Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

February 19, 2013

Judge won’t reconsider case of Ga. death row inmate

ATLANTA — A state court judge on Monday declined to reconsider the case of a Georgia death row inmate set for execution this week.

Judge Thomas Wilson on Monday declined to consider a request for habeas relief for Warren Lee Hill, who’s to be executed Tuesday. Hill’s lawyer Brian Kammer on Friday had asked the judge to reconsider the case in light of new evidence.

Kammer has long argued that Hill is mentally disabled and therefore should not be put to death because the execution of mentally disabled offenders is prohibited by state law and a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision.  

The state has consistently argued that Hill’s defense has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is mentally disabled. Hill’s lawyers have said that burden of proof is virtually impossible to meet. But Georgia’s strictest-in-the-nation standard for proving mental disability has repeatedly been upheld by state and federal courts.  

Hill was sentenced to death in Lee County for the 1990 beating death of fellow inmate Joseph Handspike. At the time Hill was already serving a life sentence for murder in the 1986 slaying of his girlfriend.  

In his filings Friday, Kammer included sworn statements from the three doctors who examined Hill in 2000 and testified before the court that he was not mentally disabled. The doctors write in their new statements that they were rushed in their evaluation at the time and that they have acquired additional experience and there have been scientific developments in the intervening 12 years. All three reviewed facts and documents in the case and write that they now believe that Hill is mentally disabled.

The state argues that the claims in Hill’s motion for habeas relief should be procedurally barred because Georgia law requires that any claims not made in the initial habeas petition should be barred from review, and this is Hill’s third such request.  

The state’s lawyers also argue that the “new evidence” — the doctors’ statements — is not credible. These doctors met with Hill and reviewed extensive documentation in the case in 2000, and they haven’t seen him since and didn’t have significant new information in front of them during their recent review, the state argues. Therefore, it is not credible that they are able to refute the testimony they were so adamant about in 2000, the state argues.

The judge agreed with the state, writing in his order dismissing Kammer’s request that the new petition for habeas relief is procedurally barred and that the “new evidence” presented does not establish a miscarriage of justice.

Kammer has also asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles for a new hearing and has filed a motion to stay the execution with the U.S. Supreme Court. He and other defense lawyers for Hill and two other death row inmates are also seeking a court order that would prevent the state from using the drug pentobarbital to execute them without a doctor’s prescription.

 

1
Text Only
Top News
  • APTOPIX Mideast Israe_Rich copy.jpg Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

    Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday.
    The failure to reach even a brief humanitarian lull in the fighting illustrated the difficulties in securing a more permanent truce as the sides remain far apart on their terms.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ga. woman sentenced in child abuse case

    The mother of a 1-year-old boy who was hospitalized with a fractured skull in 2012 has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

    July 29, 2014

  • AP81072904918 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • United Way presents fundraising prom

    Save the date — and make sure to find one — for The Prom, a retro-celebration to benefit the Greater Valdosta United Way.

    July 29, 2014

  • Times hosts blood drive

    The Valdosta Daily Times will participate in a blood drive, 12:30-5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, with the American Red Cross Bloodmobile visiting The Times’ 201 N. Troup St. parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Free health fair planned for Quitman on Aug. 9

    A free health fair hosted by the 100 Black Men of Brooks-Grady-and-Thomas Counties, Inc. and sponsored by Archbold Hospital will take place Aug. 9  from 8 a.m.-noon. The second annual 100 B-G-T Health Fair will be located at the Courtland Avenue Church of Christ in Quitman. All Valdosta-Lowndes County residents are welcome to attend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Lake Park considers millage rate increase

    Lake Park has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will result in a 29.64 percent increase in property taxes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Free Health Fair slated for August 9th

    A free health fair hosted by the 100 Black Men of Brooks-Grady-and-Thomas Counties, Inc. and sponsored by Archbold Hospital will take place on August 9th  from 8:00am until 12 noon.

    July 28, 2014

  • BtpsXVpIgAEXKB-.jpg Manhunt underway for drivers of stolen dump truck

    This morning, around 8:00 deputies from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a dump truck traveling south on I-75.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingston’s loss means less clout for Ga.

    For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

    July 28, 2014

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results