Category Archives: death row

Bush approves execution of soldier

The soldier, Ronald Gray committed multiple rapes and homicide’s in the 1980’s while stationed at Fayetteville AR. Gray has been on the military’s death row for 20 years. From Politico:

• In the military justice system, a member of the Armed Forces cannot be executed until the President “approves” the death sentence. Thus, unlike the civilian context, where the President may be asked to exercise his clemency authority to stop an execution, in the military system, the President effectively orders the execution. This is an important distinction.

• This is very rare. The last President to act on a military death sentence was John F. Kennedy in 1962, when he commuted a death sentence to confinement for life. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the last military execution in 1957; it was carried out in 1961.

• In accordance with the UCMJ, the Secretary of the Army submitted a formal recommendation to the President recommending he approve the sentence.

Facts of this case

Army Private Ronald A. Gray engaged in a spree of four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, area between April 1986 and January 1987.

• Gray pleaded guilty to two murders and five rapes (in addition to other offenses) in North Carolina State court; he was sentenced to three consecutive, and five concurrent, life terms.

• Gray was then tried by general court-martial at Fort Bragg (82d Airborne Division) for separate offenses involving three women, two of whom served in the U.S. Army, one of whom was a civilian. …

• In April 1988, the court-martial convicted Gray of premeditated murder (two specifications) and unanimously sentenced him to death. Since then, his sentence has been approved by his command, the Army Court of Military Review, and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The Supreme Court has denied certiorari.

• In accordance with the UCMJ, the Secretary of the Army recommended the President approve the sentence.

• Although not required by statute, the President asked the Attorney General to confirm that the President had full legal authority to approve, commute, or remit the death sentence.

Fast-tracking death row inmates

Bush did the same thing when he ran the state of Texas. He is set to ‘fast-track’ death row inmates, removing what has been due process for an inmate sentenced to death for a crime. As the IHT article points out:

The US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales – Mr Bush’s top legal adviser during the spree of executions in Texas in the 1990s – is putting finishing touches to regulations, inspired by recent anti-terrorism legislation, that would allow states to turn to the Justice Department, instead of the federal courts, as a key arbiter in deciding whether prisoners live or die. The US is already among the top six countries worldwide in terms of the numbers of its own citizens that it puts to death. Fifty-two Americans were executed last year and thousands await their fate on death row.

Ah yes..our Decider-in-Chief will now decide who lives and who freaking ironic that Bush and his lap dog Abu Gonzales will have this power..power btw that the Democrats gave them.

Disgusting bit of record-setting by Georgie per the IHT article: President Bush has always been a death penalty enthusiast. The 152 prisoners he dispatched to their deaths in his eight years as governor of Texas set a high-water mark unmatched before or since.

I feel for the record, I should state that I have been a death penalty proponent until now. I felt comfortable that many of the checks and balances were in place to guarantee that an innocent individual was not put to death. With this new twist..I no longer feel the same.

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