The Case of George Rivas on Texas Death Row
I saw the case of George Rivas on Court TV last night. The story is interesting for many reasons. He was a college student with two children. He was born on May 6, 1970. He committed several robberies, but always took care to see that his victims were not injured.
His first downfall came in El Paso, Texas, when he posed as a company investigator investigating company theft. He took 13 people prisoner while robbing their store. The police happened by and arrested him. For this, he was given 13 life sentences, one for each person he detained, even though nobody was injured.
George Rivas mug shot on Texas Death Row
After several years in prison, Rivas engineered a brilliant escape with six of his fellow prisoners. In December, 2000, they escaped in a prison van. Nobody was injured. They later stole a car to get rid of the van. They then robbed a store for $70,000 and again nobody was injured.
With this $70,000, they purchased a SUV and drove to Colorado. Posing as Bible Reading Christian Missionaries, they lived in a trailer camp site for several weeks. Unfortunately, somebody recognized them from a website and they were arrested.
During their more than one month on the run, they had committed a robbery in Dallas. A police officer had happened by. They told the officer several times to put his hands up, but he did not do so. Finally, he was shot and killed. Some of the members of the Dallas 7 were unhappy about this, especially since they always had gone to great lengths to make sure that nobody was ever hurt. This probably contributed to their ultimate capture.
Because of this killing, George Rivas and the other members of the Dallas 7 were tried for murder, except for Larry Harper who had died, perhaps by suicide, when they were being arrested. Rivas, as the leader of the group, received the death sentence, although he was not the triggerman. Two others, Michael Rodriguez and Donald Newberry, received the death sentence as well. They are all now on Texas Death Row and their pictures are available on the Texas Death Row website.
This does raise some question about Texas Justice under Governor George W. Bush. Thirteen life sentences seems to be excessive for a simple robbery in which nobody was injured. This excessive sentence drove George Rivas to try to escape from prison. The fact that in the course of his criminal career, which included several other robberies plus an escape from prison, nobody was ever injured in even the slightest way, except for the unfortunate incident in Dallas which was clearly not the fault of Rivas, it seems that the death penalty might be excessive.
Here are links:
- Why Officials of the "Commonwealth of Virginia" can robb, steal, kidnap and kill with impunity, and often do so
- Escape of the Texas Seven, George Rivas
- Texas Death Row website
- Today's New York Times Examines the Earl Washington case
- Reforming the Virginia Death Penalty System
- Bibi Lee, murder victim
- The Case of George Rivas on Texas Death Row
- MSNBC: Virginia's rush on death row
- Virginia about to execute Paraguayan, in violation of international law
- The Official Website of Joe Giarratano
- Law News Network: US Supreme Court reverses two Virginia Death Penalty Cases!
- US Supreme Court Opinion in Williams vs. Taylor I
- US Supreme Court Opinion in Williams vs. Taylor II
- Virginia destroys DNA evidence to prevent convictions from being overturned
- Joseph M. Giarratano award presented
- Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
- Envisioning: Religious Organizing Against the Death Penalty Project
- Amnesty International - Report - AMR 51/14/98 - Angel Francisco Breard: Facing Death in a Foreign Land
- Suit by Paraguay vs. United States in the International Court of Justice
- Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico - Defender of the White Race
- Cases of Wrongfully Incarcerated Prisoners in Virginia
- Expatriate Inmates, Shackled and Cold, Languish in Virginia
- The Case of Earl Washington
- Earl Bramblett on death row in Virginia: No Witness. No Murder Weapon. No Confession. No Motive!
- The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which gives each individual state immunity from suit by citizens
- Justice Department investigates deaths in Virginia's mental hospitals
- Serial Killers Still at Large in Virginia
- The Virginia 21-day rule
- The Guilty and the Innocent: An Examination of Alleged Cases of Wrongful Conviction from False Confessions
- Murray vs. Giarratano, 492 US 1 (1989)
- Loving vs. Virginia, 388 US 1 (1967)
- Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979)
- In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970)
- Is Virginia for Lovers? - Virginia's Oral Sex Laws
- Wanted for Kidnapping
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