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Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003
File 011
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Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003 - File 011. 2003-06-27. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 16, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/721/show/682.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2003-06-27). Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003 - File 011. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/721/show/682

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003 - File 011, 2003-06-27, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 16, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/721/show/682.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1183, June 27, 2003
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
  • Crain, Chris
Publisher Window Media
Date June 27, 2003
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 011
Transcript 10 JUNE 27, 2003 www.houston voice.com HOUSTON VOICE local news 'Sleeping lawyer" case ends for gay defendant Burdine trades new trial for life in prison in plea deal By PENNY WEAVER A gay Texan and former death row inmate who won a new trial because his lawyer allegedly slept through parts of his first trial pleaded guilty last week to capital murder and will spend life in prison. Calvin Burdine, 50, was convicted in 1984 of capital murder and given the death penalty for the 1983 stabbing death of his lover and roommate, W.T. "Dub" Wise. A federal judge reversed the conviction and granted a new trial because evidence showed his trial attorney, Joe Cannon, slept for up to 10 minutes at a time during crucial phases of testimony. Cannon, who has since died, denied ever falling asleep during the trial. Burdine's Decatur, Ga., attorney, Robert McGlasson, argued in appealing the death penalty case that Cannon was sleeping instead of objecting to the prosecutions repeated references to ^urdine's homosexuality In arguing for the death penalty and against life in prison for Burdine following his convic- tion, the prosecutor told the jury, "Sending a homosexual to the penitentiary [for life] certainly isn't a very bad punishment for a homosexual, and that's what he's asking you to do." Gay and civil liberties groups, in a 1995 brief asking that Burdine's conviction be overturned, said, "The prosecution clearly implied that... life behind bars would be pleasant for a gay person — in effect portraying the gay inmate as a 'kid in a candy store.'" The prosecutor also said that Burdine's 1971 Texas conviction for sodomy, a consensu- Gay Texan Calvin Burdine, formerly on death row in a capital murder case, last week entered a guilty plea and likely will spend the rest of his life in prison. (Photo from AP) al offense, was evidence of his "likeliness to commit criminal violent acts in the future." Cannon also was found to have used anti- gay slurs during the trial. According to McGlasson. Cannon was homophobic and did not challenge the prosecutor's biased statements to the jury, as well as prospective jurors who exhibited anti-gay bias. In Burdine's appeal the higher courts did not address what McGlasson, gay rights activists and death penalty opponents have said was homophobia on the part of both the prosecutor and defense attorneys during the original trial. A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declined a state request to reinstate Burdine's conviction and death sentence, sending the case back to Texas, where authorities either had to retry him or set him free. On June 19, Burdine pleaded guilty to capital murder, aggravated assault and felony possession of a weapon in exchange for life in prison, and state District Judge Joan Huffman levied consecutive life sentences for the crimes. The punishment virtually assures he will spend the rest of his life in prison. When Huffman asked Burdine if he understood the deal, witnesses said Burdine replied, "It means we're going to do a lot of time." Prosecutors agreed to the deal because of "the guarantee that he would die in prison," if not by injection then by old age, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said. Also, potential trial evidence available to prosecutors had deteriorated with age had they gone for another death case, Rosenthal said. Burdine survived six execution dates before a federal court agreed that Cannon's performance violated Burdine's constitutional right to an effective lawyer. Houston lawyer Danalynn Recer, one of Burdine's attorneys, said last week that Burdine understood that prison will remain his home. "His experience of living on death row for close to two decades was a traumatizing experience," Recer said. "He came close to being executed and the terror of having that over his head for nearly 20 years has finally been removed. He is very relieved not to be facing the executioner" Burdine was convicted of killing Wise at the Houston trailer they shared. Burdine confessed to police and later recanted, claiming an accomplice killed Wise while Burdine tried to talk him out of it. That alleged accomplice, Douglas McCreight, made a deal with prosecutors in exchange for testimony against Burdine. McCreight served eight years in prison for his role in the slaying before being released. After the first trial, the jury foreman and a court clerk described how Cannon, Burdine's court-appointed lawyer, slept periodically during the testimony and sentencing phases. Recer said prosecutors took advantage of Cannon's lapses by often referring to Burdine's homosexuality during the trial. "No real defense was put forth," she said. Rosenthal said he doesn't believe Cannon slept because the court transcript indicates timely objections, and "you don't expect him to be as vigorous as he was if he were actually sleeping." A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals first reversed the finding that Cannon's snoozing violated Burdine's rights in a highly criticized ruling in 2000. The full appeals court then chose to hear the case and agreed with the first court that Burdine didn't get a fair chance to defend himself. In July 2002, the Supreme Court allowed that ruling to stand. Last fall, Burdine's case again made headlines when, in a rare move, a federal judge called a state judge to his courtroom to resolve a civil suit that stemmed from Burdine's retrial. In October, U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered Huffman and attorney Annette Lamoreaux to appear in his court. Lamoreaux, East Texas regional director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), represented Burdine in his fight to keep McGlasson as his defense counsel. McGlasson handled Burdine's death penalty appeal and appeared with him in Harris County court a year ago for a hearing to determine Burdine's future counsel. But at that proceeding, Huffman refused to appoint McGlasson as Burdine's counsel. Her stated reason was that he is not on the Harris County list of lawyers approved to represent defendants in capital murder cases. By the time Burdine's new trial was to begin this spring, he rejected help from two defense attorneys appointed by Huffman, and McGlasson and Recer both agreed to represent Burdine at no charge. The Associated Press contributed to this story. Houstonians enjoy 25 days of Pride 2003 Above: A number of gay Houstonians turned out for the Saturday, June 21, Pride Day at Six Flags Astroworld. Left: Bering United Methodist Memorial Church hosted an Interfaith Gay Pride Service on Sunday, June 22.
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