UPDATE: 11/14/12

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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby brainman » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:19 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:The death penalty, IF the accused is guilty, serves justice; and that is all the justification it needs.


:iagree:
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby Charles L. Cotton » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:50 pm

koolaid wrote:
Charles L. Cotton wrote:Here's a link to a site I know nothing about, other than it claims to take the data from FBI reports. It appears to be an anti-death penalty site. http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder- ... -and-state

If the numbers are correct, it disproves the argument that non-death penalty states have a lower overall murder rate. Many states with very low murder rates per 100,000 are also very small states and this is significant. You can't compare tiny states to Texas, California, New York and other much larger states.


I'm not sure where you are getting this from, because looking at the stats on that page:

For 2011, the average Murder Rate of Death Penalty States was 4.7, while the average Murder Rate of States without the Death Penalty was 3.1

For 2010, the average Murder Rate of Death Penalty States was 4.6, while the average Murder Rate of States without the Death Penalty was 2.9

For 2009, the average Murder Rate of Death Penalty States was 4.9, while the average Murder Rate of States without the Death Penalty was 2.8

For 2008, the average Murder Rate of Death Penalty States was 5.2, while the average Murder Rate of States without the Death Penalty was 3.3

You can click around that site and find other stats comparing neighboring states with different policies, and detailed breakdowns of the rates.

Charles L. Cotton wrote:For purposes of this discussion, note that California has the death penalty, but it isn't used. The 2011 murder rate was 4.8 and that's the lowest in many years. It was 9.1 in 1996. Compare that to Texas with a 4.4 murder rate.

I'm not arguing that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime in the U.S.; I simply don't know, nor do I care. If someone is philosophically against executing murderers then that's fine. That's their belief and their opinion and we disagree. I'm not going to try to change their mind and they are wasting their time trying to change mine. I believe that, in most cases, murderers deserve to die.

For those who argue the murder rate in non-death penalty states is lower than in death penalty states, the stats seem to disprove this argument. Plus, many states have a death penalty statute, but is rarely if every used. That certainly is no deterrent, but again, I don't care.

Chas.


Here is where we differ, I guess. I'm not opposed to executing murderers, rapists, and various other criminals. But the fact of it is that innocent people are convicted of crimes they didn't commit all the time. Our justice system isn't perfect, and it never can be. Having the state kill someone doesn't leave any room for mistakes, and having the state murder an innocent person is a (in my opinion) a far more heinous crime than letting a murderer rot in prison.


Trying to argue that overall averages for all death penalty states v. all non-death penalty states is a smoke screen. Many of the non-death penalty states are tiny, but they have the same impact on the overall percentage. Look at the individual states to get a realistic comparison. Those stats disprove the argument that death penalty states have lower murder rates. Some do, some don't and the population size is significant. As I noted, that site is an anti-death penalty website and they are playing fast and loose with the facts. They deliberately distorted the data by grouping the states regardless of population.

I agree that some very few innocent people are convicted, but it doesn't happen "all the time" as you contend. I'm still waiting to see the list of the dozen Texas death row inmates who were wrongfully convicted. When wrongful convictions do happen, it's usually because the prosecutor, COP, witness, or some combination thereof, lied, falsified evidence or testimony, or hid evidence proving the defendant was innocent. When this happens, I think everyone involved should suffer the maximum penalty the defendant faced, including execution. Execute a few prosecutors who hid evidence of innocence and convictions of innocent people will indeed be rare.

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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby Jumping Frog » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:01 pm

Charles L. Cotton wrote:I agree that some very few innocent people are convicted, but it doesn't happen "all the time" as you contend. I'm still waiting to see the list of the dozen Texas death row inmates who were wrongfully convicted. When wrongful convictions do happen, it's usually because the prosecutor, COP, witness, or some combination thereof, lied, falsified evidence or testimony, or hid evidence proving the defendant was innocent. When this happens, I think everyone involved should suffer the maximum penalty the defendant faced, including execution. Execute a few prosecutors who hid evidence of innocence and convictions of innocent people will indeed be rare.

