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(Shreveport Times)   Louisiana prosecutors file a Motion of "Whoops Our bad" to free a man who has spent the last 30 years on death row for a 1983 murder he's always claimed he didn't commit   (shreveporttimes.com) divider line 16
    More: Followup, Glenn Ford, death row, prosecutors, murders, Isadore Rozeman, motions, Louisiana Supreme Court, Caddo Parish  
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4601 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Mar 2014 at 12:30 PM (27 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-11 01:17:54 PM
3 votes:

the8re: Know what? it must be snowing in hell, because I actually do believe an article on Fark has changed my mind about capital punishment. It's just been too many for me to feel comfortable with it.

So, I'm now a life in prison guy. Just keep the cement benches for them to sleep on, just in case.


I was in Illinois, doing criminal defense work (in a law school clinic)  when the death penalty moratorium was imposed.   There were two things that triggered it: 1) a series of Chicago Tribune articles showing that in the past two decades Illinois had exonerated exactly as many death row inmates as they had executed- 13 each, 2) an anti-death penalty group staged a "march of the exonerated" having the men freed from death row walk in relay carrying a petition to end the death penalty from Chicago to Springfield.  The man they chose for the last leg who delivered the petition into Gov. Ryan's hands was a man who had been literally hours away from execution when the evidence that exonerated him came to light.   Someone standing next to Ryan at the time told me he was visibly  shaken on meeting the man and kept muttering "we measured him for his coffin"

Even for a corrupt dirtbag like Ryan, that was too much, and the Death Penalty effectively ended in Illinois that day.


My own experience defending death row inmates also converted me from mildly in favor to vehemently opposed.  Even if you did not share my moral qualms about the state intentionally ending a human life, if you experience first hand, I can not imagine you could ever come away with any impression other than that the criminal justice system is FAR to broken to ever allow the kind of certainty and fairness the Death penalty demands
2014-03-11 12:35:44 PM
3 votes:
But our justice system needs the death penalty, as a deterrent to show people who don't commit crimes that they shouldn't commit crimes, otherwise this will happen to you... oh.
2014-03-11 02:07:57 PM
2 votes:

EggSniper: Magorn: My own experience defending death row inmates also converted me from mildly in favor to vehemently opposed.  Even if you did not share my moral qualms about the state intentionally ending a human life, if you experience first hand, I can not imagine you could ever come away with any impression other than that the criminal justice system is FAR too broken to ever allow the kind of certainty and fairness the Death penalty demands

That's a key point for me as well.  Cases go to trial because the evidence isn't completely unambiguous.  If there was no question as to guilt then there's a financial incentive for the state to offer a non-capital charge to which the suspect can plead guilty (of course there are plenty of innocent people in prison because they were scared into avoiding trial and a harsher sentence).  Where there's uncertainty there's room for a convincing argument to be made either way, and always the possibility that the decision can be changed later.  You can release someone early, but you can't undo killing them.

As for the arguments that life in prison is worse than death, my suggestion is a mechanism allowing for assisted suicide for anyone in prison (essentially including the option for assisted suicide as part of standard medical and mental health care for all inmates).  You could have a ridiculously elaborate screening and consent process that would still cost way less than appeals - essentially replacing a revaluation of guilt, weighing all sorts of external factors, to simply an evaluation of sanity and competence to make the decision to end one's own life.  Ironically there may be a greater moral stigma against suicide than there is against execution, so it's obviously a tough sell.


Bingo.  I like to say that those who get the death penalty with a few exceptions fall into three main categories:

1) Those who either did not do it, or a mentally ill enough to BELIEVE they did not do it
2) Those against who the case for their guilt is very weak or in some way suspect
3) those with VERY bad lawyers

Here's the thing, if the case against you is strong, and you know you are guilty and are a rational person, in a capital case you will look for a plea deal. And with a few high-profile exceptions like the Boston Bomber or Timothy McVeigh, the prosecutor WILL offer that deal because they know, that no matter how strong the evidence is, crazy shiat can happen in a courtroom, or in the jury room, and while most people will be satisfied if you get life in prison for a notorious or heinous killer,   you'll be out of a job if you take a case like that to trial and the bad guy walks.

