17 January 2004

Death - In the Courts:

(1) Seattle: The prosecution is being challenged because it did not pursue the death penalty with the Green River Killer (48 admitted murders) but is trying to get it in a case where one man was killed.
Choosing who should live or die has become an arbitrary decision in the prosecutor's office, argued one of Champion's attorneys, Jackie Walsh. In light of the Ridgway decision, she said, seeking the death penalty violates Champion's rights to due process, equal protection and cruel punishment clauses of the state and federal constitutions.

``The decision is an arbitrary one, and it's done in a capricious manner,'' Walsh said. A four-point set of standards adopted by the state Legislature nearly 30 years ago has failed to ensure the prosecutor makes fair decisions regarding the death penalty, she said.

Like Ridgway, she said, Champion cooperated with police by telling his family to speak truthfully to investigators. And unlike Ridgway, he has shown remorse.

(2) Texas: A man has chosen to represent himself in a federal murder case.

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