The other point to consider is the fact that apparently a dozen people on death row were exonerated and released looks to me like the system has substantial safeguards built into it and is working exactly as it should.

People can point to death row prisoners who were exonerated, but I have seen no proven cases where an innocent person was actually executed. That the first condition exists (exonerated convicts) does not prove that the second condition exists (wrongfully executed).
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby Heartland Patriot » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:22 pm

All the time, I see pictures of young kids who are murdered. They had such a short time on this planet and that time ended through no fault of their own. Each person is free, at least in the USA, to believe what they wish about what happens, or does not happen, after one's life ends. However, no matter how you look at that, the amount of time each of us has on this earth is finite; it WILL come to an end but hopefully much later than sooner. I find it absolutely morally bankrupt to believe that a person who WILLFULLY AND UNPROVOKED ends the life of another for their own PERSONAL GAIN, whether it be for enjoyment or monetary in nature, should still get to experience the remainder of their "natural" time here on this earth, even if it is under incarceration. Those who KNOW they are in prison for life, STILL HAVE THEIR LIFE, while the person they murdered is GONE FOREVER. I simply cannot fathom how someone might think that those kids' lives are less important than that of some murderer. But then again, I am one of those "mean conservatives".
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby baldeagle » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:34 pm

Here's my take on the death penalty. It's 100% effective at stopping murderers. It's a penalty, not a deterrent. If it was a deterrent, it would be called the capital murder deterrent.

If innocent people are executed, then there is something wrong with the legal system, not something wrong with its penalties.

Logic, sadly, has no place in any discussion of the death penalty.

EDIT: to answer the opponents and the curious: According to the ACLU 17 death row inmates have been exonerated by DNA testing. To me, that proves the legal system is working. According to Al Jazeera there are 3200 death row inmates in the US and 18 were executed as of May, 2012. According to the Death Penalty Information Center 10 possibly innocent men have been executed since 1983, 6 of them in Texas. In general, when I've researched these stories, there is as much doubt of their innocence as there is of their guilt, and the people claiming they are innocent are clearly biased by their obvious opposition to the death penalty.

For example, claims of innocence are often taken at face value, especially if the felon claimed innocence until they were executed. Another frequent claim is that DNA evidence "proves" someone is innocent when it simply proves that that one piece of evidence collected belonged to someone else.
Last edited by baldeagle on Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby srothstein » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:40 pm

There have been several points raised that I want to address at one time. The Penal Code establishes when the death penalty may be assessed, with a few additional requirements from the Code of Criminal Procedure. In general criminal theory, there are three reasons for the punishment established by the law. One reason is deterrence, one is punishment, and one is the protection of society. Our Penal Code actually does not mention protection but says rehabilitation.

Most people seem to focus on two different purposes of the penalty. The people against the death penalty tend to illustrate how it has failed as a deterrent (and most scientific studies seem to agree on this though there are a few which say otherwise). The people for the death penalty seem to look more at the punishment aspect. Obviously, the death penalty cannot possibly rehabilitate the suspect. It can be used for protection of society.

And it is from the protection aspect that we get the right to allow the state to execute people. If we can kill to defend ourselves, we can allow the state to kill in our place to defend people also. The best example of how the death penalty proves this point is the new allowance proposed for repeat child molesters. This is the group that would hurt someone else if released, so a death sentence is protecting some unknown victim from the future.

I happen to think the death penalty has failed as a deterrent. I also happen to think it is a fair punishment for some crimes (as in if you hurt one of my kids, I will kill you if the state does not). I also freely recognize that there are some flaws in our current application of the death penalty.

I think that it is arguable but the biggest flaw I can think of is the rush to execute. We changed our laws a few years back to make the execution quicker than it used to be. It is now averaging less than ten years when it used to take up to 30 years. And this is where I see the potential for a problem.

