A lone Canadian sits on death row: Robert Bolden’s untold story
National Post In the summer of 2019, Barr arranged the Bureau of Prisons to embrace a new system of execution: a single dose of pentobarbital, which causes respiratory collapse. The previous method, a three-drug cocktail, confronted shortages throughout the years Barack Obama has been president. Their relationship was “characterized by domestic violence, alcoholism, and addiction.” Atwell agrees. “In all the cases of the foreign nationals who were implemented… one of these, I believe, has had the opportunity to talk with his consulate before he was executed, or early in the process.” The execution of Christopher Vialva at September marked the very first execution in 68 years of an offender who was a teenager at the time of the offense.
Vialva was 19 when he shot and killed two youth ministers during a carjacking in 1999. “I really don’t feel that there’s anybody who’s been paying attention to the federal death penalty who thinks that anything like that will continue once Trump leaves office.” This can be vital in Bolden’s fight to avoid the needle, which is happening at a strange and frightening moment.
The United States is among the few developed democracies — Taiwan, South Korea and Japan one of them — which still executes people. While Bolden’s prospects in the U.S. justice system remain uncertain, so does the future of federal death row. Joe Biden opposes the death penalty and has vowed to stop national executions when he assumes the presidency. At 2018, 2019 and 2020 to reach Bolden’s attorneys. They’ve been ineffective.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Canadian authorities also declined to answer questions regarding Bolden or his case. “That is a garden-variety offense, you know, it is not anything you’d be proud of, but it is surely not the worst-of-the-worst either,” Atwell said. Three more people — including one woman — are scheduled to expire before President-elect Joe Biden chooses the Oval Office on Jan. 20. Even though a welcome policy change for the two Canadians on death row in the USA, along with the four facing implementation in China, Canada hasn’t always been effective in seeking clemency for the accused. But it’s won in some notable cases.
A lone Canadian sits on death row: U.S. government declared murdering federal death row prisoners
In July 2020, after a 17-year hiatus, the U.S. government declared murdering federal death row prisoners. Ever since that time, the Donald Trump administration was on an implementation spree: 10 individuals have been executed from the death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, in the last six months. “Think about this favorable way (Ley) would have impacted so many people’s lifestyles had Mr. Bolden not made the choice to finish his,” argued Holtshouser, according to a court transcript. “Justice demands something more than life . It demands death.” Bolden was sentenced to death by a U.S. national jury in 2006. He has been on national death row ever since, awaiting the results of various appeals and court battles moving through the byzantine American legal system. Eighteen years ago, Robert Bolden wanted $2,000 to pay his rent. Fear of the needle has, surprisingly, led some inmates to seek out alternative ways to die. “Lavale’s beating’s of Stella were so severe that, even though they were living in the cellar of the four-flat, the misuse could he heard during the entire building,” wrote one psychologist.
The strategy was straightforward: stick a security guard, take a hostage inside the bank, get the cash and flee in Bolden’s car. . Brandon Bernard, Vialva’s co-defendant, who was 18 at the time, was put to death in December, despite a high-profile effort by Kim Kardashian West calling for clemency. That he pulled it is what actually mattered. Robert, a psychiatrist wrote, wanted badly to assist his mother, but the best he could do in order to protect her in the beatings had been”bite Lavale on the flip side, the only real part… he could attain as a small child.” Post Linda Ley, Nathan’s mum, stated it was a”just and reasonable sentence.” “Perhaps we might not be here if he had just shot him and Nathan Ley had died as a consequence of harm from that one shot, but the second shot makes this a death penalty case,” Holtshouser asserted.
The two struggled, and Bolden shot Ley twice, once in the jaw and then, after taking a step back, in the head, killing him. That 10 men died in the U.S. federal death chamber in Indiana is partly the culmination of a years-long search for drugs to kill people. Quite simply, the lethal medication cocktails historically used have become unavailable, leading to many different experimental execution drugs, that, occasionally, have resulted in gruesomely botched executions.
The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada, which dominated the two may only be extradited if they wouldn’t face the death penalty. That was secured, and the two have been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences. Most national death row prisoners are put at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, also the home of the federal death chamber. Bolden, however, isn’t.
