January 18, 2017

NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE:

Federal death row inmate is among those winning sentence commutations (DEBRA CASSENS WEISS, 1/18/17, ABA Journal)

Obama commuted the death sentence of Abelardo Arboleda Ortiz to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Politico and this list published by the Washington Post. Ortiz and two others had been convicted of killing a drug dealer in 1998. The other men did not receive death sentences.

Arboleda Ortiz is intellectually disabled, but his trial lawyer didn't investigate that disability and didn't tell jurors about his client's disadvantaged life, according to a statement by the inmate's new lawyer, Amy Gershenfeld Donnella. His sentence was harsher than that of his co-defendants, though he wasn't even on the same floor where the murder occurred, she said.

"Mr. Arboleda Ortiz's case epitomizes the broken federal death penalty system," Donnella said. "He is an intellectually disabled person of color with an IQ of 54 who was never able to learn to read, write, or do simple arithmetic, and could not even tie his shoes until he was 10 years old, as noted by the government's own expert. ...

Posted by at January 18, 2017 6:01 PM

  

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