There have been some people, most notably Morton recently, who have been proven to be totally innocent of the crime for which they were originally sentenced. I disagree that 12 have been exonerated since many of them were not proven innocent. They were released because of a reasonable doubt, not innocence. And I see this as proof that our previous system was working. I don't care about the cost or the amount of time. Let the defendant make as many appeals as he wants. Retest evidence using new science. I want to be 100% positive that the person is guilty before we execute them and I don't care how long it takes.

And I really hate the argument of how much it costs to execute a person over life in prison. It is comparing apples and oranges. One is the cost of the legal aspect while the other is the cost of imprisonment. But even more important, since I am striving for justice, who cares. Justice is worth whatever it costs to get.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby cyphur » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:30 am

The prison system is as much a failure as the death penalty. You want to deter people? Let us bring back public executions, chop the hands off of thieves, execute all major sex offenders, make the punishment more than people are willing to bear.

When I hear that people do not mind doing a nickel in prison, that tells me prison is pointless. Lets save some money, teach them to work machinery, and let them build highways. My current taxpayer dollar ROI on the prison system is nada. That would be considered a failure in anywhere but public office/government.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby Vol Texan » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:00 pm

koolaid wrote:
Comparing against other countries doesn't really tell you much because of the other factors involved.

For instance, Sweden has no death penalty and a murder rate of 1 per 100k.



I'm sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree. I moved back from Singapore in 2011, and they have a (well-deserved) reputation for being one of the best (safest, cleanest, best opportunity) places to live abroad. They do have the death penalty, and between the years of 1994 & 1999, they had the highest per-capital rate of execution in the world.

It paid off, and they no longer have to execute so many people to get their point across: if you kill people, if you kidnap people, or if you smuggle drugs into their country (among other things), it will be a career-limiting decision for you. They don't care if you're local or foreign, or if the victim is local or foreign - they apply their rules quite evenly across the board.

And they don't do it nicely - no needles in the arm for the convicted. It's a rope for you, and you only get one appeal if you're convicted. If that appeal fails, then there's always an appeal to the president, but that doesn't have a good track record.

Under Section 316 of the Criminal Procedure Code:

"When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead but shall not state the place where nor the time when the sentence is to be carried out."

Hangings always take place at dawn on Friday and are by the long drop method developed in the United Kingdom by William Marwood. The executioner refers to the Official Table of Drops. The government have said that they:

"…had previously studied the different methods of execution and found no reason to change from the current method used, that is, by hanging."

Neither persons under the age of 18 at the time of their offence nor pregnant women can be sentenced to death.

Capital cases are heard by a single judge in the High Court of Singapore. After conviction and sentencing, the sentenced has one appeal to the Court of Appeal of Singapore. If the appeal fails, the final recourse rests with the President of Singapore, who has the power to grant clemency on the advice of the Cabinet. The exact number of successful appeals is unknown. Poh Kay Keong had his conviction overturned after the Court found his statement to a Central Narcotics Bureau officer was made under duress. Successful clemency applications are thought to be even rarer. Since 1965, the President's clemency has been granted six times. The last clemency was in May 1998 when Mathavakannan Kalimuthu received pardon from President Ong Teng Cheong with the sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

The condemned are given notice at least four days before execution. In the case of foreigners who have been sentenced to death, their families and diplomatic missions/embassies are given one to two weeks' notice.

Amnesty International reports that death row inmates are housed in cells of roughly 3 sqm (32 sq ft). Walls make up three sides, while the fourth is vertical bars. They are equipped with a toilet, sleeping mat and a bucket for washing. Exercise is permitted twice a day for half an hour at a time. Four days before the execution, the condemned is allowed to watch television or listen to the radio. Special meals of their choice are also cooked, if within the prison budget. Visitation rights are increased from one 20 minute visit per week to a maximum of four hours each day,[8] though no physical contact is allowed with any visitors.


Sure, they don't allow guns for private citizens. Even the police check their guns at the station when they go home at night!?! That being said, the threat of punishment was a VERY effective deterrent, and I never felt unsafe when in-country. My wife & 2-year old daughter could walk around in some of the sketchiest parts of town, and I'd never fear for their safety. It's inbred into their society that they don't accept crime, and they REALLY don't accept crime against expatriates. Certainly, many of the locals talked about how oppressive their society is (but there's more to that story than just 'no guns allowed'), but it was a great place to live as an expat.

