Report: Inmate on death row in South Carolina chooses firing squad as form of execution, still says it’s unconstitutional

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COLUMBIA, SC- According to reports, an inmate housed in a South Carolina prison, who is on death row, has chosen to be executed by a firing squad rather than in the electric chair.

Richard Bernard Moore, 57, is the first man set to be executed in the state in more than a decade and he is the first inmate in the state allowed to choose his execution method.

In 2021, a law went into effect in the state of South Carolina making the electric chair the default method and giving inmates the option to face the firing squad instead. The firing squad is comprised of three correctional officers with rifles.

According to the Associated Press, the change in the law was prompted by a decade-long pause in executions in the state because of the shortage of drugs needed to perform lethal injections. Moore is scheduled for execution on April 29th.

He has been on death row for more than 20 years after being convicted of the 1999 murder of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg.

Prosecutors said that Moore was looking for money to buy cocaine when he got into an argument with the store clerk. Mahoney pulled out a gun, but Moore wrestled it away from him. Reportedly, Mahoney pulled out a second gun and a gun fight ensued.

Mahoney allegedly shot Moore in the arm and Moore allegedly shot Mahoney in the chest. Moore tried to claim self-defense and those in support of getting Moore off death row claim that his crime does not rise to the level of a death-penalty offense.

Police said that Moore left a bloody trail through the store as he searched for cash after he shot the store clerk. Investigators also determined that Moore had even stepped over the dying victim twice as he committed the robbery.

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South Carolina is one of eight states to still use the electric chair and only one of four to allow a firing squad.

In a written statement, Moore said that he did not concede that either method was legal or constitutional, but he more strongly opposed death by electrocution and only chose the firing squad because he was required to make a choice. He said:

“I believe this election is forcing me to choose between two unconstitutional methods of execution and I do not intend to waive any challenges to electrocution or firing squad by making an election.”

Moore’s attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to delay his death while another court determines if either available method is considered cruel and unusual punishment, which falls under the 8th Amendment.

His attorneys argue that prison officials are not trying hard enough to get the lethal injection drugs and are instead forcing inmates to choose between two more barbaric methods.

Moore is currently one of 35 men on South Carolina’s death row. Moore was supposed to be executed in 2020, but it was delayed after prison officials said they couldn’t obtain the lethal injection drugs.

Reportedly, in an affidavit, Corrections Department Director Bryan Stirling reiterated that the agency still could not obtain the drugs for lethal injection because manufacturers and compounding pharmacies contacted by the state refused to help cover the costs.

The last person executed in South Carolina was Jeffrey Motts, who was on death row for strangling a cellmate while already serving a life sentence for another murder.

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Report: Democrat Governor Phil Murphy continues to release hundreds of inmates even as crime surges

March 14th, 2022

TRENTON, NJ, – Over the last two years, Governor Phil Murphy has released thousands of state prison inmates through an early release program that was prompted due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, after the Governor lifted his COVID-19 health emergency in the first week of March, two New Jersey Assemblywomen are pleading that he stop the practice of releasing inmates early immediately.

Since releasing the inmates, there have been at least five reported murders by two inmates, including two double homicides by released inmates under Murphy’s early release program.

Murphy’s current plan called for the release of another 852 inmates on Sunday, March 13th. Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner are calling on the governor to halt this release. Piperno (R-Monmouth) said in a statement:

“The health emergency is over so it doesn’t make sense to continue releasing prisoners early. This entire program was supposed to limit the spread of COVID, but it failed and crime has skyrocketed the past two years.”

On Thursday, March 10th, the Department of Corrections announced that with the release of another 852 inmates, the total number of inmates released will be more than 6,000.

Both Assemblywomen claim that violent crime surged in 2021, with murders increasing by 23 percent and that this was happening mostly in New Jersey’s cities where many former inmates live. Eulner (R-Monmouth) said in a statement:

“The fact that some prisoners committed violent crimes or slipped back into whatever got them into prison in the first place is exactly what is wrong with early release. Not everyone is fit to rejoin society. Nobody is safer because of this program and it undermines the legal system.”

Piperno added:

“The policy is a failure in ever aspect other than reducing the prison population.”

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Sen. Ed Durr also feels that Murphy’s continued use of the early release program is endangering society. Durr said that it is crazy that Murphy calls him “dangerous” while Murphy’s administration keeps releasing inmates amid surging crime in New Jersey.

Durr said in a statement:

“Governor Murphy clearly doesn’t see the irony of calling me ‘dangerous’ when he let criminals out of jail who killed people shortly after he set them free. Those tragedies weren’t enough to convince the governor that his early release program was dangerous for New Jersey.”

He added:

“He doubled down by setting hundreds more inmates free yesterday. It’s absolutely crazy.”

On February 10th, Murphy released 260 inmates from state prisons under the COVID-19 early release program.

Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-25) noted that one of the inmates Murphy released early was charged with killing two people at a birthday party, while another was charged with killing someone within a half-mile of his prison just two days after being set free.

