Louisiana District Attorneys Association Executive Director Loren Lampert said preliminary hearings require four affirmative votes to recommend any of the five applications for a full clemency hearing. In addition, he said, a recommended hearing would require a minimum 60-day delay.
Lampert said more “litigation in the pipeline” won’t affect Friday’s hearings.
“Louisiana District Attorneys stand ready to defend against those attacks upon the settled and legal procedures that the Board is currently employing to best ensure full, fair and deliberate due process for all involved,” he said Thursday in a news release.
On June 13, 56 Louisiana death row inmates filed clemency applications. District attorneys spoke out at a July pardon board meeting with concerns that the process is being rushed. Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote a letter Aug. 9 asking the board to set hearings, which they did the following day. Hearings were scheduled for Oct. 13, Nov. 8, Nov. 27 and Dec. 8.
Oct. 13 hearings for five death row inmates
Antoinette Frank, the only woman on Louisiana’s death row and a former New Orleans police officer, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in a 1995 restaurant robbery gone wrong that left three dead.
A letter of support for Frank from organizations and experts states that Frank is a survivor of child abuse and serial rape by her father. Psychologist Leslie Lebowitz found that Frank was “psychologically terrorized,” had “multiple near-death experiences,” was “forced to witness the brutalization of people she loved,” and “was raped repeatedly throughout childhood and
adolescence,” according to the letter.
“Research shows that children and adolescents who endure such abuse experience profound and lasting changes in the way they perceive and interact with the world and others,” the letter said.
Frank was denied a full clemency hearing on Friday.
Clifford Deruise, who has had an intellectual disability since childhood, was found guilty in 1996 of two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of an 11-month-old and a man, Gary Booker. He was sentenced to death in both cases. The death sentence in connection to Booker’s death was later vacated, documents said.
Deruise was denied a full clemency hearing Friday.
Danny Irish was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in Caddo Parish in the 1996 killing of his landlord when he was 18. His clemency application said IQ testing has shown that he was intellectually impaired to a degree that makes him ineligible for the death penalty.
Irish was denied a full clemency hearing Friday.
Emmet Taylor was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in the 1997 killing of a 77-year-old in a Marrero pharmacy in an attempted robbery. Taylor’s clemency application said he has an intellectual disability, brain damage, childhood trauma, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Taylor was denied a full clemency hearing on Friday.
Winthrop Eaton was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in Rapides Parish after killing a female Monroe pastor in 1985. Eaton was declared insane and incompetent of execution by a judge in 1993, according to his clemency application.
Ben McGehee, the senior pastor of Lea Joyner Memorial Methodist Church, said he supports commuting Eaton’s sentence. He has said that the victim, Joyner, would not have wanted Eaton executed.
Eaton was denied a full clemency hearing on Friday.