An alarming Supreme Court ruling against an innocent man
by Lisa Rea
It is hard to fathom the actions of the Supreme Court at times. This ruling is one of those times. Read the case of John Thompson, a wrongfully convicted man in New Orleans who spent 14 years on death row for a crime he did not commit.
I have written of a case like this previously (i.e. exoneree Greg Wilhoit on Oklahoma's death row) but this case has a different twist. The exoneree was seeking compensation from the District Attorney for the years he spent on death row because a prosecutor who worked for his office hid evidence that would have freed him---a blood test among other things. The Supreme Court ruling (5-4) written by Justice Clarence Thomas states that while there was "misconduct" by the prosecutor (Ginsburg points out there were actually four prosecutors involved), that "did not prove deliberate indifference" by the District Attorney.
An update on Greg Wilhoit
By Lisa Rea:
This is an update on Greg Wilhoit. As I said to Greg's sister, Nancy, I am thrilled to hear of his remarkable recovery since six months ago most of us thought he was going to leave us. But God had other plans. Greg is doing so well in that he is walking (with the help of a walker) when it looked like he would never walk again. We are very thankful. He also has some big news: he was getting married this month in Oklahoma to Judy, a woman he's known for 25 years! Greg will be honored in Texas in October 2010 during an event hosted by the Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing when the organization barnstorms the state with its message of hope and healing as it embraces restorative justice and stands against the death penalty.
New UNC Senator laments tragedy of T&T prison system
from Jai Parasram's blog:
Opposition Senator Verna St Rose Greaves made an emotional appeal to government Tuesday to improve prison conditions in Trinidad and Tobago as part of a strategy for dealing with crime.
In her maiden speech in the Upper House, St Rose Greaves spoke about the country's high crime rate and in particular the recent murder of four members of one family.
“When they rolled those four coffins out, it rocked me to my core. So if I cry, I apologise, but I cry for the nation as we have ignored our responsibilities,” St Rose Greaves said in her contribution to the debate on the Prison Amendment Bill.
Greg Wilhoit: The story of an innocent man
by Lisa Rea
I have a friend whose name is Greg Wilhoit. His story is a remarkable one. He is an exoneree who was freed from death row in Oklahoma after having served time for a crime he did not commit. He was convicted and sent to death row for the killing of his wife. The only incriminating "evidence" which convicted Greg Wilhoit was teeth marks found on the victim's body. Dental "experts" said the teeth marks matched Greg's.
What is justice? State program brings victims and offenders face to face
Martha Early, a middle-aged single mother, and Andrew Papke, the chaplain's assistant, sit silently across from each other in the chapel, their hands clasped tightly across a wooden table. To Early's right sits a stack of pictures of her daughter Beth, killed -- along with her boyfriend, Daniel London -- by a teenage drunken driver in 1996. In front of her sits a well-worn binder bursting with colorful stationery and letters full of memories of Beth; she brought them to share with Andrew. Next to the binder is her Bible.
Early gazes at Papke with a look of calm sadness, while Papke's head hangs solemnly. Seconds turn into minutes, and neither one moves. It seems as if the slightest murmur would send them back to earth, where they will be forced to communicate with words.
Finally, Early squeezes Papke's hand.
"I love you, Andrew," she whispers.
"I love you, too," he answers hoarsely.
Within moments, Papke's arms -- the very same arms that steered a car headlong into Beth Early -- are encircling her mother. After engaging in a brief hug, Martha Early gets ready to begin her three-hour drive back to Austin. Andrew returns to his prison cell at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, where he is serving 40 years for intoxication manslaughter.
The Monitor's View: Seattle cop-killer case – the exception, not the rule
from the Christian Science Monitor's editorial:
The case of the ambush and killing of four police officers in a coffee shop near Seattle on Sunday is exceptionally troubling – emphasis on exceptionally.
Four police officers shot, execution-style. Their families struggle to recover as they mourn. The suspect, Maurice Clemmons – released from jail just days before the ambush, despite a long history of violent crime and known mental problems. After a massive manhunt, he's dead, too, shot early Tuesday by a policeman investigating a stolen car.
The extraordinary nature of this crime is why it's captured the nation's attention. But it's also a reason for caution. High-profile crimes have a tendency to rank emotion over reason when it comes to the criminal justice system.