The release of those inmates also reportedly followed Murphy’s executive order to fire correction officers who refused to get vaccinated and efforts by the Murphy administration to restrict the gun rights of law-abiding citizens who are concerned about public safety as thousands of inmates have been released into New Jersey communities.

Durr said in a statement:

“Governor Murphy is attacking the rights of corrections officers and law-abiding New Jerseyans while flooding our streets with convicts. It’s Governor Murphy who is dangerous for New Jersey. Our safe streets, Governor Murphy must give it back.”

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Report: Democrat governor of NJ releases nearly 40% of inmates and threatens to fire 60% of its prison staff

February 28th, 2022

TRENTON, NJ- According to reports, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy and his administration has released nearly 40 percent if its inmates and is now threatening to cut 60 percent of its correctional staff over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

After releasing over 2,000 convicted offenders under his emergency pandemic release program, the governor plans to make even more cuts to the state’s prison system.

As if that isn’t enough, on Wednesday, Murphy stated that he is going to make good on his promise to terminate prison staff who refuse to get vaccinated.

In response, Senator Joe Pennacchio is challenging Murphy and his administration’s policy of terminating unvaccinated prison staff. He said in a statement:

“It is obvious the Governor is applying social science to his COVID policies as it relates to prisons, prisoners, and correction officers, as opposed to medical science. Decisions reflect political agents, not public health.”

Reportedly, almost 60 percent of probation officers have not complied with the Governor’s mandates to be vaccinated.

The administration has threatened unvaccinated officers with termination and the deadline for receiving the first shot has passed.

Pennacchio questioned the policy on a number of levels, saying:

“If the intent of the policy is to prevent the spread of the virus, the administration should accept natural immunity.

The antibodies present in people who have recovered from COVID are at least as effective – if not more – at controlling viral transmission. Forcing vaccination on correction officers and firing those who resist is unnecessary and overkill.”

He continued:

“The vaccine passport requirements at the State House have been eased. The same courtesy should be extended to our dedicated correction officers.

The Governor’s regular COVID press briefings have been discounted, the Legislators refused to codify Murphy’s emergency powers, and parents are demanding their children be able to have in-person, unmasked learning.”

He finished by saying:

“It seems the nation is recognizing that arbitrary and unscientific rules must end. When will the administration catch on?”

On Thursday, February 24th, New Jersey corrections spokeswoman Liz Velez stated that just 43 percent of prison staff members have been vaccinated.

According to state budget documents, the department has a staff, including uniformed officers and civilians, of more than 7,500. Based off what Velez said, that would mean more than 4,000 employees are not fully vaccinated.

When asked how many corrections employees are not fully vaccinated, Velez said:

“Our HR team is still aggregating the data.”

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Back on January 19th, Murphy issued an executive order requiring workers in health care and congregate living settings, including prisons, to be vaccinated.

For prison staff, the deadline to have received at least a first dose or request a medical or religious exemption, was February 16th. They need to have received a second dose or booster by March 30th.

The executive order also required employers to draft a disciplinary process for noncompliance with the order that could include termination, which the correction department has done. Velez said in a statement:

“Barring an approved exemption, staff who are not timely vaccinated will be given notice of noncompliance with three days from the date of the notice to comply.

Staff who have still not complied will be issued removal (termination) charges and then suspended without pay after a Loudermill hearing, pending termination proceedings.”

Prior to Murphy’s January 19th order, the state was allowing its workers to be tested weekly or twice a week for COVID-19 in place of proof of vaccination.

Reportedly, the state had spent nearly $9.5 million to test state workers from October 18, 2021 through early February.

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Lawsuit: Democrat Oregon governor unlawfully commuting prison sentences, freeing nearly 1,000 inmates

January 22nd, 2022

PORTLAND, OR – Two Oregon district attorneys and the relatives of three homicide victims have filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Kate Brown (D) of unlawfully freeing nearly 1,000 prisoners by granting clemency.

Gov. Brown stands accused of ignoring victim rights while granting clemency to inmates, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow and others argued in a legal petition filed Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit primarily seeks to stop the early release of more than 70 people who committed crimes as juveniles, including murder, and are now eligible for parole under an executive order, and to force the Governor to follow clemency rules.

The lawsuit argues:

“Convicted criminals must initiate the process to seek forgiveness and state their case by demonstrating remorse, rehabilitation, and a desire and capability to reasonably re-enter society.”

Throughout the pandemic, the Department of Corrections provided Brown with lists of inmates who had less than six months on their sentence and met other conditions for early release.

The lists, according to the governor’s office, were designed to identify medically vulnerable inmates and move them out of congregate facilities where COVID-19 has frequently spread.

Perlow, along with Linn County DA Douglas Marteeny and four surviving victims, are asking the court to compel Brown, the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the state’s parole board to “comply with the law.”

The suit claims that the Democratic Governor failed to provide victim notification of the prisoner releases as required by clemency procedures. Monique DeSpain, a lawyer for the Kevin L. Mannix Salem-based law firm, which filed the case with Common Sense for Oregon on behalf of the plaintiffs, said:

“We are asking that the court compel the governor to follow the laws that are already in place.”

