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Idaho prepares for first execution in June

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On Tuesday June 12, 2012, Richard Albert Leavitt will walk into a 14 x 60 foot mobile home in the compound of the prison in Boise, Idaho and be put to death for the July 18, 1984 brutal murder of 31-year-old  Danette Elg in Blackfoot.

In Idaho, as in many other states, the sentencing is determined by   jury .   Today, 15 inmates await execution in Boise. 

Idaho is one of the small number of states where the Governor can not commute sentences.  That power rests in the hand a board appointed by the Governor.  Georgia and Connecticut are the only other states that share the same system.

Idaho has come twice within days of executing inmates who were later proved to be innocent.

While only one person has received a commutation of a death sentence since 1973 (Donald Paradis in April 1994); his sentence was later overturned and he was freed due to innocence.

In 2001, Charles Irvin Fain  served 18 years of imprisonment before DNA tests showed that the did not commit the crime of which he was convicted.

With three more executions scheduled over the next twelve months, Idaho is on pace to match the rate of execution in Virginia and Texas.

Unlike other forms of punishment that are available for society to use in capital murder cases, the death penalty is irrevocable.

Adrienne Evans, Executive Director of United Vision for Idaho, sums it up best.  " Despite evidence that our system is entrenched with serious flaws often leading to false convictions, it is clear that perpetuating the cycle of violence does nothing to detour it. State sanctioned murder reduces us to a people willing to govern  based on  fear, hate, and retaliation regardless of the immeasurable cost, and weakens the fabric of our society," said Evans.

Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publicaitons and news outlets including USAToday, CNN, Upsurge, CBS, Dream Row, Earthwalkers and others. He photographs and licenses images for all manner of commercial and editorial use as well as (more...)

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If somebody harmed one of my grandchildren, I'd sh... by molly cruz on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 12:13:36 PM
And I feel the same way.  I'm totally against... by Jerry Nelson on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 1:31:50 PM
and be the first to execute a corporation.... by Dave Kisor on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 12:59:48 PM
Your title caught my attention like a mouse would ... by J. Dexter Smith on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 9:24:48 PM
...for the comment, and you're right.  There ... by Jerry Nelson on Monday, May 28, 2012 at 12:48:19 AM