Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 11:45pm

Battered woman's life should be spared

Gov. Phil Bredesen holds the life of a battered woman in his hands. The state will execute Gaile K. Owens, 57, by lethal injection unless the governor commutes her sentence to life in prison.

Gaile is a victim of severe domestic violence who was arrested in 1985, and later convicted, for hiring a man to kill her abusive husband, Ronald Owens. After exhausting her appeals, her lawyer and two public defenders have filed a formal plea asking Gov. Bredesen to commute her sentence to life in prison. Though she was diagnosed with battered woman’s syndrome, Gaile’s jurors never heard about the physical, emotional and sexual abuse she endured from her husband.

Among nine comparable cases over the past 25 years: two are serving life sentences, six have received probation or early parole, while only Gaile is facing death. Unless Gov. Bredesen commutes Gaile’s sentence, she will be the first woman executed by the state since 1820.

Not only were there very few, if any, resources for a battered woman in the early 1980s, but a woman who has suffered severe and consistent abuse is not in a competent state of mind. Gov. Bredesen should commute Gaile Owens’ sentence to life in prison, and save the state from executing a battered woman.

Caitlin O’Leary, 37215

 

Send comments and letters via email to editor@nashvillecitypaper.com

240 Comments on this post:

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:21

i've yet to meet a PD that i can even call human.

By: MamaG on 3/3/10 at 1:24

I think prisons should be like they were back in the old days--no television, one hour a day of exercise, no special privileges whatsoever. ("Get to stamping those plates, bitch!" lol) If capital punishment stays in place, then their deaths should be made public, like a hanging on the town square or lined up before the firing squad. Make some kind of deterrent for future convicts to witness.

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 1:24

Hi everybody
Brian here

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:21
i've yet to meet a PD that i can even call human.

I have to agree
grandpa would expand that to include ALL lawyers
they are all scum

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:25

Mama, that's exactly why some of the foreign gangs such as MS13 are not afraid of going to jail here. to them it is no big deal.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:25

i agree, Brian. some more than others.

how's Dusty today?

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 1:29

Joey said he has woken up a couple times
passed a message to tell Captain, House, and Blanket howdy as well as everybody else. As well as to tell sid? and D7? to behave themselves

By: MamaG on 3/3/10 at 1:29

Right on, blanket!

Brian, I hope Dusty is doing better every day! Please let him know I am thinking of him and wish him a speedy recovery! thks

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:30

wow, he passed on a message! tell him we miss him and can't wait for him to join us again!

By: sidneyames on 3/3/10 at 1:30

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:14
IMO people who work at the PD's office aren't bright enough to get hired at a law firm or the D.A.'s office and they do anything they can to win their cases on technicalities and try to create a list of "wins" so as to get a real attorney's job, not even pausing for a moment to think how it will affect the victims' lives and whether or not it puts people in harms way. therefore, they are among the ultimate scum of the earth.

Blanket, ditto that sentiment. I said I knew someone; didn't say I actually liked the someone!

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 1:31

thank you mamaG
I will pass on the message to my cousin to tell him

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:31

i know of one of the scumbags down there who "advised" his "client" on how to get away with something on a technicality BEFORE he committed the crime!

By: sidneyames on 3/3/10 at 1:32

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 1:29
Joey said he has woken up a couple times
passed a message to tell Captain, House, and Blanket howdy as well as everybody else. As well as to tell sid? and D7? to behave themselves

Is this Brian? Tell Dusty that D7 and I are behaving. It's scarey, but true. Give him my love and prayers.

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 1:33

sidney
yes brian here
I will pass the message

By: dargent7 on 3/3/10 at 1:47

Sid: You takin' calls? What's your phone number? I will call you.

By: sidneyames on 3/3/10 at 1:50

By: MamaG on 3/3/10 at 1:24
I think prisons should be like they were back in the old days--no television, one hour a day of exercise, no special privileges whatsoever. ("Get to stamping those plates, bitch!" lol) If capital punishment stays in place, then their deaths should be made public, like a hanging on the town square or lined up before the firing squad. Make some kind of deterrent for future convicts to witness.

I'm going to nominate you for US Warden; then me and Blanket can work for you to have prison "reform". I liked the old days also, no t.v., no sex visits with wife or girlfriend, no special privileges and the chain around the ankle connecting them when they did hard labor.

Yeah, like the ACLU wouldn't take us to the cleaners. I think the ACLU should live with guys like the one who kidnapped Stacy Dugard or who killed this little girl.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:57

sid, i don't believe in capital punishment and i support the ACLU but i also think we have some major issues with our judicial system. our sentencing guidelines are in dire need of improvement.

By: MamaG on 3/3/10 at 1:58

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 1:31
i know of one of the scumbags down there who "advised" his "client" on how to get away with something on a technicality BEFORE he committed the crime!

That person should be/should have been disbarred!!! This is but a small fraction of our problems with the justice system today. It's shameful, I tell ya!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:00

indeed, Mama. no one took me seriously when i said something about it.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:01

and the "client" bragged about how he was able to get "advice" before he did things!!!!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:02

so the "client" and the PD were setting up the defense before the crime was even committed!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:02

Out dated

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/t/tin_cans_and_string.asp

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 2:04

Guys... it's the PD's job to get the scumbag off any way he can within the law. To do any less than that is an absolute breech of ethics.

My experience when I was on jury duty was that the prosecutor sucked... and the guy's PD sucked even worse.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:04

Hello Brian. Tell Dusty I said Hey!!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:05

so giving advice before a crime is committed is "ethical"?