Back here, both my wife and I are CHL holders, and we wouldn't dare leave the house without. We do love America (I'm a veteran, former LEO, Eagle Scout, etc / my beautiful wife is a newly minted US citizen for two years now) and the freedoms we have here, but we definitely appreciate the general feeling of comfort that we had knowing that they not only had the death penalty, but were not afraid to use it. It's that last part that we feel is lacking here in the US. If we were ever to return to that standard (and do so more publicly as Beiruty suggests below), I believe that it would become a much more effective deterrent.

Beiruty wrote:It is nice to compare the murder rate between KSA and USA. Both have death penalty, however, the former execute in public by sword (even kids and teens can watch said execution), the later behind dark curtains where no one see the execution but a handful of "witnesses". Why compare, cause Antis would claim that the execution has no deterrence for murder. Patently false.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby C-dub » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:00 pm

Charles L. Cotton wrote:

I agree that some very few innocent people are convicted, but it doesn't happen "all the time" as you contend. I'm still waiting to see the list of the dozen Texas death row inmates who were wrongfully convicted. When wrongful convictions do happen, it's usually because the prosecutor, COP, witness, or some combination thereof, lied, falsified evidence or testimony, or hid evidence proving the defendant was innocent. When this happens, I think everyone involved should suffer the maximum penalty the defendant faced, including execution. Execute a few prosecutors who hid evidence of innocence and convictions of innocent people will indeed be rare.

Chas.

Check my post on page 1 for a list Charles.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby canvasbck » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:18 pm

Having the execution carried out in public is not the only way to convert the death penalty into a true deterrent. The fact that the execution is not carried out until 14 years after the offense is a barrier to the punishment being an actual deterrent. If the sentence were carried out hours after last appeal, it would be much more effective.

On the earlier statement about ROI on money spent housing inmates, one needs only refer to the Texas criminal justice system prior to the early 80's when it was "reformed" by William Wayne Justice (the case was decided in 1979 but "reforms" were not completed until 1986). Prior to these reforms, prisoners raised food, made marketable products, even raised the horses used for mounted patrol. During those days, it cost Texas taxpayers approximately $0.00 to house an inmate. Now more is spent on an inmate for a year than the average family income of Texas residents. :banghead: Something is wrong with this picture.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby Luggo1 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:27 pm

koolaid wrote:I have always found it odd that the people who express the most distrust in the government and politics of the various courts are also the most adamant supporters of the death penalty.

There have been at least 12 people in Texas alone who sat on death row for years only to be exonerated.

But, it is what it is, I suppose.



Seeing the DP trial process work would be an eye opener for many, I think more people like you would have some qualms about what is done in your name. And no, I'm not an anti DP advocate, I do however know the process pretty well.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby Charles L. Cotton » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:05 pm

C-dub wrote:
Charles L. Cotton wrote:

I agree that some very few innocent people are convicted, but it doesn't happen "all the time" as you contend. I'm still waiting to see the list of the dozen Texas death row inmates who were wrongfully convicted. When wrongful convictions do happen, it's usually because the prosecutor, COP, witness, or some combination thereof, lied, falsified evidence or testimony, or hid evidence proving the defendant was innocent. When this happens, I think everyone involved should suffer the maximum penalty the defendant faced, including execution. Execute a few prosecutors who hid evidence of innocence and convictions of innocent people will indeed be rare.

Chas.

Check my post on page 1 for a list Charles.


I can't believe I'm spending this much time on this issue! I guess the attorney in me can't let it go.

First, citing an anti-death penalty website is problematic at best. It should be noted that in each of the cases cited, either the system did work, or it failed and allowed murderers to go free to walk among us. The vast majority of those convicted were not proven innocent; they won new trials for other reasons and charges we either dropped or they were acquitted by a second jury. As others have noted, an acquittal doesn't prove innocence. I may have missed one, but of the 11 cases I found on the biased anti-death penalty website, only one was proved to be innocent (Brantley). It could well be that the original conviction was the correct result, and later release or acquittal resulted in guilty people walking free.

