Monday, August 1, 2011

The Impending Execution of Manuel Valle

Manuel Valle sits on death row, and has done so for 33 years now, awaiting execution by the people of Florida. From an early one of his many appeals, I offer the brief, oft-repeated statement of facts.
On April 2, 1978, Officer Louis Pena of the Coral Gables Police Department was on patrol when he stopped appellant and a companion for a traffic violation. The events that followed were witnessed by Officer Gary Spell, also of the Coral Gables Police Department. Officer Spell testified that when he arrived at the scene, appellant was sitting in the patrol car with Officer Pena. Shortly thereafter, Spell heard Pena use his radio to run a license check on the car appellant was driving. According to Spell, appellant then walked back to his car and reached into it, approached Officer Pena and fired a single shot at him, which resulted in his death. Appellant also fired two shots at Spell and then fled. He was picked up two days later in Deerfield Beach. Following his jury trial, appellant was also found guilty of the attempted first-degree murder of Spell and after a non-jury trial, he was found guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
His conviction was apparently based, at least in part, on a confession. One of the grounds for appeal was that his confession should not have been allowed before the jury because he was not properly Mirandized.

I find no one, not even Manuel Valle, who claims that Valle did not commit the crime for which he is to die. Therefore, with respect to the propriety of his execution, I stand mute.