Communità di Sant'Egidio
Johnny è salvo, la sua condanna a morte definitivamente trasformata in ergastolo
Dopo 28 anni di battaglie legali e grazie al costante sostegno di molti amici nel mondo e di tutti coloro che hanno partecipato alla campagna promossa dalla Comunità di Sant’Egidio per salvare la sua vita, da venerdì 15 gennaio Johnny Paul Penry ufficialmente non è più un condannato a morte.
Il 15 gennaio scorso la Corte Distrettuale di Polk, dopo una lunga trattativa con il pool degli avvocati della difesa, tra cui John Wright, che segue il caso da molti anni, ha deciso di non sottoporre Johnny Paul Penry all'ennesimo processo (sarebbe stato il quarto), evitando in tal modo anche un'eventuale nuova condanna a morte ed un possibile ulteriore intervento della Corte Suprema.
I giudici hanno invece optato definitivamente per la condanna a vita, senza possibilità di uscita.
La Corte in effetti non ha potuto non tener conto dei due interventi con cui la Corte Suprema degli S.U. ha bloccato l’esecuzione di Johnny ed anche della decisione della stessa Corte Suprema che nel 2002 abolì la pena capitale per i ritardati mentali.
Pertanto Johnny tra qualche giorno lascerà definitivamente il braccio della morte, per essere trasferito in un altro carcere.
Johnny era stato condannato a morte nel 1980 con l’accusa di omicidio e rinchiuso nel braccio della morte del Texas.
Nel 1989 la Corte Suprema degli S.U., tenendo conto del suo ritardo mentale, certificato dalla perizia di numerosi studiosi, annullò la condanna a morte.
Nel 1990 venne sottoposto ad un nuovo processo e nuovamente condannato a morte.
Nel 2000 a poche ore dall’esecuzione Penry ottenne un rinvio.
Nel 2001 la condanna a morte venne nuovamente annullata dalla Corte Suprema.
Nel 2002 la Corte Suprema abolì la pena capitale per i ritardati mentali, ma ciononostante Johnny venne nuovamente condannato a morte.
Nel 2005 la Corte d’Appello Criminale del Texas annullò la condanna a morte, giudicando inadeguate le istruzioni che la Corte all’epoca del primo processo aveva fornito alla giuria, trattandosi di un imputato con un ritardo mentale.
Nel 2008 la decisione della Direzione del Distretto Criminale della Contea di Polk ha confermato il definitivo annullamento della condanna a morte.
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
TCADP pleased that life of Johnny Paul Penry has been spared
The Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) is pleased that the death penalty has finally been taken off the books for Johnny Paul Penry who has been on Texas death row for over 25 years for the murder of Pamela Moseley Carpenter. Our hearts also go out to the Carpenter family who have suffered through a horrible ordeal dating back to 1979.
Although three consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole is a very harsh sentence for Penry, his life has been spared and the Carpenter Family can finally move on with their lives. All this could have happened years ago if the State of Texas had sought a life sentence for Penry rather than the death penalty. By doing so, the state would also have saved millions of dollars in legal fees.
In coming up with this plea agreement, the Polk County District Attorney insisted that Penry publicly admit that he was not mentally-retarded. Penry agreed to do this in order to save his life; however, it is clear from IQ tests administered over many years that he is mentally retarded.
The U.S. Supreme Court made a decision in 2002 that people who are mentally retarded can no longer receive the sentence of death. However, Texas has never passed a statute to define mental retardation. Since Penry’s IQ tests have consistently been below 70, the level commonly used to define mental retardation, he is ineligible for the death penalty and should have been taken off death row several years ago.
(source: Dave Atwood, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, February 18, 2008)
Death penalty Information Center
Historic Death Penalty Case from Texas Finally Ends with Life Sentence
A mentally retarded man in Texas accepted a life sentence for a murder that occurred over 28 years ago. Johnny Paul Penry was originally sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of Pamela Mosley Carpenter, a relative of a professional football star. Penry's death sentence was overturned twice by the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to the plea agreement on February 15, 2008, the prosecution was insisting on a fourth capital sentencing hearing for Penry.
A mentally retarded man in Texas accepted a life sentence for a murder that occurred over 28 years ago.
Johnny Paul Penry was originally sentenced to death for the sexual assault and murder of Pamela Mosley Carpenter, a relative of a professional football star. Penry's death sentence was overturned twice by the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to the plea agreement on February 15, 2008, the prosecution was insisting on a fourth capital sentencing hearing for Penry.
In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that although the execution of the mentally retarded was not constitutionally banned, the law in Texas did not give mentally retarded defendants sufficient protection to ensure that their disability was considered as a mitigating factor (Penry v. Lynaugh). Penry was again sentenced to death and again the sentence was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001 (Penry v. Johnson). In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia held that the execution of defendants with mental retardation was unconstitutional. Nevertheless, Texas continued to seek a death sentence for Penry, whose IQ has been measured between 50 and 63, well into the mental retardation range. In 2005, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Penry's latest death sentence.
By MIKE TOLSON
Johnny Paul Penry has been a staple of death penalty conversation for more than two decades.
1980: Penry is convicted of capital murder in the death of 22-year-old Pamela Moseley Carpenter and sentenced to die.
1989: The U.S. Supreme Court overturns his death sentence. He is retried in 1990, before the law changes, and is again sentenced to die.
2000: Hours from execution, Penry gets a reprieve from the Supreme Court.
2001: Having again been sentenced to die, Penry sees his sentence again overturned by the Supreme Court.
2002: The Supreme Court bans execution of the mentally retarded during the middle of Penry's third trial. Jury sentences him to die.
2005: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals finds the court instructions to the jury inadequate and overturns Penry's death sentence.
2008: Penry's case Finally Ends with Life Sentence.