Post by SoulTrainOz on Jul 12, 2006 4:01:30 GMT -5
A federal appeals court panel decided Monday it would not reconsider its decision dismissing 2 attorneys' efforts to keep convicted killer David Dawson alive.
Dawson, who has fought for 2 years to end all appeals and move toward having the sentence imposed on him in 1987 carried out, is scheduled to die Aug. 11.
He would be the 1st person executed in Montana since 1998.
Dawson was convicted of killing 3 members of a family he took captive at a Billings motel. Police rescued a 4th member of that family.
Last month, the 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that issued Monday's order ruled Kathryn Ross and Bill Hooks, whom Dawson has sought to fire, lacked standing to appeal on Dawson's behalf. The panel wrote then there was "not a shred of evidence" in state or federal courts to indicate Dawson is not competent to dismiss the attorneys.
The appeals court panel in June also dismissed the lawyers' request to delay Dawson's execution.
Hooks and Ross, in court papers seeking reconsideration of the judges' decision, continued to raise questions about Dawson's request to end his appeals and be executed. Among other things, they argued that years on death row, including the suicides of fellow inmates, partly influenced Dawson's decision.
Hooks and Ross said Dawson is "bent on his own death" and called the Montana State Prison, where Dawson is an inmate, a "substandard facility."
The court's denial of their requests would "leave it open to Montana and other states to maintain unjustifiably austere institutional conditions, such that otherwise competent prisoners simply abandon their desire to live," Hooks and Ross wrote.
Pam Collins, an assistant attorney general, dismissed the claims about the prison, writing in court documents that there is no support in the record for them.
Dawson, in a separate court filing, asked that the attorneys be censured.
Post by SoulTrainOz on Jul 12, 2006 4:03:32 GMT -5
A Helena attorney said Monday he intends file a lawsuit on behalf of civil libertarians, defense attorneys and others to prevent the state from carrying out executions until a judge decides whether the protocol used for lethal injections is constitutional.
Ron Waterman said death row inmate David Dawson was the catalyst for plans to file the lawsuit. Dawson, who was convicted in 1987 of killing 3 members of a family he took captive in a Billings motel, is scheduled to be put to death next month.
On Monday a federal appeals court panel again ruled that 2 attorneys who are trying to stop Dawson's execution lack standing to appeal on his behalf.
Dawson has fought for 2 years to end all his appeals and have his sentence carried out. But Waterman said the issue is bigger than Dawson.
"The issue still is, is the death penalty, as carried out in the state, constitutional?" Waterman said.
He said the lawsuit could be filed as early at Tuesday.
Dawson would be the 1st person put to death in Montana since 1998; the state uses lethal injections, according to a spokesman for the Montana Department of Corrections.
The U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for death row inmates to contest lethal injections used for executions, allowing such inmates to make federal court claims that chemicals used in such executions are too painful and essentially amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Waterman said he doesn't believe any citizen would want the death penalty carried out unless they knew it was constitutional.
Representatives of both the state attorney general's office and Department of Corrections declined comment before any suit was filed. A telephone message left for an official with the ACLU in Helena was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.
Post by SoulTrainOz on Jul 12, 2006 21:47:35 GMT -5
David Dawson is not talking.
With Dawson's execution scheduled to take place in one month, the convicted triple-murderer has declined several requests for interviews.
Dawson may be considering a request for a meeting made by a Catholic priest, but he has yet to respond, said Linda Moodry, a spokeswoman at the Montana State Prison.
Dawson, 48, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Aug. 11 for the slayings of David and Monica Rodstein and their 11-year-old son, Andrew, at a Billings motel in 1986.
The couple's 15-year-old daughter, Amy, was rescued by police after she was held by Dawson for 2 days.
Several media organizations, including The Billings Gazette and the Associated Press, have requested interviews with Dawson in recent weeks. Moodry said Dawson has rejected all of the media requests.
The Rev. Jerry Lowney, a Catholic priest and criminology professor at Carroll College in Helena, also has requested to meet with Dawson. Lowney is a leading opponent of the death penalty in Montana who met with Duncan McKenzie before his execution in 1995. McKenzie was the first inmate to be put to death in Montana in 52 years.
The last state execution took place in 1998, when Terry Langford died by lethal injection.
Dawson has been at the Montana State Prison at Deer Lodge since shortly after a Yellowstone County jury convicted him and a judge sentenced him to death in 1987. Since June of last year, Dawson has received 13 visitors at the maximum-security housing unit at the state prison in Deer Lodge, Moodry said. Those visits do not include meetings with his attorneys. The names of the visitors are confidential, she said.
Dawson can request to use a telephone during the 1-hour-per-day period he is allowed out of his cell, but no comprehensive records are kept of his phone use, Moodry said. Dawson also can send and receive mail. 2 years ago, Dawson began legal steps to fire his court-appointed attorneys and end his appeals in both state and federal court so that his death sentence can be imposed. During a hearing last December, Dawson told Yellowstone County District Court Judge Gregory Todd that he had grown weary of life on death row.
Amy Rodstein, the surviving victim, reportedly is married with children and living in California. Attempts to contact her and her family have been unsuccessful. It is unclear if she or anyone in her family plans to attend Dawson's execution.