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 2:08

Hi Captain
will do
Joey told me grandpa especially want to know how you are doing

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 2:10

America has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. 1 in 8 black men between the ages of 18 and 35 is in jail right now. ... think about those odds for a minute... 1 in 8 at any time; so if the average sentence is 2 years the odds of a black man going to jail at some time between those ages is almost a certainty. Absurd.

It's a de facto infringement on liberty and needs to be remedied. The for-profit arrest, prosecution and incarceration machine is our country's worst problem.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:13

Brian tell him I am doing good but I will be better when he is back on line.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:13

Ben, that mostly has to do with the War On Drugs and how sentencing has been affected by it. the violent criminals serve less time while people with small drug crimes do long sentences. that is the problem. and there should not be for-profit prisons. that should be the role of the state and federal governments.

By: MamaG on 3/3/10 at 2:14

It is absurd, Ben.
And I still am appalled at this PD you're talking about blanket. Needs his arse disbarred or shot!

Have a great evening everyone! I gotta get some work done! LOL

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:14

later, MamaG.

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 2:16

I will let him know Captain

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 2:16

I didn't have time to read all of the posts, BN.... but in general when the PD is representing the criminal he is obligated to give him his best legal counsel. The odds are so freaking stacked against someone without money in the system anyway though it doesn't really matter. What we have amounts to modern-day debtors' prisons.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 2:18

Brian - So good to hear DustyU is getting bettr - tell him Hi and have you had any word about JimmyU and his family?

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 2:20

The whole system is for-profit BN... increasing the efficiency by farming parts of the system out to private companies is meaninless to the overall point.

The point of the growing system is not to reduce crime. The point of the growing system is to increase tax, fee and fine revenues and to use the proceeds to further expand the government run fiefdoms.

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 2:27

bfra - thank you I will pass the message
No word on Uncle Jimmy at all, government troops have killed a lot of people over there for being so-called rebels

Ben the third largest industry in Alaska after the military stationed there and big oil of course is the prison system

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:27

Ben, it depends on whether or not that person is a repeat offender. someone who does something wrong one time and doesn't have the money for an attorney is probably going to get screwed. however, someone who makes a life of knowing the ins and outs of the technicalities and has a PD helping them do so will continue to commit crimes and go unpunished. i have witnessed this first hand and have heard "shady" people brag about it! i don't agree that the "point" of the growing system is to increase taxes and fees - i do believe it's government officials who have something to gain off privitized prisons - sort of like Blackwater and war.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:28

wow, i hope Jimmy is okay.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:29

Ben, how do you explain someone who has 100 charges against them in the last 5 years, many of which are felonies, and are still out on the streets?

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:30

Here is something to think about

The Public Defender's Office says it handles 84% of the cases filed by the District Attorney's Office, yet its budget is 54% of the District Attorney's.
http://www.nlada.org/DMS/Documents/1251377016.08/1615497.html

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:31

I don't like not hearing from Jimmy.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:33

Here is another ling from that article

The county pays an average of $372 per case handled by the Public Defender's Office, compared to $532 per case handled by a private firm contracted by the county, according to the Public Defender's Office.

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 2:34

Blanket - How do you explain someone like Charlie Chase's son & friend broke into a neighbors house and shot the man. Charlie's son was handled like a prince, is foot loose & fancy free & the last I heard his friend is still in jail. Yarbrough (our attorney gen. now) was Chase's att & also Winkler's when her trial first started.

I explain it $$$$$!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:36

This is kind of scary. Ben and I have been on the same side all day. lol

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 2:36

Nemo - Read that Al Quida (sp) not sure, is trying to take over Chad.

By: BenDover on 3/3/10 at 2:37

The system consumes an ever-larger piece of the economic pie with most of the money that is drained off into this non-value-added sink-hole being of the books.

Property seizures never make it to the city or county budget... they usually net out down in the police department budget. Court Costs are never seen in the county or city budgets. Many paid fines net out against costs in the police cost center to make the pie-wedge look smaller than it really is. A city jail becomes a revenue center when they are housing criminals for state and federal crimes... so the community doesn't have a clear picture of cost surrounding this growing problem.

They look at a pie graph and they see education as a huge chunk and police as a small chunk. In truth though the police department is sucking out the vast majority of the county resources in an undocumented tax that adds very little value but sucks away from the economy. Additionally at the same time we are paying to incarcerate some little dope-head for smoking a joint... he's also NOT contributing positively to the economy by working, producing and paying taxes.

The 'tough on crime' mantra is an easy sell so in communities as small as Smyrna or Laverge we've got hundreds of cops running around like Mad Max in their brand new cruiser equipped with enough electronics and high tech gear to make George Jetson jealous... each trying to make a name for himself at the expense of a guy with a half a joint in his pocket or who had an extra Smithwick's on happy hour before heading home after work.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/3/10 at 2:39

That would not surprise me bfra.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:40

Ben, once again that boils down to sentencing guidelines. the guy with the joint is going to get sentenced according to the guidelines that the judges have to follow.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/3/10 at 2:41

and yes, small towns like Smyrna or LaVergne are going to be different than say, South Precinct in Nashville which is understaffed and dealing with gang issues.

By: DustyU on 3/3/10 at 2:41

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 2:36
Nemo - Read that Al Quida (sp) not sure, is trying to take over Chad.

that is mostly propaganda by the ruling families to cover them cracking down on opponents and consolidating their power
most of the real fighting is next door in Darfur

By: bfra on 3/3/10 at 2:42

Ben - That George Jetson referral is a very accurate assessment of most cops today!