Patrick B. McGuigan, The City Sentinel
Oklahoma City – Last October, the mother of Julius Jones sat quietly through an Interim Hearing conducted at the State Capitol. Madeline Jones listened carefully to witnesses, including Bob Ravitz, who runs the Public Defender office.
The hearing examined capital punishment, in a way that addressed not only the Richard Glossip death sentence, but also that of Madeline’s son:
“I’m pulling my hair out today and every day because I saw the number of capital cases in my office today and it’s horrifying – that is ineffectiveness of counsel. Unless there is sufficient funding for lawyers to represent defendants and do the adequate investigation, I’m almost convinced that there ought to be a specialized unit that handles capital cases that has trained expert witnesses. It’s really hard to find lawyers that want to do capital cases. I had one lawyer die, one lawyer who got cancer, another one retire and another one leave. I have nobody who is first chair in a capital case.”
And this: “My expert witness budget for all my capitol cases for the whole year is $75,000.”
In late February – just last week – Madeline led a large crowd to submit a “Change.org” petition to the Pardon and Parole Board on N. Classen Blvd. It has more than 6 million names on it, calling for commutation of her son’s sentence.
A couple of days before the rally and march to the Board office, I signed that Change.org petition.
Death penalty events of recent years should guide us:
It’s time to end one era, and start another.
No more executions in Oklahoma.
Now and forever more.