When death penalty opponents point to cases like these, they usually overtly state that these people were "innocent" and that is rarely proven to be the case. As noted elsewhere, the lack of DNA at a crime scent means nothing, unless the victim was raped or has their attacker's DNA under their fingernails. Even then, it could simply be a matter of one attacker being scratched and others not. (This was not the case in any of those cited by the website.) One should also note that often when convictions are overturned, it is many years later and this makes retrying the case difficult because witness die, their memory fades, or they simply refuse to go through a trial again.

No one is more critical of crooked COPS or prosecutors than am I. Prosecutorial and/or law enforcement falsification of evidence should be punished harshly as I have repeatedly stated. If COPS and prosecutors go to prison or get executed for such conduct, it will stop.

My comments about the cited cases are noted below. In reading these case descriptions, remember the comments were drafted by an organization that opposes death penalty and is trying to get it repealed throughout the country. The descriptions are crafted with that goal in mind and their bias is readily apparent. In fairness, I deleted some their more absurd editorial comments, when they were not supported by any evidence. If you wish, you can see their full comments here: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocen ... -death-row

Chas.



Anti-Death Penalty Website wrote:Vernon McManus Texas Conviction: 1977, Charges Dismissed: 1987
After a new trial was ordered, the prosecution dropped the charges when a key prosecution witness refused to testify. [Not shown to be innocent, the witness refused to testify.]

Randall Dale Adams Texas Conviction: 1977, Charges Dismissed: 1989
Adams was convicted of killing a Dallas Police officer and sentenced to death. After the murder David Harris was arrested for the murder when it was learned that he was bragging about it. Harris, however, claimed that Adams was the killer. Adams trial lawyer was a real estate attorney and the key government witnesses against Adams were Harris and other witnesses who were never subject to cross examination because they disappeared the next day. On appeal, Adams was ordered to be released pending a new trial by the Texas Court of Appeals. [Not shown to be innocent, key witnesses were missing and the case couldn't be retried without witnesses.]

Clarence Brandley Texas Conviction: 1981, Charges Dismissed: 1990
Brandley was awarded a new trial when evidence showed prosecutorial suppression of exculpatory evidence and perjury by prosecution witnesses. An investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI uncovered more misconduct, and in 1989 a new trial was granted. Prior to the new trial, all of the charges against Brandley were dropped. [I'm very familiar with this case and I have no doubt he was innocent. Several "state employees" should be in prison. He was not executed and the appellate system worked.]

John C. Skelton Texas Conviction: 1983, Acquitted: 1990
Despite several witnesses who testified that he was 800 miles from the scene of the murder [juries have the job of judging the credibility of all witnesses[, Skelton was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a man by exploding dynamite in his pickup truck. The evidence against him was purely circumstantial [this is often the case as direct evidence is not required to convict in any state or the federal system]and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that it was insufficient to support a guilty verdict. The Court reversed the conviction and entered a directed verdict of acquittal. [Again, the system worked.]

Federico M. Macias Texas Conviction: 1984, Charges Dismissed: 1993
Macias was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a man during a burglary. Macias was implicated by a co-worker, who in exchange for his testimony was not prosecuted for the murders, and from jail-house informants. Post-conviction investigation by pro bono attorneys discovered substantial evidence of inadequate counsel. A federal district court ordered a new hearing finding that "[t]he errors that occurred in this case are inherent in a system which pays attorneys such a meager amount." Macias's conviction was overturned and a grand jury refused to reindict because of lack of evidence. [Not shown to be innocent. Also, there were witnesses against him and the federal court overturned the case allegedly because of low-paid attorney. Really?]