Due to his medical issues, in June 2016, Bolden was moved to a unique medical prison in Springfield, Missouri. The death penalty”is not something that should be done in a civilized society.” Numerous efforts have been created by the Bolden was created in 1963, in Stephenville, a city on the west shore of Newfoundland, south of Corner Brook. Now, its population is currently around 6,000.
The Canadian government did not find out about Bolden before 2012, six years in his confinement on death row. However, Roberts was not part of young Robert’s life. The father he ended up was Lavale Bolden, yet another U.S. serviceman. When Robert was around two years old, Decker moved to St. Louis to be with Lavale.
The jury found Bolden guilty and sentenced him to perish. While he anticipates appeals decisions in his struggle against execution, he’s also gone to court to secure much better access to sunlight and books, and fought to be permitted to have an MP3 player in his cell. “Aunt Ethel tried her best to raise Robert, but her old era made it difficult for her to lift a young boy. Uncle Elmer was a cantankerous alcoholic who mistreated Robert and Stella, and mistreated Ethel,” the psychologist’s report states.
Dow also points a finger at former Attorney General William Barr for its drive to execute. Barr, he said, is a”very strong believer in the death penalty.” It is in this climate that the 57-year-old Robert Bolden fights for his life in court. Canada is included in Bolden’s case. Lawyers kept by Canada have filed court documents in support of his appeals in recent decades, which likewise argue what Canada might have done had the government been advised of his case back in 2002. He is the only Canadian on U.S. national death row.
They are just two of those 123 foreign nationals, women and men from 34 nations, on federal and state death rows across the United States. The gist of the argument is that the United States, upon arresting a foreign national, should have let the Canadian embassy understand, to aid in his defence. These will be heard before an appellate court at some stage; dates haven’t been set.
There are several new grim landmarks in the Trump administration execution record: There is another glaring issue, Atwell clarified: In order to use an argument upon appeal, this argument needs to be made at trial. In Bolden’s case, because neither he nor his lawyers raised the issue of citizenship in trial, it becomes tough to use it upon appeal.
“Robert Bolden didn’t kill Nathan Ley because of a troubled youth or problems in the home,” Holtshouser stated in his final arguments. “He killed him as a member of a robbery to get money. He did not kill him because of diabetes. There is just no insulin in the bank. He was there for cash.” Stella Decker, Bolden’s mum, was a prostitute who worked with men stationed in the U.S. Air Force base in Stephenville.
His father, probably a man named Curtis Roberts, was a soldier stationed there. Bolden has won the ability to argue for an appeal based on three issues: if the lack of notification about his citizenship was a breach of his constitutional rights; if his trial counsel had been”deficient” to the extent that it violated his rights; and whether the U.S.”suppressed or withheld immigration documents from Bolden in breach of his constitutional rights.” Since this didn’t occur, Canada’s lawyers argue Bolden’s defence in 2006 was diminished.’
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“However, this situation is different as it is federal law enforcement and national courts,” Attwell said. In Bolden’s trial, Holtshouser explained Ley as a”shining light” from the area, a guy who was near to suggesting to his girlfriend and that desired to be a police officer. After Bolden was sentenced to perish, the jury didn’t understand he was a Canadian citizen.
The Canadian government was also unaware that one of its taxpayers faced the death penalty. National Post That second shot was that the”execution shooter,” prosecutor Steven Holtshouser said. In February 2020, Nicholas Sutton was implemented by the state of Tennessee by electric chair, a choice four others have made in recent years, citing the risks of untried deadly injection medication. (The electric chair, it needs to be noted, dropped as an implementation method from the 1990s following Florida’s electric chair malfunctioned twice, setting alight the minds of two condemned men.)
A lone Canadian sits on death row: Capital punishment in the United States
Past year, 2020, was the very first time in U.S. history that the federal government murdered more people than country governments (22 individuals were executed in the U.S. in 2019, not one of them from the federal government). “Robert’s frantic attempt to take care of his own children is a manifestation of his borderline personality. Robert doesn’t want to recreate, with his own children, what Lavale Bolden did as a child,” says the psychiatrist.