He argued that the pace of the clemencies demonstrated a disregard for sentencing laws in place:

“When they’re granted to the rate of nearly 1,000 commutations, then really it becomes a rewriting of sentencing laws.

“That is a lot of commutations that have been handed down.”

Report: Inmate on death row in South Carolina chooses firing squad as form of execution, still says it's unconstitutional

Kevin Mannix, a former chair of the Oregon Republican Party, leads both the law firm and Common Sense.

The lawsuit accuses the Governor of breaking rules requiring individual commutation applications and unlawfully delegated her responsibilities to state agencies. DA Martenny said the legal action was not personal:

“This lawsuit is not personal on my . I believe our laws put limits on (Brown’s) actions. I am working to enforce those limits.”

Gov. Brown commuted the sentences of 912 people in custody who were deemed at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a June 2021 letter she sent to state lawmakers.

Those freed were medically vulnerable, had completed at least half their sentences, and were not serving time for crimes against people.

Brown also commuted the sentences of 41 people who fought the Labor Day 2020 wildfires that scorched the state in 2020., according to the June letter, which is cited in the lawsuit.

Those released did not “present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community,” the letter claimed.

Aliza Kaplan, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor involved in clemency applications, said the Governor’s actions were proper:

“The law is very clear on the governor’s power to grant clemency. She’s using it in the exact way it was intended by our founders,” Kaplan said. “There’s precedent for granting group clemency. It’s unfortunate that we have to all waste our time talking about this lawsuit.

“She’s using it in the exact way it should be used. These people have been punished significantly, and even in a place like prison, they have managed to rehabilitate themselves, and the governor is offering them mercy.”

The lawsuit also addresses concerns over offenders now made eligible for commutation for violent crimes they committed as juveniles.

In 2019, Oregon passed a law eliminating life sentences without parole for youth offenders. It also allowed them another hearing to review their case after serving half their sentences.

Following the law’s passage, the Governor signed an executive order allowing it to apply retroactively to juveniles convicted between 1988 and 2019.

The move has been criticized by multiple Oregon district attorneys, who called the move dangerous and traumatizing to the victims of their crimes.

The Governor’s Office declined to comment on the pending legislation.

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LET Unity Documents reveal Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has long-standing ties to Chinese Communist groups

August 27, 2021

SALEM, OR- Among governors in the United States, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is among the most inept.

This was proven this past week when in spite of all medical evidence to the contrary, Brown mandated masks be worn inside and outside in Oregon. Now we’re finding out that Brown has direct and longstanding ties to the Chinese Communist Party, according to National Pulse.

The outlet reports that Brown “has participated in events sponsored by Chinese Communist Party propaganda groups flagged by the U.S. State Department for ‘directly and malignly influenc[ing]’ American officials.”

Brown has deep ties to the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), which has been dubbed the “public face” of the United Front, as well as “avowedly an arm of the party-state.”

Recently uncovered documents show that Oregon Democrats have called for the cancellation of an upcoming event which features two of The National Pulse’s writers, Raheem Kassam and Natalie Winters because the outlet allegedly promotes “China-centric conspiracy theories” and “toxic beliefs.”

The Pulse reports that while the Oregon Democratic party attempts to silence reportage which focuses on the CCP, its most prominent member in the state—Brown—“recently established links with one of the regime’s chief influence groups abroad.”

This is, the outlet reports not really a new development. Brown has, it reports, “a long history of collaboration with groups tied to Beijing’s United Front Work Department.

What exactly is that?

The billion dollar group aims “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party,” as well as to “influence foreign governments to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies,” the federal U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission writes.

Not only that but also United Front groups such as the China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) have also utilized tactics such as free trips to China in order to gain “favorable coverage” from mainstream media outlets, according to filings made under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

Despite Oregon Democrats claims of a “China-centric conspiracy theory” by The National Pulse, that hardly seems to be the case.

In the case of Brown, in 2015 she attended the CPAFFC’s China-U.S. Governors Forum, which has been flagged by the State Department as having a “subversive influence” on U.S. politics:

“CPAFFC’s actions have undermined the Governors Forums’ original well-intentioned purpose.”

At the time, the CPAFFC was told by Brown that “Oregon hopes to enhance cooperation with China” at the event, where Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping was the featured speaker.

After the forum, Brown, along with five other governors, agreed to a deal with China to collaborate on “clean technology and economic development.

During a private meeting with CPAFFC Vice President Lin Yi in the months after the forum, Brown called Xi’s remarks “encouraging,” and pushed to “strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China in education, science, and technology, health tourism and sports.”

Governor Brown said it was her great honor to attend the Governor’s Forum held in Seattle last month. President Xi’s remarks were encouraging, and the Forum helped provide great opportunities for U.S.-China cooperation.

The State of Oregon regards China as the most important international partner and has willingness to strengthen pragmatic cooperation with China in education, science and technology, health, tourism and sports, etc.” 

 

 

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