Muneer Deeb Texas Conviction: 1985, Acquitted: 1993
Deeb was originally sentenced to death for allegedly contracting with three hitmen to kill his ex-girlfriend. The hitmen were also convicted and one was sentenced to death. Deeb consistently claimed no involvement in the crime. Deeb's conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1991 because improper evidence had been admitted at his first trial. With an experienced defense attorney, Deeb was retried and acquitted in 1993. [No information about what "improper evidence was admitted in the trial. Testimony by accomplices is routinely used. Later acquittal doesn't prove innocence; it proves his 2nd attorney did a better job changing the jury's perception.]

Ricardo Aldape Guerra Texas Conviction: 1982, Charges Dismissed: 1997
Guerra was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer in Houston. Federal District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ruled on Nov. 15, 1994 that Guerra should either be retried in 30 days or released, stating that the actions of the police and prosecutors in this case were "outrageous," "intentional" and "done in bad faith." He further said that their misconduct "was designed and calculated to obtain . . . another 'notch in their guns.'" (Guerra v. Collins, 916 F. Supp. 620 (S.D. Texas, 1995)). Judge Hoyt's ruling was unanimously upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals. (Guerra v. Johnson, 90 F.3d 1075 (5th Cir. Tex. 1996)). Although Guerra was granted a new trial, Houston District Attorney Johnny Holmes dropped charges on April 16, 1997 instead. [A decision from Hoyt is . . . well it's a decision from Hoyt. If misconduct as he described existed, then everyone involved should be in prision now.]

Michael Blair Texas Conviction: 1994, Charges Dismissed: 2008
Michael Blair was sentenced to death for the 1993 murder of 7-year old Ashley Estell. In May 2008, following a re-investigation of the case by the Collin County prosecutor's office, District Attorney John Roach announced that in light of the results of advanced DNA testing and the absence of any other evidence linking him to the crime, Mr. Blair's conviction could no longer be upheld. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the decision of the Collin County trial court that:
"The post conviction DNA results and the evidence discovered in the State's new investigation have substantially eroded the State's trial case against [applicant]. This new evidence in light of the remaining inculpatory evidence in the record, has established by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable juror would have convicted [applicant] in light of newly discovered evidence." [Apparently the system worked, although it appears that the prosecutor was guilty of misconduct. If so, he should be in prison.]

Michael Toney, Texas Conviction: 1999, Charges Dismissed: 2009
Toney was released from jail on September 2, 2009 after the state dropped all charges against him for a 1985 bombing that killed three people. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Toney’s conviction on December 17, 2008 because the prosecution had suppressed evidence relating to the credibility of its only two witnesses. (Ex parte Toney, AP-76,056 (Tex. Crim. App. December 17, 2008)). The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office subsequently withdrew from the case based on the misconduct findings. In September 2009, the Attorney General's Office, which had been specially appointed to the case in the wake of Tarrant County’s withdrawal, dismissed the indictment against Toney. He had consistently maintained his innocence. The case had gone unsolved for 14 years until a jail inmate told authorities that Toney had confessed to the crime. The inmate later recanted his story, saying he had hoped to win early release. The state said it is continuing its investigation into the murders. Toney was killed in an automobile accident one month after his release. The state said it is continuing its investigation into the murders. [The defendant was already in prison for something and the state had a witness who said he confessed. The witness/convict later recanted and he was released. Again, he was not proven innocent.]

Robert Springsteen, Texas conviction: 2001, Charges dismissed: 2009
On October 28, 2009, Travis County, Texas, prosecutors moved to dismiss all charges against Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen, who had been convicted of the murder of four teens in an Austin yogurt shop in 1991. (Springsteen was convicted in 2001; Scott in 2002.) Springsteen had been sentenced to death and Scott was sentenced to life in prison. The convictions of both men were overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals because they had not been adequately allowed to cross examine each other. (See Springsteen v. Texas, No. AP-74,223 (May 24, 2006)). State District Judge Mike Lynch had released the defendants on bond in June, pending a possible retrial by the state. However, sophisticated DNA analysis of evidence from the crime scene did not match either defendant and the prosecution announced it was not prepared to go to trial. The judge accepted the state's motion to dismiss all charges. Prosecutors are still trying to match the DNA from crime with a new defendant. [I remember this case well. This involved the murder of 4 kids and the lack of DNA from the defendants is meaningless. One wouldn't expect to find DNA at the scene; in rape, no bleeding from the defendants, etc. Also, one or more of the defendants confessed to the murder, but there was concern about how the confession was obtained. Again, either the system worked, or guilty men are walking free.]

