URGENT ACTION APPEAL
FLORIDA DEATH ROW PRISONER SEEKS CLEMENCY
UA: 319/13----Issue Date: 26 November 2013----Country: USA
TAKE ACTION ONLINE HERE:
Frank Walls, a 46-year-old man who has been on death row in Florida for 25 years and has exhausted his ordinary appeals to the courts, is seeking commutation of his death sentence. If clemency is rejected, the governor will sign an execution warrant.
Frank Walls is seeking commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He was convicted in July 1988 of the murders of Edward Alger and Ann Peterson, who were shot dead in Alger's home in northern Florida on 22 July 1987. In 1991, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a new trial because of official misconduct in obtaining evidence against him. At a retrial in 1992, the jury again voted to convict and again recommended that Frank Walls be sentenced to death for the murder of Ann Peterson (he received a life sentence for the murder of Edward Alger). The judge found a number of mitigating factors, including that Frank Walls voluntarily confessed to the crime, cooperated with the police, suffered from brain damage and dysfunction, was 19 years old at the time of the crime and functioned at the level of a 12-year-old due to his limited emotional and mental development. The judge nevertheless accepted the jury's recommendation and imposed the death penalty.
According to medical experts, Frank Walls suffered brain damage during his difficult birth (in Germany where his father was in the US Air Force). In early childhood, he was diagnosed as hyperactive and prescribed Ritalin for this condition. At the age of 12, he contracted viral meningoencephalitis, inflammation of the brain that can result in psychiatric and developmental problems. At age 13, Frank Walls was placed in the "Emotionally Handicapped Program" at school. A neuro-psychological assessment when he was 16 concluded that he suffered from organic brain dysfunction, had a tendency towards "psychosis" and "hallucinations", "erratic mood swings he doesn't recall", paranoid tendencies and poor impulse control. In 1985 a child psychiatrist assessed him as suffering from organic brain dysfunction and bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness. In 2002, a psychiatrist's review of his case concluded that "due to a combination of brain dysfunction and manic tendencies caused in part by a viral meningoenchephalitis at the age of 12, Frank Walls was very vulnerable to committing violence as he became increasingly unable to handle adult responsibilities and demands."
As well as information about his mental impairments, the executive clemency authorities have been presented with evidence of Frank Walls' acceptance of responsibility and his remorse for the crimes, and of his personal development on death row, as asserted by a number of people, including nuns, a chaplain, members of the public and one of the original investigating detectives in his case, who have been communicating with him on death row.
4 US states have legislated to abolish the death penalty in the past 4 years, and 18 US states are now abolitionist. The annual number of death sentences in the USA has declined by more than two-thirds since peaking in the 1990s. Florida remains one of the states bucking this trend. In 2012, there were 22 death sentences passed in Florida, more than in any year since 1998 and more than 25 % of all new death sentences nationally.
To learn more: http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/uaa31913.pdf
Name: Frank Walls (m)
Issues: Death penalty
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please write immediately in English or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to grant Frank Walls clemency and commute his death sentence;
- Noting that Frank Walls was 19 years old at the time of the crime, and was assessed at functioning at a child's age and as suffering from brain damage, brain dysfunction and major psychiatric disorders;
- Acknowledging the serious nature of the crimes of which Frank Walls was convicted and explaining that you are not seeking to downplay the suffering caused by violent crime.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 7 JANUARY 2014 TO:
Governor Rick Scott
Office of the Governor, The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St. Tallahassee,
Salutation: Dear Governor
Office of Executive Clemency
Florida Parole Commission, 4070 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2450, USA
Fax: 1-850-414-6031 or 1-850-488-0695
Salutation: Dear Members of the Clemency Board
(ask for your appeal to be forwarded to the Clemency Board)
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(source: Amnesty International)