Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Former Death Row Inmate Arrested

A former death row inmate has been charged with drug possession — six months after being set free. His release last year prompted death penalty foes to use his case as an example of an innocent man wrongfully convicted. Prosecutors say they still suspect the man of murder but the evidence is not there to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Paris Lapriest Powell was arrested April 6 when undercover Oklahoma City police officers caught him with marijuana and cocaine, as reported in the Daily Oklahoman. He was charged in Oklahoma County District Court with two felony drug possession counts. He was released after posting bail.

Powell was on Oklahoma’s death row for the first-degree murder of a 14-year-old girl in 1993 in Oklahoma City. In January of 2008, a federal appeals court granted Powell’s writ of habeas corpus and ordered a new trial. The opinion faulted how a former prosecutor handled the case.

Powell was prosecuted by Bob Macy, Oklahoma County's chief prosecutor for more than 20 years. Macy is now retired. He oversaw an office that sent to death row 34 of the 86 inmates who have been put to death in Oklahoma since executions resumed in 1990.
"I have always believed the death penalty is a deterrent, and it's one reason I sought the death penalty as often as I did," he said. "We tried at least 60 capital murder cases, and I think we got the death penalty in 54 of them," he said.

Powell is not the first person to be released from prison and then commit another crime. His exoneration was not based on actual innocence. Powell was granted a new trial and was not retried. He again faces the criminal justice system just six-months after his release from death row.

To read more: http://newsok.com/man-freed-from-death-row-jailed/article/3455351#ixzz0lgOXDJ2a

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