The infant survived. This is going to be the first execution of a female by the federal government in 70 decades. None of that is uncommon on U.S. death row: a desperately awkward offense, a tragic death, a long court journey. “To be able to have the ability to maximize the possibility that you will receive clemency for some you want to ask for clemency for all,” said Dion.
The case falls much below the usual standard of capital cases. Twitter: tylerrdawson Mark Warren, a human rights researcher and legal advisor in Ontario, who’s written instruction manuals for consular officials dealing with capital cases, says in many cases of Canadians sentenced to death abroad, the government doesn’t”understand about the situation until it is too late to intervene to prevent a death sentence”
“Since Robert’s life problems improved, exacerbating his mental illness, he spent a lot of his time in the cellar of this house, smoking crack, drinking alcohol, smoking and huffing turpentine when alcohol and crack weren’t available,” says the psychiatrist’s report. Citing privacy concerns, the juvenile authorities declined to elaborate on which it is presently doing to help Bolden. By the late 1990s, when Bolden and his kids moved back to St. Louis, what little support network he had was crumbling.
Ethel and Elmer were dead, his mom was sick, and Lavale had remarried and desired no connection with Robert. Mary Atwell, professor emeritus of criminal justice at Radford University in Virginia, who has done research on capital punishment, told the However, in February 2016, then-foreign events minister for Canada Stéphane Dion reversed that policy, stating in an interview with the “Mr. Bolden just spoke of a belief in Christ and forgiveness of sin, and if he really believes that, he shouldn’t fear his own death with this Earth,” explained Linda Ley.
“He should look forward to this time when he could face God, confront my son, and apologize.” Bolden’s past is not well known, but it’s documented widely in psychiatrists’ reports and other legal documents in U.S. court records. “We automatically went to bat to get anyone on death row, anywhere on the planet,” clarified Pardy. He persuaded two other guys to help him rob a Bank of America branch in St. Louis, Missouri. Individuals who ended up lifting him, his great aunt and aunt Ethel and Elmer Clark, were not much better.
While addiction, mental illness and abuse could be mitigating factors at trial and sentencing, the prosecutor, was not buying it. Robert’s attempts to escape his gloomy life collapsed. Throughout, he strove to take care of his own children, who talked at trial of a caring dad who took them encouraged them to get good grades.
Back in 2007, when Stephen Harper was prime minister, the Conservative government changed Canada’s policy of mechanically fighting for citizens facing implementation abroad, to one which would consider the fairness of the justice system involved. Many U.S. death rows are in the state system, however there are certain federal capital offenses — treason, espionage, assassinating the president with a death penalty. Committing murder during a car jacking — or even a bank robbery — are among them.
On Oct. 7, 2002, a Mondaythey put their strategy into action. They did not even make it into the bank. Two gunshots left a security guard dead, also Bolden was the triggerman. Leading up to the botched robbery, Bolden was sick, in and out of hospital — he’d been diabetic his entire life and had never been effective in controlling the disease. Days prior to the prosecution, he learned that he will be evicted.
“The spate of executions through this past year of the Trump government has been outstanding,” said David Dow, the Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and an expert in death penalty law. Show his newfound story: the senseless crime, and a portrait of a person all too recognizable among death-row offenders, shaped by a childhood of abuse, addiction, neglect and assault.
“This is a major issue. But reams of court papers reviewed by the Back in 1994, Glen Burns and Atif Rafay murdered Rafay’s family in Washington state and fled to Canada before their arrest by the RCMP, which utilized the contentious”Mr. Big” tactic.
Liberal Justice Minister Allan Rock ordered them extradited, but he did not seek assurances they’d be spared execution. Canada’s approach, with the exception of a few years under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, has always been to fight for clemency from the death penalty, stated Gar Pardy, a retired Canadian diplomat who has written about Canada’s delivery of consular services to citizens overseas.
In late November, the U.S. Department of Justice amended its federal implementation method rules, stating that any methods permitted by states may also be used to execute federal offenders. While lethal injection is, definitely, the most common, most states have older methods on the novels: nine states permit for the electric chair, six permit use of the gas chamber, three allow firing group and three allow for hanging.
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