Saturday, November 01, 2008

Executed man claimed innocence till the end

To update a prior post, after a stay in the case for last minute DNA testing which proved inconclusive, Gregory Wright became the 14th Texan executed in 2008. (Six more are scheduled between now and the end of November.) Today would have been Wright's 43rd birthday.

When you read the final statements of most executed offenders, at least those who choose to give them, they tend to express remorse, often apologizing to victim families, or else offering comfort to friends and family they're leaving behind. Wright's final statement was noteworthy because he defiantly maintained his innocence until the end, instead insisting that an informant who testified against him really did the deed:
John Adams lied. He went to the police and told them a story. He made deals and sold stuff to keep from going to prison. I left the house, and I left him there. My only act or involvement was not telling on him. John Adams is the one that killed Donna Vick. I took a polygraph and passed. John Adams never volunteered to take one.
Wright concluded, "Before you is an innocent man. I love my family. I'll be waiting on ya'll. I'm finished talking."

The Court of Criminal Appeals denied Wright's final habeas claim because "failed to make a prima facie case of actual innocence." I'm not saying he's innocent, mind you; a jury didn't think so and I've no way to know. But his final statement was strikingly different from most, that's for sure, and at that penultimate moment, a killer typically has nothing to lose by admitting their guilt.

One wonders: When an execution takes place under those circumstances, does it still bring "closure" for those involved?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

"But his final statement was strikingly different from most, that's for sure, and at that penultimate moment, a killer typically has nothing to lose by admitting their guilt."

That's just silly. Executed offenders proven guilty by DNA have claimed innocence on their death bed! Just because some 'fess up doesn't mean those who don't are really telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

In Texas, truth does not have much to do with justice. Claims of innocence and proof of guilt are man made concepts. The only thing for sure is we can never know "for sure".

Anonymous said...

I did not find closure when the actual killer of my friend Gil was executed, so I wouldn't expect someone to find it when a person proclaiming innocence is executed. The death penalty does not bring closure because it doesn't bring our loved ones back. It's as simple as that.

Snarly Old Fart said...

Some people are vindictive. When they are aggrieved, they want somebody to pay for it with their life. It doesn't matter who: anybody will do. Having another life taken on one's behalf gives some people a real thrill, it makes their own lives matter.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I would say, 9:48, that among those who give last statements, most do "fess up." Go read them if you think I'm wrong. For whatever reason, those claiming innocence are few and far between. Also, while I don't doubt that DNA later proved guilty executed inmates who claimed innocence in their final statements, I'm not immediately aware of those cases; please provide examples.

To 1:05 - I'm sorry about your friend Gil.. I've heard that from other victim friends and family before - that closure is a myth and isn't really possible - and from my own experiences with family members' deaths, that makes a lot of sense to me. However I've also met those who expressed great satisfaction at the death of their loved one's killer. I suppose it's because, in the face of such a tremendous loss, it's all the justice system offers folks, so it's welcomed and embraced.

Anonymous said...

Watch out for the next innocent one on the row, Frank Moore. I understand that his attorney has three affidavits that sow that he was acting in self defense and none of them had ever been found. The all saw someone take the guns off of the dead guys. Frank was never able to plead self defense. Why is it taking so long to get Franks case back to the COurts

Anonymous said...

And they executed ole innocent Monte Delk, who went kicking and screaming:

"I've got one thing to say, get your Warden off this gurney and shut up. I am from the island of Barbados. I am the Warden of this unit. People are seeing you do this."

Refusing your medications months prior to your execution never provides reliable "last statements."

FleaStiff said...

Factually innocent?
I don't know.
He was convicted. Nobody said trials were perfect.
It seems he accused someone else of the killing, someone he knew and associated with. Well, ... if he is not guilty of the murder, let him be executed for having gotten up with fleas. He made his decisions. He pays the price.
As to his statements? Why would anyone be listening to him? Ever?

Anonymous said...

I wanted to find a way to post this article that I think is foundational to the concerns of this blog -- justice.

