Constitutional Law

Judge nixes convicted murderer's request for death penalty

Sentenced to 95 years for shooting a man outside an Indiana bar, including a 30-year enhancement for being a habitual offender, Walter Leach has asked for the death penalty.

But an La Porte Circuit Court judge turned down the 61-year-old’s request, saying that Leach hasn’t exhausted his administrative avenues for seeking a lethal injection within the state department of corrections. Additionally, said Judge Tom Alevizos, he himself has no statutory authority to impose the death penalty in such a case, WSBT reports.

Leach argued that Alevizos does have such authority because Leach is imprisoned in the same county in which Alevizos sits on the bench.

It’s not clear why Leach is seeking a death sentence, although he has unsuccessfully appealed his conviction.

A 1998 decision (PDF) by the Indiana Supreme Court provides further details about the murder case.

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