury "correct" its error in the penalty phase verdict forms, by essentially instructing jury to find that no mitigating circumstances existed (jury had erroneously checked box indicating that no mitigating evidence was even presented)
    (2) trial counsel's failure to call a penalty phase expert witness to describe Mr. Jackson's alleged organic brain dysfunction, as well as additional penalty phase witnesses to describe Mr. Jackson's personal and family history

  5. #5
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Marcel Wayne Williams v Ray Hobbs

    A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of lawsuits by death-row inmates that challenged the way Arkansas conducts executions.

    The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied the appeals on grounds that the lawsuits only speculated about possible problems and didn't identify constitutional violations.

    Marcel Wayne Williams filed one lawsuit and seven other condemned inmates joined in a similar court action.

    The inmates argued that the state shouldn't be allowed to change its lethal injection procedures without proper notice and that the uncertainty heightened their anxiety about suffering as they are being killed.

    The state has no scheduled executions.


  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Again, judge rules inmate mentally fit

    Bid to void death sentence rejected

    Death-row inmate Alvin Bernal Jackson isn't "intellectually disabled" enough to make him ineligible for the death penalty, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright said last week in a ruling that has been pending for more than four years.

    But before the ink was even dry on Wright's 50-page order, defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig of Little Rock filed a notice of appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

    Twice before, Wright has rejected Jackson's efforts to be heard on his quest to have his death sentence voided, and each time, the 8th Circuit has reversed her.

    Meanwhile, the Arkansas Department of Correction inmate, who is now 45 years old, is protected from immediate execution by a lawsuit pending before the Arkansas Supreme Court that challenges Act 1096 of 2015, which spelled out execution protocols and shielded the source of the lethal drugs from the public. The lawsuit, filed by Rosenzweig on the day the law was passed, names nine death-row inmates, including Jackson, as plaintiffs.

    In February, the Supreme Court granted the plaintiffs more time to make their case despite arguments by state attorneys that the plaintiffs are trying to "run the clock" before one of the three drugs in the state's lethal-injection cocktail will expire in June. Prison officials have said the supplier is unwilling to sell more drugs to the state, and another supplier hasn't been found.

    Because of various legal challenges and difficulties in obtaining proper execution drugs, Arkansas hasn't executed a prisoner since 2005.

    On Oct. 27, 2003, Jackson filed a federal petition citing seven grounds for relief from his death sentence.

    On Jan. 4, 2007, Wright dismissed the petition, saying Jackson didn't take advantage of an opportunity to air his complaints in state court.

    But after the 8th Circuit declared in 2010 that Jackson was entitled to pursue his federal petition on one of the grounds he cited, mental disability, Wright considered written briefs on the matter from Rosenzweig and attorneys for the state. She concluded that Jackson hadn't proved a need for an evidentiary hearing on the matter and said there was nothing left of the case to consider, but Jackson appealed once again to the 8th Circuit.

    The appeals court reversed Wright a second time, directing her to hold a hearing on whether Jackson's mental impairments entitled him to relief under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Atkins v. Virginia, which held that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, categorically bars the execution of mentally disabled offenders.

    At the hearing in late 2011, psychologist James Moneypenny of Little Rock said he believed Jackson is mentally disabled. But Gilbert Macvaugh III, former chief forensic psychologist at the Mississippi State Hospital, said Jackson appeared to be "above the cut of mental retardation." Macvaugh said his "clinical" opinion was that Jackson doesn't qualify as intellectually disabled, but that he was unable to render a "forensic" opinion on whether Jackson is intellectually disabled as defined by Atkins v. Virginia and under Arkansas law.

    He explained that the standards are "much, much higher" in a forensic setting, "and in this case, it's very difficult to offer an opinion to a reasonable degree of certainty" about whether Jackson has an intellectual disability.

    The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't uniformly defined the term "mental retardation," leaving that to the states.

    Citing a state law that was in place before the Atkins decision, Wright said Thursday that "Jackson has failed to show that he is intellectually disabled according to the standard set forth under Arkansas law."

    Jackson was first convicted of capital murder in 1990, for the July 31, 1989, murder of Charles Colclasure, a 47-year-old Little Rock business owner. Colclasure was ambushed at his International Business Forms office in East End by robbers who shot him six times, repeatedly ran over him with a vehicle and threw him in the Arkansas River. A Pulaski County Circuit Court jury sentenced Jackson to life in prison without parole for the attack.

    Then in June 1996, Jackson was again convicted of capital murder, and this time sentenced to death by lethal injection, for killing prison guard Scott Grimes, 41, with a homemade knife inside the department's Tucker Unit on Nov. 29, 1995.

    Wright's order noted evidence that Jackson plotted to kill an inmate, Anthony Griffin, because Griffin had fought with another inmate who shared Jackson's faith. The order noted that Jackson "prepared for the deadly attack by removing a piece of metal from his cell door, which allowed him to kick the bottom of the door open during the short window of time when Griffin was being escorted to his cell" after a shower.

    "The evidence also showed that Jackson had sharpened his weapon by rubbing it on the floor of his cell and that he wrapped the handle with plastic and wore a glove during the attack," the order notes.

