Luis Ramirez

Luis RamirezInmate executed despite appeals

Compiled from various sources
4WardEver Campaign May 2008

News updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item

On 20th October 2005 Luis Ramirez, a Hispanic man, was executed after being convicted of hiring Edward Bell to kill 19-year-old Nemicio Nandin, on 8th April 1998. Ramirez’s conviction was largely based on the testimony of Tim Hoogstra who claims that Bell informed him of the murder and of Ramirez’s role in the murder. Nandin was dating Ramirez’s ex-wife, Dawn Holquin, at the time of the murder.

Ramirez’s attempts to appeal his conviction and sentence were halted by the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). Under the AEDPA, Ramirez would have to obtain a Certificate of Appealability in order to appeal a denial of his habeas petition.

Federal courts are required by the AEDPA to give deference to the lower court in considering habeas petitions. Additionally, under the AEDPA Ramirez must prove to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the lower court’s ruling was unreasonable. Effectively, the AEDPA requires that Ramirez prove to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the lower court, to which the United States Court of Appeals is required to give deference, ruled unreasonably. Naturally, Ramirez was unable to overcome this burden of proof.

Ramirez also has been denied the opportunity to confront Edward Bell in person, although Bell’s out-of-court statements to Hoogstra, implicating Ramirez in the murder, were admitted in court. This denial violates Ramirez’s Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser.

Finally, a potential alibi witness for Ramirez was not heard at trial. Ramirez contends that this constitutes a failure on the part of his court-appointed trial counsel. Ramirez holds that he informed Rios of the existence of a possible alibi.

Unfortunately such a contention becomes a question of Ramirez’s word versus his trial lawyer’s. Under Texas law the state court may choose to disbelieve Ramirez without any further proof than his former attorney’s claim of competence.

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Follow-up News:

Luis Ramirez executed for 1998 murder plot
October 2005

Interview with Luis Ramirez

Cunnington Street mosaic fulfils artist’s promise to death row inmate
13 June 2006

Mosaic for Luis – Image 1 & Image 2
(Film from The Treatment Rooms)
A creative experimental no budget art documentary following the production of a 22ft by 6ft mosaic and ceramic wall, by art collective The Treatment Rooms, dedicated to Luis Ramirez.

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