USA - Idaho. Supreme Court overturns Pizzuto's clemency
August 23, 2022:
Supreme Court overturns lower court in Pizzuto death penalty case, says guv can block commutation
The Idaho Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that Gov. Brad Little can block the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole's 4-3 decision to commute the sentence of terminally ill double murderer Gerald Pizzuto. The decision means the state can seek a death warrant for Pizzuto. Once issued, the warrant would set Pizzuto's execution by lethal injection in the next 30 days.
Pizzuto, 66, is terminally ill and has been under hospice care for two years. Little reversed the commission’s decision the same day it was issued, saying Pizzuto’s crimes merited execution.
Justice Greg Moeller, author of the court's majority opinion, found that the governor has the power under the Idaho Constitution to overturn the commission's decision, under a 1986 constitutional amendment regarding the commutation and pardon process.
Pizzuto was sentenced to death in 1986. The commission's 4-3 vote came in December of 2021, and Little immediately rejected it. Pizzuto appealed, winning a District Court ruling that the governor's move, and a state law section authorizing it, was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court.
Pizzuto has spent more than 3 decades on death row after being convicted for the July 1985 slayings of two gold prospectors at a cabin north of McCall. His execution had been scheduled for June 2021, but he asked for clemency because he has terminal bladder cancer, heart disease, diabetes and decreased intellectual function.
The state's Commission of Pardons and Parole voted 4-3 in December to recommend that his death sentence be commuted to life in prison, citing in part the torture and abuse that Pizzuto experienced as a child and his serious health problems. But Idaho Gov. Brad Little rejected that decision, saying the brutal nature of Pizzuto's crimes merited the death sentence.
https://www.idahopress.com/eyeonboise/unanimous-idaho-supreme-court-overturns-lower-court-in-pizzuto-death-penalty-case-says-guv-can/article_a4c18f8c-232f-11ed-ae8f-675fb51089ec.html (Source: idahopress.com, 23/08/2022)