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  1. #1
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    Len Davis - Federal Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Davis, a black New Orleans police officer who was under investigation in a drug conspiracy case, was sentenced to death on two convictions in April 1996 for ordering the murder of a young black woman who witnessed his beating of a witness in an unrelated incident. A co-defendant, Paul Hardy, also black, was the triggerman in the killing. Hardy was also sentenced to death on two convictions in May 1996. The Fifth Circuit reversed the sentences for both defendants and one of the two capital convictions for each defendant. The court ordered a new sentencing hearing for both defendants.

    For more on Paul Hardy, see: http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/...-Hardy-Federal

  2. #2
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    On direct appeal, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Len Davis' latest death sentence on June 30, 2010.

    http://www.capdefnet.org/fdprc/

    On March 21, 2011, Davis' certiorari petition was denied by the US Supreme Court.

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.a...es/10-7564.htm

  3. #3
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Judge to weigh letting ex-N.O. cop represent himself after death sentence in 1994 killing

    A federal judge has scheduled a hearing to determine whether Len Davis, a former New Orleans police officer sentenced to death for arranging a woman's murder, is competent to represent himself during his post-conviction proceedings.

    An order issued Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan calls for Davis to be evaluated by a forensic psychiatrist before the May 11 hearing.

    Last month, Davis informed the judge he doesn't want attorneys to be appointed to represent him.

    Davis and two others were convicted of federal charges stemming from the October 1994 shooting death of Kim Groves, who had filed a brutality complaint against Davis. Davis didn't know FBI agents had tapped his phone as part of an undercover drug investigation when he directed a drug dealer, Paul Hardy, to shoot Groves.

    (Source: The Associated Press)

  4. #4
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Justice playing out in New Orleans Police Department murder

    Hours after new mayor Marc Morial named Richard Pennington police chief in 1994, Kim Groves was gunned down on the street outside her home. Maybe Groves would have been alive today if Pennington had arrived earlier to begin the overhaul of the police department that was to make him a local hero.

    It was no secret that Len Davis, who ordered the hit on Groves, was as rotten a cop as you could find in New Orleans at the time, and that was saying something.

    Even in that wild and wooly era, Davis had managed to get himself suspended from the police department four times, and reprimanded twice. At least 20 complaints lodged against him were deep-sixed. He was known on the street as the department's leading head-breaker and a thief. Pennington would have had his number for sure.

    Davis now awaits execution in Terre Haute, Ind., for Groves' murder, but his triggerman Paul Hardy escaped his death sentence on grounds of retardation. At a hearing last week when Hardy was sentenced to life, Groves' son Corey said he would rather see Davis also "grow old in the miserable world of prison," although he is unlikely to get his way.

    Davis, who is acting as his own attorney, has said he would prefer death to life. If he fails to file another appeal by March, the executioner will be booked. That won't give Groves' daughter Jasmine any satisfaction either: She said at the hearing that she opposes the death penalty on religious grounds.

    The family's civil claims against the city must await the resolution of Davis' fate, but it seems obvious that a police department reduced to chaos during Sidney Barthelemy's mayoralty bears a heavy responsibility for Kim Groves' death.

    Davis and Hardy were arrested lickety split, but only because FBI agents, who happened to be conducting an unrelated investigation of police corruption, were listening while the hit was planned and carried out.

    The feds are hardly heroes of the piece either, for they failed to grasp what was going on in time. They started to put the pieces together only after they heard Hardy, Davis and his partner on the force, Sammie Williams, whooping in celebration over Kim Groves' murder.

    Transcripts of the surveillance tapes seem to make it obvious that a hit was in the offing, but the FBI explained at the time that it was impossible to pick up on the various clues because the conversations were "spread out over a 10-hour period and were intermingled with other discussions." They were, moreover, "cryptic."

    Fair enough. How can our storied G-men solve crimes if suspects won't stick to the subject and enunciate clearly?

    The feds were 10 months into an investigation of cops providing protection for drug dealers when Kim Groves went to NOPD's Internal Affairs Department to report that she had seen Davis and Williams beat the hell out of a teenaged boy. Complaints are supposed to be confidential, but, two and a half hours later, Davis and Williams were talking about Groves' as the feds listened.