So unless your lawyer is lousy, almost all capital eligible cases (and indeed 90% of all criminal cases) end in a plea deal.

Now if the evidence isn't strong and the case isn;t good, there is a chance that even a rational, well-represented guilty man would decide to take thier chances at trial, which is why so many capital cases do seem to be MORE ambiguous as to the defendant's guilt  than average criminal cases not less

In my limited experience with DP cases, I've met an actual murderer who was framed for a second murder by the cops to make him DP eligible (something that was only able to be conclusively proven a few years ago, after the real murderer let his attorneys produce the murder weapon after he died)  and he has spent 20 years on death row (but will never get out of jail because of the murder he DID commit)

Two men who were obscenely innocent but the victim of corrupt small town goings on involving organized crime (48 hours did a special on the case at one point)   and yet spent more than 20 years each on death row.

A Man who may or may not have committed his crime, but believed  he was dying of AIDS and that he had fatally infected his girlfriend , ater finding out he was HIV+ just before trial, and whose lawyer had interviewed for a position at the prosecutor's office just before taking the case and put on virtually NO defense.

A man whose confession was literally tortured out of him by a police captain (a fact that earned him $3 million later one)

etc etc

In all that time I never met ONE unambiguously guilty man on death row.   I DID met plenty of murderous awful scumbags doing life, but none on the Row
2014-03-11 01:38:24 PM
2 votes:

Magorn: the8re: Know what? it must be snowing in hell, because I actually do believe an article on Fark has changed my mind about capital punishment. It's just been too many for me to feel comfortable with it.

So, I'm now a life in prison guy. Just keep the cement benches for them to sleep on, just in case.

I was in Illinois, doing criminal defense work (in a law school clinic)  when the death penalty moratorium was imposed.   There were two things that triggered it: 1) a series of Chicago Tribune articles showing that in the past two decades Illinois had exonerated exactly as many death row inmates as they had executed- 13 each, 2) an anti-death penalty group staged a "march of the exonerated" having the men freed from death row walk in relay carrying a petition to end the death penalty from Chicago to Springfield.  The man they chose for the last leg who delivered the petition into Gov. Ryan's hands was a man who had been literally hours away from execution when the evidence that exonerated him came to light.   Someone standing next to Ryan at the time told me he was visibly  shaken on meeting the man and kept muttering "we measured him for his coffin"

Even for a corrupt dirtbag like Ryan, that was too much, and the Death Penalty effectively ended in Illinois that day.


My own experience defending death row inmates also converted me from mildly in favor to vehemently opposed.  Even if you did not share my moral qualms about the state intentionally ending a human life, if you experience first hand, I can not imagine you could ever come away with any impression other than that the criminal justice system is FAR to broken to ever allow the kind of certainty and fairness the Death penalty demands


I strongly suggest that you write an article about your experience and sent it to local newspapers.
2014-03-11 04:35:49 PM
1 votes:

Cataholic: FlashHarry: DrBenway: If that's the case, what's he singling out the newspaper for?

he thinks it's racist to point out that the jury was racist.

Almost as racist as assuming white people on a jury are racist just because they are white.


No, he's pointing out that the white people on a Shreveport, LA jury in 1984 were likely to be somewhat racist.

Stepping back even farther, he's insinuating that the system that managed to seat an all-white jury in 1984 for the murder trial of a black guy, in a city with a population that was over 1/3 black at the time... might be a little more racist than we're giving it credit for.
2014-03-11 02:40:17 PM
1 votes:

FlashHarry: DrBenway: If that's the case, what's he singling out the newspaper for?

he thinks it's racist to point out that the jury was racist.


That's more along the lines of what I was supposing, but I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Or else a little more rope, if you like -- it's interesting then to see whether they use it to save themselves or hang themselves.
2014-03-11 02:20:25 PM
1 votes:

DrBenway: If that's the case, what's he singling out the newspaper for?


he thinks it's racist to point out that the jury was racist.
2014-03-11 01:50:54 PM
1 votes:

FormlessOne: ...and this is, once again, why I support our governor's suspension of the death penalty. Until we can be sure, absolutely sure, that a person deserves to die for the crime he or she committed, then no one should die. I'd rather put hundreds of heinous scumbags behind bars for life without parole than kill 1 innocent person.