Anthony Graves, Texas conviction: 1994, Charges dismissed: 2010
Anthony Graves (pictured) was released from a Texas prison on October 27 after Washington-Burleson County District Attorney Bill Parham filed a motion to dismiss all charges that had resulted in Graves being sent to death row 16 years ago. Graves was convicted in 1994 of assisting Robert Carter in multiple murders in 1992. There was no physical evidence linking Graves to the crime, and his conviction relied primarily on Carter’s testimony that Graves was his accomplice. Two weeks before Carter was scheduled to be executed in 2000, he provided a statement saying he lied about Graves’s involvement in the crime. He repeated that statement minutes before his execution. In 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned Graves’s conviction and ordered a new trial after finding that prosecutors elicited false statements and withheld testimony that could have influenced the jurors. [No evidence, much less proof, of innocence. The accomplice stated he was involved, then later recanted a mere two weeks before the accomplice was executed. That case should never have been overturned.]
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby jimlongley » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:30 pm

Charles L. Cotton wrote:When wrongful convictions do happen, it's usually because the prosecutor, COP, witness, or some combination thereof, lied, falsified evidence or testimony, or hid evidence proving the defendant was innocent. When this happens, I think everyone involved should suffer the maximum penalty the defendant faced, including execution. Execute a few prosecutors who hid evidence of innocence and convictions of innocent people will indeed be rare.

Chas.


Boy could I vote for that. Not having been directly a victim, except in one unusual circumstance which was resolved in my favor, but my brother was set up and plead guilty to felony conspiracy to distribute, and I would love to see the cops, prosecutor and JUDGE serve the same time he did, and have a felony conviction for the rest of their lives.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby C-dub » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:22 pm

Sorry about that Charles. I had never been to that site before and didn't know of it's reputation. I only did a quick search and scanned for the names after you expressed doubt about there being a dozen wrongfully convicted folks on death row here in Texas. I would have bet money that there were easily a dozen since I seem to recall there being at least 4 having been set free in the last few years.
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Re: UPDATE: 11/14/12

Postby baldeagle » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:22 pm

C-dub wrote:Sorry about that Charles. I had never been to that site before and didn't know of it's reputation. I only did a quick search and scanned for the names after you expressed doubt about there being a dozen wrongfully convicted folks on death row here in Texas. I would have bet money that there were easily a dozen since I seem to recall there being at least 4 having been set free in the last few years.

Convicted persons being set free are proof the system works. They are not proof that innocent people are executed. That is a logical fallacy known as false dichotomy. It is equally true that because convicted people have been released that innocent people may have been convicted and that because convicted people are released no innocent person has ever been executed. The premise does not lead to the conclusion.

There are many variables involved in crime scenes. The fact that my DNA is found at a crime scene means I was there or someone planted it there. It does not logically follow, however, that I committed the crime. I may have a perfectly logical explanation that accords with the known evidence that "proves" that I did not commit the crime. It's equally true that the fact that I don't have an alibi for the time a crime was committed proves nothing about my guilt or innocence. That's why we have jury trials. The jury must weigh all the evidence and decide beyond a reasonable doubt, that I am guilty of the crime before I can be convicted. If my DNA is found at the scene and I don't have an alibi and I had a contentious relationship with the deceased then a jury may conclude that I was involved. That doesn't mean that I was. It means the jury believes I was.

That's how our system works. And it's the best system in the world. Unfortunately some will abuse the system. Charles is right. The abusers should go before a jury of their peers, and, if found guilty, suffer the same fate as the wrongly accused who was convicted.
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