    Bugging Davis was pretty straightforward, because he was using a cell phone given to him by feds posing as crack dealers looking to pay him off. Hardy, tagged by the FBI as a dealer, a multiple killer and terror of the Florida housing project, had been under surveillance since 1993.

    The day after Kim Groves filed her complaint, Davis was in frequent contact with Hardy and another hood called Damon Causey. The plan was for "P to handle that whore" and then for Davis and Williams to "handle the thirty," which every FBI agent should recognize as copspeak for a homicide.

    By 9:46 p.m. Davis was growing impatient: "Y'all ain't went and handled y'all business." He continued to keep tabs on Kim Groves and 15 minutes later described what she was wearing in a phone call to Hardy. "Get that whore!" he said. "I'm on my way," came the reply.

    But he was not, and talked with Davis on the phone again at 10.43, when he was told to call "after it's done."

    At 11:10 it was. It should never have been allowed to happen.

    http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.s...n_new_orl.html

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _


    Davis' habeas case can be followed here: http://dockets.justia.com/docket/lou...cv00752/149944

  5. #5
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Judge asked to toss ex-N.O. cop's death sentence

    Defense attorneys asked a federal judge Monday to overturn the death sentence or order a new trial for a former New Orleans police officer convicted of arranging a woman's killing in 1994.

    The court filing argues that Len Davis has a serious mental impairment that rendered him incompetent to stand trial on charges he directed a drug dealer to shoot and kill Kim Groves after she filed a brutality complaint against him.

    The defense lawyers also claim the Justice Department had a conflict of interest in prosecuting Davis.

    U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said he couldn't immediately comment on Monday's court filing.

    "We'll respond forcefully and swiftly," he said.

    U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan has allowed Davis to represent himself during his post-conviction proceedings. His standby counsel, Capital Appeals Project attorney Sarah Ottinger and federal public defender Rebecca Hudsmith, said Davis shouldn't have been allowed to represent himself and will be executed if they don't act on his behalf.

    A date for Davis' execution was expected to be set this month if he didn't challenge his death sentence.

    Davis has never been properly evaluated by a reliable mental health expert, the defense lawyers said, adding that he has symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder and may be suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia. His condition has grown worse while on death row, they said.

    "The fact that Mr. Davis's condition has continued to deteriorate underscores that his mental illness is pervasive and long-standing," the lawyers wrote. "Mr. Davis continues to seize upon minute, inconsequential details and becomes progressively preoccupied with them in an obsessive manner. Fixations involve the trial judge's bias and court-appointed counsel's conspiracy with the trial judge."

    FBI agents tapped Davis' phone as part of an undercover drug investigation and taped his order to Paul Hardy to shoot Groves, who filed a complaint against Davis after she saw his partner pistol-whip somebody in her neighborhood. The agency also recorded Davis' joyful reaction to news that Groves had been shot.

    The FBI and Justice Department prosecutors made "life-and-death decisions" during the undercover probe that, if made differently, could have prevented Groves' death, the defense attorneys said.

    "Federal prosecutors had an interest in shielding their agents' role or at best the perception of their role, or their supreme negligence in Kim Groves' death," they wrote. "They thus labored under a conflict in bringing federal capital charges against Mr. Davis and in the manner in which they mounted the case against him in both 1994 and 2005. He is entitled to a new trial with a conflict-free prosecuting authority."

    The 285-page court filing includes other arguments for granting a new trial or vacating his sentence, including allegations that jurors were biased and that Davis received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial.

    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case against Davis last year.

    In December, Berrigan sentenced Hardy to life in prison for killing Groves. Hardy, a drug dealer Davis protected in exchange for favors, originally was sentenced to death for the crime. Berrigan, however, ruled Hardy is mentally retarded and isn't eligible to be executed.

    Damon Causey, a third man convicted in Groves' killing, is serving a life sentence.

    http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/usa...xt|FRONTPAGE|s
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Ex-cop on death row discusses case with judge

    A former New Orleans police officer who was sentenced to death for arranging a woman's killing in 1994 is distancing himself from a defense attorney's claim he has a serious mental impairment that rendered him incompetent to stand trial.