The whole debate ends right at this line of reasoning.  There are some people who think "Life in prison isn't enough" for some unspecified reason.  That's all that divides you from the other people.  They think somehow killing a person achieves some unspoken(or in the case of deterrence, undemonstrated) goal.
2014-03-11 01:46:39 PM
1 votes:

Pincy: Waiting for all the law-and-order types to defend the death penalty.  This guy should have died long ago, right?  What I waste of tax payer money to keep some guy alive for 30 years when he's been convicted to die.  The system has not only failed this man but failed the tax payers as well.  The death penalty is no deterrent if you get to live for 30 years after you've been sentenced.


Once again, I have to point out that the death penalty really wouldn't deter anything that 10 years in the joint doesn't. Actual murderers either have really piss-poor impulse control, or think they're too clever to ever be caught. There are also a few who, for some weird reason, actually seem to want the death penalty. How do I know? I worked maintenance in a prison for a while at one point. Saw and heard some interesting things. Mind you, I'm not totally opposed to the death penalty. I just think it should only be applied to those who have already received life without, and are continuing patterns of behavior that result in additional deaths or otherwise render the prison system more dangerous than need be. Currently, we export shot-callers who have become too troublesome to other institutions or other prison systems, where they can then recruit new inmates and expand their criminal enterprise. It would be much better if we could just eliminate the farkers entirely.
2014-03-11 01:45:23 PM
1 votes:

Magorn: My own experience defending death row inmates also converted me from mildly in favor to vehemently opposed.  Even if you did not share my moral qualms about the state intentionally ending a human life, if you experience first hand, I can not imagine you could ever come away with any impression other than that the criminal justice system is FAR too broken to ever allow the kind of certainty and fairness the Death penalty demands


That's a key point for me as well.  Cases go to trial because the evidence isn't completely unambiguous.  If there was no question as to guilt then there's a financial incentive for the state to offer a non-capital charge to which the suspect can plead guilty (of course there are plenty of innocent people in prison because they were scared into avoiding trial and a harsher sentence).  Where there's uncertainty there's room for a convincing argument to be made either way, and always the possibility that the decision can be changed later.  You can release someone early, but you can't undo killing them.

As for the arguments that life in prison is worse than death, my suggestion is a mechanism allowing for assisted suicide for anyone in prison (essentially including the option for assisted suicide as part of standard medical and mental health care for all inmates).  You could have a ridiculously elaborate screening and consent process that would still cost way less than appeals - essentially replacing a revaluation of guilt, weighing all sorts of external factors, to simply an evaluation of sanity and competence to make the decision to end one's own life.  Ironically there may be a greater moral stigma against suicide than there is against execution, so it's obviously a tough sell.
2014-03-11 12:47:31 PM
1 votes:

ikanreed: mayIFark: Besides the point: why would you need 30 years to hang someone?

Yes, it would've been much better if we had just killed an innocent man.


Texas would have murdered him years ago.
2014-03-11 12:45:23 PM
1 votes:
Such is the state of these stories that I'm actually impressed with the prosecution here for realizing they botched it.

In the last case I read on Fark, a man was convicted of rape/murder based on his lost jacket being found near the woman's body in the woods.  Years later, when the fluids inside her were tested and the DNA wasn't his, the prosecution tried to claim that the ~80 year old woman had casual sex with some other guy (therefore the DNA was irrelevant), but they totally definitely prosecuted the right person.
2014-03-11 12:39:06 PM
1 votes:

mayIFark: Besides the point: why would you need 30 years to hang someone?


Because it takes 30 years to discover you' re wrong
2014-03-11 12:38:02 PM
1 votes:
Know what? it must be snowing in hell, because I actually do believe an article on Fark has changed my mind about capital punishment. It's just been too many for me to feel comfortable with it.

So, I'm now a life in prison guy. Just keep the cement benches for them to sleep on, just in case.
2014-03-11 12:37:56 PM
1 votes:
Good on them for trying to make this right, but  Smitty, everyone says they're innocent.
2014-03-11 12:35:54 PM
1 votes:
Besides the point: why would you need 30 years to hang someone?
 
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