A convicted little one rapist and assassin is interesting his demise sentence in Florida by arguing that the prosecutor violated the so-called ‘Golden Rule’ by asking the jury to think about his sufferer’s struggling.
Granville Ritchie, 41, was sentenced to demise in September 2020 for the 2014 killing of nine-year-old Felecia Williams, who was raped, strangled to demise, stuffed right into a suitcase and thrown off an overpass.
In arguing for the demise penalty, Tampa prosecutor Scott Harmon mentioned to the jury, partly: ‘Are you able to think about the dread of realizing that your life is ending and you’re feeling ache throughout your physique? That ache would’ve been larger for just a little lady.’
Convicted little one rapist and assassin Granville Ritchie, 41 (left), is interesting his demise sentence, claiming prosecutorial errors. Ritchie was sentenced to die final yr for the 2014 killing of nine-year-old Felecia Williams
In arguing for the dearth penalty, Tampa prosecutor Scott Harmon (pictured) mentioned to the jury, partly: ‘are you able to think about the dread of realizing that your life is ending and you’re feeling ache throughout your physique?’
Based on Ritchie’s appellate legal professional Rachel Roebuck, Harmon’s impassioned speech violated what is understood within the authorized occupation because the Golden Rule, which is an argument that persuades jurors to place themselves within the place of the sufferer when contemplating a verdict, reported Fox 13.
‘Golden rule’ regulation can scupper convictions
The Golden Rule argument refers to an argument put forth by the prosecution in a jury trial, the place jurors are persuaded to think about themselves within the place of the sufferer in reaching a verdict that they would like the defendant to get.
The argument is taken into account improper and might be grounds for an attraction as a result of the jurors have to think about a case in an goal method and depend on proof alone, as an alternative of their emotions and biases.
That argument is taken into account legally improper as a result of jurors are anticipated to weigh a verdict objectively based mostly on proof alone, as an alternative of their private emotions.
Throughout a listening to in Florida Supreme Court docket on Thursday, Justice Jamie Grosshans intently scrutinized Harmon’s remarks and signaled she was leaning in direction of the place of the protection.
‘I’m attempting to determine how that’s not a Golden Rule violation,’ Grosshans mentioned, referring to the prosecutor’s speech.
Rick Buckwalter, the appellate legal professional for Florida, conceded that it was ‘an in depth name,’ however argued that Harmon didn’t cross the road.
Buckwalter claimed that the prosecutor was merely describing for the jurors Ritchie’s actions and made an offhand comment.
Roebuck, the appellant’s legal professional, insisted that there was nothing spontaneous about Harmon’s argument.
‘Mr. Harmon is a veteran prosecutor who has been prosecuting homicides for 20 years,’ she instructed the court docket. ‘He wrote out this argument, he gave it to colleagues, I assure you, and examined it. This was deliberate.’
The Florida Supreme Court docket on Thursday held a listening to in Ritchie’s case
Justice Jamie Grosshans intently scrutinized Harmon’s remarks
Ritchtie’s appellate legal professional Rachel Roebuck, mentioned Harmon’s speech violated what is understood within the authorized occupation because the Golden Rule. Rick Buckwalter, the appellate legal professional for Florida, mentioned Harmon didn’t cross the road
The seven justices of the state Supreme Court docket didn’t attain a call in Ritchie’s case this week.
If the inmate wins on attraction, he can be granted a brand new sentencing trial to find out whether or not he will get life in jail or the demise penalty once more.
Ritchie was discovered responsible in 2019 of first-degree homicide, sexual battery and aggravated little one abuse in reference to Felecia’s demise.
Throughout his sentencing listening to final yr, Felecia’s father shocked the courtroom by telling his daughter’s killer that he forgave him.
”I am not like everyone else, bro. I ain’t received no sick will in opposition to you,’ mentioned Jerome Williams, WREG studies.
Ritchie and Felecia didn’t know one another earlier than they met on Might 16, 2014, however they have been each shut with Eboni Wiley, who was the person’s then-girlfriend and the lady’s neighbor and household pal.
Ritchie was discovered responsible in 2019 of first-degree homicide, sexual battery and aggravated little one abuse in reference to Felecia’s demise, and obtained the demise penalty in September 2020
Throughout Ritchie’s sentencing listening to, Felecia’s father, Jerome Williams (proper), forgave his daughter’s killer
On the day of the homicide, Felecia left dwelling with Wiley and went to Ritchie’s mom’s residence on the Doral Oaks Residence complicated.
Ritchie instructed Wiley, who was child sitting Felecia, to go away the house to purchase marijuana.
Ritchie then sexually assaulted and strangled the lady whereas Wiley was away, prosecutors mentioned throughout his trial.
When Wiley returned practically an hour later, Ritchie claimed that he gave Felecia cash to go purchase sweet at a close-by CVS retailer and she or he had not returned.
Based on the Tamp Bay Occasions, prosecutors mentioned that Ritchie raped and strangled the younger lady earlier than stuffing her physique right into a suitcase.
Later that evening, Ritchie drove to the Courtney Campbell Causeway the place he dumped Felecia’s physique into the bay.
Wiley initially instructed investigators that Felecia had run away whereas she and Ritchie had intercourse in a bed room, however she later admitted she lied.
Wiley was witness in Ritchie’s trial, and was charged with mendacity throughout a lacking particular person investigation.
In October 2020, she pleaded responsible to mendacity to regulation enforcement and was later sentenced to 75 days in jail and 5 years of probation.