    Len Davis is representing himself during his post-conviction proceedings. During a telephone call from prison Tuesday, Davis told U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan he didn't authorize his standby counsel to ask Berrigan last month to overturn his death sentence or order a new trial. Capital Appeals Project attorney Sarah Ottinger and federal public defender Rebecca Hudsmith have said Davis shouldn't have been allowed to represent himself and will be executed if they don't act on his behalf. A date for Davis' execution was expected to be set last month if he didn't challenge his death sentence.

    Davis has never been properly evaluated by a reliable mental health expert, the defense lawyers said, adding that he has symptoms consistent with bipolar disorder and may be suffering from schizophrenia and paranoia. His condition has grown worse while on death row, they said.

    A court filing says Davis told Berrigan he wants to adopt some of the defense attorneys' arguments but he wouldn't consent to anyone challenging his mental competency.

    Davis was convicted of directing a drug dealer, Paul Hardy, to kill Kim Groves after she filed a brutality complaint against him after she saw his partner pistol-whip somebody in her neighborhood. FBI agents tapped Davis' phone as part of an undercover drug investigation and taped his order to Hardy and recorded his joyful reaction to news that Groves had been shot.

    Hardy, who Davis protected in exchange for favors, originally was sentenced to death for the crime. Berrigan, however, ruled that Hardy is mentally retarded and isn't eligible to be executed.

    Damon Causey, a third man convicted in Groves' killing, is serving a life sentence.

    http://www.theadvertiser.com/usatoda...xt|FRONTPAGE|s
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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  7. #7
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    Opinion

    Murderous ex-cop has no fool for a client

    Killers may sometimes try to beat the rap by feigning insanity, but Dr. Ned Masbaum is one psychiatrist who won't have to worry about that when he visits Len Davis on federal death row in Terre Haute. Davis, who is acting as his own attorney, will no doubt declare himself in the best of mental health, if indeed, he co-operates at all. Unless this is a double-bluff to prove he is nuts, he is determined to thwart the court-appointed stand-by attorneys who have asked Judge Ginger Berrigan to toss the death sentence or order a new trial. Davis was convicted of a murder committed in 1994, when he was a New Orleans police officer.

    The latest petition was filed without his permission and the claim of mental incompetence, he told Berrigan on the phone, is "absurd." She nevertheless recruited Masbaum for a more objective opinion.

    When Davis was retried in 2005, after his original death sentence was vacated, his victim's daughter, Stephanie Groves, said she was disappointed he didn't get life and disappear from the headlines. The death penalty meant Davis would "appeal, appeal and appeal."

    She got that right. This is not the first challenge. Although Davis has often declared he would rather die than spend the rest of his life behind bars, an appeal, alleging prosecutorial misconduct at his retrial, was filed on his behalf. The court of appeals ruled in 2010 that the death sentence should stand.

    It is evidently not going to be carried out any time soon. Davis was first convicted in 1996, and only now is it alleged he was unfit for trial in the first place. This is an issue conventionally settled before proceedings begin.

    Davis is going to spend the rest of his days in prison regardless. The only question is whether he will expire from natural causes or succumb to the needle. Even if he hadn't been convicted of Kim Groves's murder, he'd still be doing life plus five on a separate conviction as ringleader of a gang of NOPD's finest who ran drugs on the side.

    It was because the feds had the drug ring under surveillance that Davis got caught for Groves' murder. Incensed because Groves had filed a brutality complaint against him with internal affairs, Davis, using a cell phone that an undercover fed had given him, ordered Paul Hardy to carry out the hit. Agents listening in did not latch on to what was going on until Groves was dead and Davis was celebrating. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rock, rock-a-bye," a laughing Davis says on the tape.

    As capital cases go, this was not a great challenge for federal prosecutors, and the jury had little trouble deciding that both Davis and Hardy should be executed. Davis was already demonstrating his recalcitrance and refused to appear in the courtroom when sentence was pronounced.

    There was a hitch, however, because Davis and Hardy had been convicted not only of the capital offense but of witness tampering. That conviction was a mistake, the appeals court ruled, because Groves, having made her brutality complaint to NOPD, did not qualify as a witness in a federal case. The other convictions stood, but another hearing had to be held on the sentence.

