Home Terry McAuliffe Gov. Terry McAuliffe Refuses to Commute Execution of Mentally Ill Man –...

Gov. Terry McAuliffe Refuses to Commute Execution of Mentally Ill Man – Appalling

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And with this, Terry McAuliffe both does the wrong thing morally AND takes himself out of any consideration for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Appalling and unforgivable. Ricky Ray Rector part 2?

Governor McAuliffe Statement on the Execution of William Morva 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today on the planned execution of William Morva: 

“Over the past several weeks, my staff and I have carefully considered the petition for clemency submitted by William Morva, who was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff Corporal Eric Sutphin and hospital security guard Derrick McFarland. We have also reviewed extensive communications from family members of the victims, law enforcement officials, community leaders, and concerned observers from all over the world.

“Consistent with the three previous petitions for commutation of a capital sentence that I have reviewed, I have evaluated Mr. Morva’s submission for evidence that he has been subjected to a miscarriage of justice at any phase of his trial that could have impacted the verdict or his sentence. After extensive review and deliberation, I do not find sufficient cause in Mr. Morva’s petition or case records to justify overturning the will of the jury that convicted and sentenced him.

“There is no question that, in a carefully orchestrated effort to escape custody while awaiting trial for burglary, robbery and firearms charges, Mr. Morva brutally attacked a deputy sheriff, stole his firearm and used it to murder Mr. McFarland, who was unarmed and had his hands raised as he was shot in the face from a distance of two feet. The next day, Mr. Morva murdered Corporal Sutphin by shooting him in the back of the head.

“Mr. Morva’s petition for clemency states that he suffers from a delusional disorder that rendered him unable to understand the consequences of his actions.

“That diagnosis is inconsistent with the findings of the three licensed mental health professionals appointed by the trial court, including an expert psychiatrist who is Board-Certified in both Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry.  Two of these three experts were called by Mr. Morva’s own legal team. These experts thoroughly evaluated Mr. Morva and testified to the jury that, while he may have personality disorders, he did not suffer from any condition that would have prevented him from committing these acts consciously and fully understanding their consequences.

“As my team and I gave Mr. Morva’s mental state the consideration it deserves, we also consulted with the Virginia Department of Corrections, whose mental health staff have monitored him weekly and assessed him quarterly for the past nine years and have never reported any evidence of delusional disorder or severe mental illness.

“Additionally, we evaluated the rulings of the numerous state and federal courts that have reviewed this case and have all upheld the jury’s verdict and sentence, including the Supreme Court of Virginia, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Mr. Morva’s petition relies on the diagnosis of a psychiatrist who evaluated him nearly seven years after his trial and conviction. My team and I evaluated that report closely alongside the findings of the experts who testified at trial in order to determine if the totality of their findings might have led the jury or appellate courts to hand down a different sentence.

“At the conclusion of that review, I have determined that Mr. Morva was given a fair trial and that the jury heard substantial evidence about his mental health as they prepared to sentence him in accordance with the law of our Commonwealth. In short, the record before me does not contain sufficient evidence to warrant the extraordinary step of overturning the decision of a lawfully empaneled jury following a properly conducted trial.

“I personally oppose the death penalty; however, I took an oath to uphold the laws of this Commonwealth regardless of my personal views of those laws, as long as they are being fairly and justly applied. Thus, after extensive review and deliberation consistent with the process I have applied to previous requests for commutation, I have declined Mr. Morva’s petition. I have and will continue to pray for the families of the victims of these terrible crimes and for all of the people whose lives have been impacted.”

  • Some polling #s on executing mentally ill people

    Gallup: “A recent Gallup poll finds that Americans are less supportive of the death penalty for certain groups. For example, the vast majority of Americans, 82%, say they oppose the use of the death penalty for the mentally retarded, while just 13% support it. Similarly low levels of support are evident as far as applying the death penalty to the mentally ill (19% favor and 75% oppose). This was an issue in the recent case of Andrea Yates, who was sentenced to life in prison rather than death upon being found guilty in the deaths of her five children.”

    POLL: Americans Oppose Death Penalty for Mentally Ill by 2-1

    https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/images/141201mentalillnesspoll.png

  • Democratic House of Delegates candidate Lee Carter says it very well:

    Tonight at 9:00 p.m., the Commonwealth of Virginia is scheduled to execute William Morva for two murders committed in 2006. While his crimes are indeed of the most serious kind imaginable, Mr. Morva is known to suffer from delusional disorder, a mental illness that distorts his perception of reality and likely contributed to his decision to commit his crimes.

    This is a man whose mental disorder caused him to eat large quantities of raw meat and pine cones, and to insist that law enforcement authorities intended to kill him even before the commission of his crimes. Despite this, the Commonwealth of Virginia has determined that he was sufficiently aware of reality to be held responsible for his actions.

    As such, he will be executed with an undisclosed, experimental cocktail of drugs authorized by Governor McAuliffe’s amendment to last year’s HB-815. Other states with similar lethal injection procedures have seen those executions turn into cruel, brutal scenes with the condemned inmates gasping for air, screaming that their bodies were burning, or dying from heart attacks while still fully conscious.

