Monday, July 23, 2012

Lawsuits Following Warren Hill Execution

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Warren Hill's Execution Would Be Completely Unconstitutional
As Georgia prepares to execute Warren Hill on Tuesday, an offender with intellectual disabilities, it shows complete disregard for justice, state law and, the Supreme Court.
(659 words in this article) WESLEY SNIPES is currently incarcerated and serving a three-year sentence on allegations that he failed to file a tax return timely. If Snipes were made a cellmate for an untreated, mentally ill killer who beat Wesley to death while he slept, using a thick board of wood with nails driven through it, wouldn't Wesley's lawyers sue the state for GROSS NEGLIGENCE? If that sick killer was then EXECUTED, shouldn't the executed man's family sue for GROSS NEGLIGENCE and CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT? WHY wasn't the mentally challenged man sent to a mental hospital before or after his first murder instead of prison? Why wasn't his mental illness being treated behind bars? Why was security so slack at the prison that he had access to a weapon? Why was a mentally ill inmate who had already committed a murder given a cellmate? Those questions apply to the murder for which Warren Lee Hill faces execution on  July 23, 2012 February 19, 2013. 

Thousands of people express outrage about Hill's execution because it is illegal to execute the mentally ill according to state and federal law. Georgia executed another mentally ill man in 2010, Brandon Rhode. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such killings unconstitutional, but Texas also kills mentally ill people regularly. Executioners have no regard for pleas for justice and compassion, but money can sometimes change things. Death penalty cases cost taxpayers millions more than when prosecutors seek life sentences. Several states where capital punishment was repealed cited the cost as one deciding factor. Abolitionists plan candlelight vigils for Warren Lee Hill and other death row inmates to protest capital punishment, but more must be done. Lawsuits after executions would make DP cost much more than it already does and deter capital punishment. 

Hill's cellmate's death clearly resulted from the prison's negligence. Inmates should not be locked in cells with armed homicidal mental patients to be killed in their sleep, and the state should not ignore its own culpability in such murders and execute sick men. A similar incident occurred in Georgia a couple of years ago when a mentally ill inmate in DeKalb County Jail also killed his cellmate. A former jail guard at Memphis Shelby County Jail reported a shocking jail death to the radio audience of a Rev. Pinkney Blogtalk Show. Apparently, jail guards released two acute mental patients from isolation to watch them have a "dog fight" to the finish. Jailers have a duty to provide a secure environment for incarcerated persons, but the responsibility is not always taken seriously. 

Millions of Americans are concerned about prisoners' human rights and object to capital punishment, but officials do not care as much about citizens' protests as they should. It would be more effective to examine death penalty cases to identify a reason to sue the state following execution. For instance, Hank Skinner begged for a DNA test for years to prove he is innocent, but his requests were denied. Finally, Texas approved Skinner's DNA test, but the bloodstained jacket that Skinner counted on to exonerate him was suddenly reported "missing" from the state's evidence storage. If Skinner is executed, Texas should be sued for negligence regarding the lost jacket. 

Every execution, especially when victims are mentally ill, should be followed by a lawsuit if any valid fault against the state can be established. 

Consider that almost no mentally ill people who are receiving proper psychiatric care do violent crimes, but states usually withhold treatment until a mentally challenged person PROVES (often through violence) that he is a danger to self and others. That standard has led to numerous avoidable murders and suicides. In such cases, the affected families may be able to sue for damages. Please help the families of Warren Hill and his victim to hold the prison responsible for the inmate's death that should not have happened in a controlled environment. LAWSUITS FOLLOWING WARREN LEE HILL'S WRONGFUL EXECUTION MAY DETER FUTURE STATE KILLINGS OF THE MENTALLY ILL.

1 comment:

MaryLovesJustice Neal said...

An excerpt from this article was published at Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill at this link on July 23, 2012. Make DP cost more, and it could help end the savage practice.