    Davis insisted on representing himself, with only occasional help from court-appointed standby attorneys, who were forbidden to beg for mercy, claim mitigation or trot out the standard excuses about childhood trauma or, indeed, mental disorder. Davis continued to insist he was innocent, which would have been irrelevant at a sentencing hearing even if it weren't manifestly untrue. One of his standby attorneys described his tactics as "suicide by jury."

    Once again he declined to appear in Berrigan's court to learn of his fate, but later told his attorneys he was cock-a-hoop. The death penalty gave him a better chance of prevailing on appeal, he theorized. In fact, until now, the verdict had not been appealed, only the sentence, and Davis sits in Terre Haute as the years roll by. Hardy's sentence was commuted to life when Berrigan found him retarded.

    Davis is not retarded, as he has demonstrated in representing himself. He has filed documents that quote Shakespeare as well as jurisprudence, and has scored points when cross-examining a former partner who testified against him.

    If that doesn't make him sane, he'll just have to fake it.

    http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.s...no_fool_f.html
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  8. #8
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Judge recuses herself from ex-N.O. cop's death penalty case

    NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has disqualified herself from the case against a former New Orleans police officer who was sentenced to death for arranging a woman's 1994 murder.

    In a one-page order Monday, U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan didn't specify a reason for recusing herself more than 20 years after she was assigned to oversee the case against Len Davis. Berrigan merely cited a law that requires judges to disqualify themselves if their impartiality "might reasonably be questioned."

    Davis was convicted of charges he directed a drug dealer to shoot and kill Kim Groves after she filed a brutality complaint against him. Berrigan sentenced him to death for a second time in 2005 but was still handling his post-conviction proceedings.

    The case was reassigned to U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle.

    http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/..._from_ex-.html

  9. #9
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Murderous ex-NOPD officer Len Davis wants federal judge back

    A former New Orleans police officer who's fighting a capital conviction wants a judge who stepped aside back on his case.

    Len Davis was sentenced to death for arranging the 1994 murder of a woman who had filed a brutality complaint against him.

    It would take too long for another judge to wade through more than 10,000 pages of records and become familiar with complex legal issues, he wrote in a request filed Monday.

    "The transcripts of the first trial proceedings just the transcripts without any pleadings, discovery, or exhibits consist of at least 4300 pages," wrote Davis, who is in federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    "Transcripts of the second trial proceedings consist of at least 6800 pages."

    The new judge also would need to become familiar with appeals of verdicts and of various other decisions, he wrote.

    He wants the U.S. District Court to reinstate Judge Helen Berrigan, who removed herself from the case Dec. 14, giving no specific reasons but citing a law requiring judges to step aside if their impartiality "might reasonably be questioned."

    The case was reassigned to Judge Ivan Lemelle.

    Davis said he did not ask for Berrigan's removal and, last year, an appeals court rejected a prosecutor's arguments for taking her off the case.

    Federal prosecutors contended that Berrigan's rulings over more than a decade about whether Davis should be allowed to represent himself could be seen as indicating bias.

    Davis was convicted in 1996 on two federal civil rights charges for directing a drug dealer, Paul Hardy, to shoot and kill Kim Groves in October 1994.

    Berrigan, who sentenced Davis to death for a second time in 2005 after the 5th Circuit reversed his initial sentence, was still handling both men's post-conviction proceedings.

    She recused herself from both cases, though she also had rejected the prosecutors' arguments earlier.

    That "is exceptional; counsel has not found a case presenting similar circumstances," Davis wrote.

    Berrigan had ruled in 2012 that Davis could represent himself, with two Louisiana attorneys as "standby counsel" on 19 claims related to guilt, but not on sentencing and competency claims which he has said since 2012 that he plans to drop.

    In 2012, without Davis' permission, those attorneys filed motions to vacate his convictions and sentence. Their court filing argued that Davis has a serious mental impairment that rendered him incompetent to stand trial.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon argued in a court filing last year that Berrigan erred by "usurping" Davis' right to control his legal strategy and allowing his standby lawyers to "raise issues that Davis has specifically rejected."