    It said that as Grimes escorted Griffin, Jackson "escaped from his cell at the opportune time and ran toward Griffin." Grimes got between the two prisoners, and Jackson stabbed him twice in the left side of his chest, piercing his heart.

    "Gravely injured but alive, Sergeant Grimes held Jackson in a headlock until another officer arrived, at which point Sergeant Grimes collapsed and died," the order said.

    Wright's order noted that under the law, Jackson had the burden of proving by the greater weight of evidence that he meets four criteria under Arkansas law to be considered intellectually disabled.

    While Moneypenny found that Jackson met the criteria, Macvaugh said he believed that Jackson "is squarely in the mid borderline of intelligence, and he has other issues."

    Jackson's ability to plan and prepare for the other prisoner's murder was one thing Wright cited in siding with Macvaugh.

    While both psychologists were qualified to assess Jackson's intellectual status, she said, "the Court believes that Dr. Macvaugh conducted a more comprehensive investigation and provided more reliable testimony."

    Trying to get married before I turn 27.

  7. #7
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On April 7, 2016, Jackson filed an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.


  8. #8
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Ark. widow hopeful executions will bring closure to victims' families

    By David Lippman
    KHTV News

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- State leaders are ready to send eight inmates to their deaths. Governor Asa Hutchinson set their execution dates Monday, which would be the first in Arkansas in 12 years.

    Elaine Colclasure is among those hopeful that the executions will finally take place.

    “Because I think that, sometimes, you have some people that are just too evil to live,” Colclasure said.

    The cold, lonely, uncertain life of a death row inmate is familiar to her. Her husband’s killer is on it. She said the process of waiting for an execution is torturous on the victims’ families.

    “The families are just in a holding pattern,” she stated. “You’re just, you can’t grieve, you can’t get on with your life, because you’re constantly waiting. First, you wait for the arrest, and then the trial. And then you think, well, they’ve gotten life in prison without parole, or they’re going to have the death penalty, but it’s never used.”

    The wait could end in the middle of April for some families, because that’s when Governor Hutchinson set execution dates of eight of the 34 men on Death Row. The executions are scheduled as follows:

    April 17: Don Davis and Bruce Ward

    April 20: Stacey Johnson and Ledelle Lee

    April 24: Jack Jones, Jr. and Marcel Williams

    April 27: Jason McGehee and Kenneth Williams

    The timing is noteworthy. Arkansas uses three drugs in its injection cocktail: potassium chloride, midazolam, and vecuronium bromide. According to Solomon Graves, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Correction, its supply of potassium chloride expired in January, and its midazolam will expire at the end of April, just a few days after the last of the eight executions. If the state cannot get more potassium chloride soon, it could be two drugs short, pushing those dates back even further.

    “This constantly dragging families, waiting, and waiting, and waiting, is cruel,” Colclasure said. “And they keep talking about cruel and unusual punishment; do you think that’s not for the families? That’s as cruel and much punishment to them as it is to anybody.”

    The US Supreme Court ended five years of legal questions last week that led to the eight new execution dates. While the man convicted of killing her husband, Alvin Jackson, is not among the eight, Colclasure hopes the questions about the death penalty in Arkansas are finally finished.

    “I mean, if you’re going to do it, go ahead and do it,” she said. “It’s not fair to (the victims’ families), it’s not justice, it’s just hard for everyone.”

    Jackson was originally sentenced to 60 years in prison for killing Charles Colclasure in 1990. He was sentenced to death in 1996 for killing Sgt. Scott Grimes inside the Tucker Unit. Elaine Colclasure said the appeals process has extended her agony.

    “We waited three years for one question on Alvin Jackson,” she explained. “Why does it take three years for a judge to come back and say yes or no?”

    Jackson’s stay on death row is not unusual. Of the eight men who dates Gov. Hutchinson set Monday, all have been on death row for at least 17 years, with Davis on it the longest, at 25 years.

    Colclasure said she supports the death penalty in part because of inmates like Jackson, who killed Sgt. Grimes even while incarcerated. She also worries about the possibility of reduced sentences for some of them.

    “You can’t guarantee that somebody that is as evil as some of these men are, that (they) are not going to be out again,” she explained.

    "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

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On January 11, 2018, oral argument will be heard in Jackson's appeal before the Eighth Circuit. The panel will be made up of Judges Smith (G.W. Bush), Melloy (G.W. Bush) and Shepherd (G.W. Bush).


  10. #10
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Appeals court orders new hearing for Death Row inmate

    By Max Brantley
    The Arkansas Times

    The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has again reversed a lower court and ordered another hearing on whether Alvin Jackson is sufficiently intellectually disabled to be disqualified for execution for the capital murder of prison guard Scott Grimes.

    The court said the district judge who ruled against Jackson didn't have the benefit of a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision on how to weigh the disability issue and it said Jackson should get a hearing on his challenge of a new diagnostic test. Competing experts testified, with the state's indicating Jackson's intellectual capacity hovered near the questionable mark.

    Said the court:

    We make no judgment as to whether or not Jackson is intellectually disabled, but find that the exacting review required in death penalty cases commands further consideration of this matter.

    The decision was written by Judge Bobby Shepherd of El Dorado.

    Jackson was sentenced to life in 1990 for the murder of Charles Colclasure then sentenced to death in 1996 for the killing of Grimes.


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