    The Commonwealth of Virginia has a solemn responsibility to protect the safety of the general public, and an equally solemn responsibility to do so in a manner that is humane to everyone involved. Given that Mr. Morva can safely be held in prison and receive psychiatric treatment for the rest of his life to meet the Commonwealth’s public safety responsibility, it is unconscionable that we would take his life when any reasonable person would have cause to doubt his ability to understand his own actions. It is more barbaric still that we would do so in a way that runs the risk of torturing him to death. That is why I am calling for Governor McAuliffe to reverse his decision regarding Mr. Morva’s execution, and use his legal authority as Governor of Virginia to commute his sentence to life in prison.

  • Former Dem Lt. Governor candidate Gene Rossi:

    Dear Timid Democrats: If you sat on your hands, put your very wet finger to the strong political wind, and allowed Will Morva to be executed tonight–yet you have and will continue to crow and bloviate about your passion for more mental health treatment as part of omnibus criminal justice reform, you are both a hypocrite and a damn coward.

  • From House Democratic Leader Del. David Toscano:

    Tonight is the scheduled execution of William Morva. It is a sad and somber time for the families involved and for all Virginians, whether you support or oppose the death penalty.

    Capital cases are extremely challenging. There is usually a heinous act, and there are also frequently a number of facts that suggest mercy.

    I have personally opposed capital punishment on moral and religious grounds for decades. I also question its value as a deterrent, and believe it is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. I have opposed every state effort to expand the use of capital punishment since I was first elected to the General Assembly in 2005, including the 2016 Session fight to defeat a measure that hides the identity of providers of the drugs used in carrying out executions.

    On June 23, 2017, I wrote to the Governor opposing the execution of Mr. Morva, asking that he instead commute Morva’s sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The Governor released his decision this afternoon. If you wish to see his statement, it is available here:
    http://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle…

    My prayers and sympathies are with the families of both of the victims, and with Mr. Morva’s family

  • Gene Rossi:

    From 1983-89, I worked for a great Governor. The issue of commutation is surely not easy. But, I feel very sorry for Governor McAuliffe because he seems to have succumbed to pressure–wherever that may have come from. Today, he signed his own political 2020 Death Warrant. His “Rickey Ray Rector” Moment–which helped his beloved mentor in January 1992 in Arkansas–has embarrassed the State, the VA Democratic Party, and himself. In 2020, the primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will never support a Virginia Governor who allowed the execution of a very sick man.‬ At 9:01 this evening, there will be two executions–one actual (tragically) and the other figurative.

  • revrnjim

    This double murderer should have been executed doubly fast. He’s been allowed to live too long because of democrats, c o w a r d l y scum-o-crats.

  • American Bar Association 2006 Mental Illness Resolution

    Resolution Text:

    RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association, without taking a position supporting or opposing the death penalty, urges each jurisdiction that imposes capital punishment to implement the following policies and procedures:

    1. Defendants should not be executed or sentenced to death if, at the time of the offense, they had significant limitations in both their intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior, as expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills, resulting from mental retardation, dementia, or a traumatic brain injury.

    2. Defendants should not be executed or sentenced to death if, at the time of the offense, they had a severe mental disorder or disability that significantly impaired their capacity (a) to appreciate the nature, consequences or wrongfulness of their conduct, (b) to exercise rational judgment in relation to conduct, or (c) to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law. A disorder manifested primarily by repeated criminal conduct or attributable solely to the acute effects of voluntary use of alcohol or other drugs does not, standing alone, constitute a mental disorder or disability for purposes of this provision.

    3. Mental Disorder or Disability after Sentencing

    (a) Grounds for Precluding Execution. A sentence of death should not be carried out if the prisoner has a mental disorder or disability that significantly impairs his or her capacity (i) to make a rational decision to forgo or terminate post-conviction proceedings available to challenge the validity of the conviction or sentence; (ii) to understand or communicate pertinent information, or otherwise assist counsel, in relation to specific claims bearing on the validity of the conviction or sentence that cannot be fairly resolved without the prisoner’s participation; or (iii) to understand the nature and purpose of the punishment, or to appreciate the reason for its imposition in the prisoner’s own case. Procedures to be followed in each of these categories of cases are specified in (b) through (d) below.

    (b) Procedure in Cases Involving Prisoners Seeking to Forgo or Terminate Post-Conviction Proceedings. If a court finds that a prisoner under sentence of death who wishes to forgo or terminate post-conviction proceedings has a mental disorder or disability that significantly impairs his or her capacity to make a rational decision, the court should permit a next friend acting on the prisoner’s behalf to initiate or pursue available remedies to set aside the conviction or death sentence.

    (c) Procedure in Cases Involving Prisoners Unable to Assist Counsel in Post-Conviction Proceedings. If a court finds at any time that a prisoner under sentence of death has a mental disorder or disability that significantly impairs his or her capacity to understand or communicate pertinent information, or otherwise to assist counsel, in connection with post-conviction proceedings, and that the prisoner’s participation is necessary for a fair resolution of specific claims bearing on the validity of the conviction or death sentence, the court should suspend the proceedings. If the court finds that there is no significant likelihood of restoring the prisoner’s capacity to participate in post-conviction proceedings in the foreseeable future, it should reduce the prisoner’s sentence to the sentence imposed in capital cases when execution is not an option.

    (d) Procedure in Cases Involving Prisoners Unable to Understand the Punishment or its Purpose. If, after challenges to the validity of the conviction and death sentence have been exhausted and execution has been scheduled, a court finds that a prisoner has a mental disorder or disability that significantly impairs his or her capacity to understand the nature and purpose of the punishment, or to appreciate the reason for its imposition in the prisoner’s own case, the sentence of death should be reduced to the sentence imposed in capital cases when execution is not an option.