ILNews

Supreme Court sets execution date

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court has set the execution date for a death row inmate whose requests for successive post-conviction proceedings were denied Monday.

David Leon Woods is set for execution by injection before sunrise May 4. He is being put to death for the stabbing of an elderly DeKalb County man during a robbery in 1984.

A Boone County jury convicted Woods of murder and robbery in the 1980s. He was found guilty of the murder of 77-year-old Juan Placenia, who was an acquaintance of Woods and his mother. Woods and two others had devised a plan to steal Placenia ;s television, but during the robbery Woods fatally stabbed Placenia 21 times in the face, neck, and torso.

The Supreme Court issued a 7-page order Monday stating that Woods did not meet his burden of establishing a reasonable probability that he ;s entitled to relief based on claims he is mentally retarded and had a disagreement with his attorneys about strategy.

The order states that Woods did not prove he is mentally retarded, citing no expert testimony despite one doctor ;s description of "clear evidence of brain damage." A second claim relating to a "conflict of interest" with post-conviction counsel was raised too late, the justices ruled, and that doesn ;t diminish other courts ; conclusions that Woods received a fair post-conviction hearing.

Woods would be the first person to be put to death in Indiana since January 2006, when Marvin Bieghler was executed. The high court temporarily stayed the January execution of Norman Timberlake while the Supreme Court of the United States reviews a similar legal issue involving what constitutes mental illness in relation to execution.
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  3. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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