    Davis wrote that Berrigan's decision to step aside is "completely at odds" with her earlier findings of fact and law.

    "There is no evidence that the district court's legal rulings reflect deep-seated or unequivocal antagonism," which are needed to make a judge step aside, he wrote.

    And, he said, "The district court's disqualification from Mr. Davis' case will result in lengthy delays and a significant waste of judicial resources in his case. ...

    Reassignment to avoid an appearance of bias based on judicial decisions, which are in essence moot at this point in the litigation, simply makes no sense."

    http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/...ommented_crime

  10. #10
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Spinning their wheels on death row

    By James Gill
    The New Orleans Advocate

    Len Davis is on federal death row, while Antoinette Frank awaits execution at the state prison in St. Gabriel.

    The similarities are uncanny. Both were New Orleans police officers when they were arrested for unrelated, but equally vicious, murders. Each enlisted a mentally disabled accomplice. Each seems destined to be with us forever. Davis and his sidekick Paul Hardy were convicted in 1994, Frank and Rogers LaCaze a year later.

    The latest ruling in the case of LaCaze came only last week from the state Supreme Court. Meanwhile, on the federal front, we are waiting with bated breath for document No. 2466 in the Davis saga. No. 2465, filed Feb. 15, was the government's response to a request for an evidentiary hearing about something or other. Defense counsel has to keep the wheels turning in a capital case, but this is a case record to set the eyes spinning in any normal head.

    Trial judge Ginger Berrigan sentenced Hardy and Davis to death, but the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently ruled that executing the mentally disabled violates the Eighth Amendment as cruel and unusual punishment.

    After a woman called Kim Groves complained to NOPD's Internal Affairs that he had pistol-whipped a teenager on the street, Davis ordered Hardy to kill her. When Hardy shot Groves outside her home and called a jubilant Davis on his cell phone, FBI agents investigating a drug ring picked up their conversation.

    That, and other wiretaps adduced at trial, left no room for doubt about guilt, but Berrigan was obliged to resentence Hardy 17 years later because tests showed his IQ was not high enough to qualify for execution. Davis is clearly in no immediate danger either, as the documents pile up, but then a ripe old age is par for the course these days on death row, state or federal.

    State judge Frank Marullo sentenced Frank and LaCaze to death for the murders of Cuong Vy and Ha Vu, at their family's restaurant in New Orleans East, along with New Orleans police officer Ronald Williams, who was working a detail there. Police never did recover the gun used in the murder or the $10,000 that was missing.

    Frank and LaCaze were convicted largely on the strength of testimony from other members of the restaurant family who had hidden in a cooler. It emerged at Frank's trial, which came after LaCaze's, that Frank had obtained a 9 mm gun — the type used in the murder — from the NOPD evidence room per an order that bore Marullo's signature. Marullo at a meeting with counsel in his chambers during Frank's trial, claimed that was a forgery and said he had given a handwriting sample to an expert to prove it.

    When LaCaze challenged his appeal from death row, he cited Marullo's name on the release as evidence of bias. The case was transferred to an ad hoc judge and Marullo, called to testify, denied signing the release but could not remember anything about a handwriting sample.

    LaCaze's conviction and sentence were thrown out, but not on account of the gun. It was because one of the jurors at his trial failed to disclose that he had been a cop. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro then asked the appeal court to reinstate the conviction, but not the death sentence, which would almost certainly not have stood in the long run anyway. LaCaze's IQ is about the same as Hardy's. The appeal court duly ruled as Cannizzaro requested, and the state Supreme Court agreed that LaCaze had received a fair trial, whatever was the truth about the gun.

    It was, back in the day, standard practice for judges to make confiscated firearms available to law enforcement. Besides, the jury in Frank's case knew that Marullo's name was on order assigning her the gun, and it didn't do her any good.

    Then, last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a reconsideration of the LaCaze verdict to determine whether the gun order rendered the “probability of actual bias” too high to be “constitutionally tolerable.” The justices of the state Supreme Court responded with a profound and learned analysis last week that concluded they had been absolutely right the first time.

    So the LaCaze case seems to be finally closed. Davis and Frank just stay put.

    http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orlea...72194d8cb.html

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