It is particularly fitting now, the day before election day,(I intend to vote against all incumbent judges - it won't make for just judges but it could sweep out the entrenced worst judges) to come to a realization that there can be no fairness for the accused and incarcerated unless that den of vipers masquerading as judges meeting out justice are esposed...

http://www.banned-in-america.net/americans-murdering-their-judges.html


Thanks to progressive national radio host Thom Hartmann of the USA, for calling this article "brilliant", and to the reform group JAIL 4 Judges for saying this article was "the best and most inclusive article we have found written on the subject of the cover-up of judicial corruption."



Americans Murdering Their Judges,
and the US Crisis of Judicial Corruption


by Dr Les Sachs (Dr Leslie Sachs)


In the headlines are the appalling news stories of Americans carrying out murderous attacks on judges and their families. In a matter of days, one judge was shot and killed in his own courtroom, while another judge had family members brutally murdered in their home.

These news stories are, however, related to another news story, which is the most taboo subject of the American media - the expanding crisis of corruption among American judges and lawyers. At question is whether the deepening despair of Americans about their own legal system, is fueling some of these violent attacks on judges.

Much is written now about how America's economy is resembling that of a banana republic, given how America is sunk in preposterous debt, and how the US dollar currency is sinking toward a possible collapse in the near future.

But there is another way that America is also like a banana republic, in that its legal system - contrary to its Hollywood image - has become a sinkwell of secret proceedings, the jailing of the innocent, and political misconduct; and how it is sullied with documented corruption, fake trials and court fraud.

These facts are not generally understood, because of how judicial corruption is the most un-reported news story in the American landscape. It is the category of news story which America's newspapers and media are most afraid to report, even when clear proof is in their hands.

In America right now, judges - and lawyers who are protected by judges - can commit felony crimes in broad delight, leave the proof lying around, and yet avoid being prosecuted or even having their crimes be reported by the media. The people who work in the media see a lot of material on court misconduct, and yet they know this is the story of which they dare not speak. The lack of media coverage, in turn, encourages more judicial corruption, leaving millions of Americans in anger and despair.

Confronting the secrets of US judicial corruption, is a key to understanding America's whole social crisis, and its role in the world right now. Here are some elements of this situation that you won't see in run-of-the-mill news reports:

The innocent in USA courts: imprisoned, sentenced to death, losing all they have

The key statistic to understanding America, is that it has over 2.2 million prisoners (!) out of about 300 million people. This is 25 per cent of all the prisoners, anywhere, in the entire world. By comparison, the most populous nation, China, with about 1.3 billion people, only has a few hundred thousand prisoners, despite being denounced by the USA as a "repressive" country.

1 out of every 45 working-age males (that is, not counting children or the elderly) is BEHIND BARS in the United States. With working-age black males, the figures are about 1 out of 20. This is the stuff of revolution.

With so many Americans in jail right now, and many more having been to jail or on the way, the USA now has the world's biggest gulag. The United States of America is a giant machine for jailing people and making them afraid. With 2.2 million prisoners, America can be very casual about who it throws into prison. Estimates are that at least 5 per cent, or over 100,000 of these prisoners, are completely innocent. This is well shown by the fact that over 100 of the smaller group of prisoners who have recently been on death row in America - actually sentenced to be executed - have recently been freed, innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.

As it is so easy to railroad innocent people in America on capital murder charges, which have mandatory appeals, it is even easier to railroad people on lesser criminal charges, or in malicious lawsuits where victims lose all their money and property.

With judges and lawyers making so many mistakes, sending so many innocent people to prison, and wrecking so many lives with lawsuits, the drive to cover-up for judicial mistakes becomes obsessive. The US legal system cannot function without a cover-up. But a cover-up of judicial misconduct, becomes an invitation for corruption and bribery and more misconduct, and this vicious cycle keeps escalating.

In America's unique political landscape, the lawyers and judges have supreme power, both over themselves and over the political process. With the American theory of the "supreme" judiciary that is supposedly "independent" of politics, the recipe is there for a kind of "Praetorian Guard" mentality like in ancient Rome. In imperial Rome, the small army of the "Praetorian Guard" theoretically protected the emperor. But as the Praetorian Guard realized its power, they were able to become a law unto themselves, controlling the empire, even dictating to the emperor, and covering up for any of their own misdeeds.

This is the role of the judges in America right now. America needs its judges to keep order over its own far-flung empire. America's corporate rulers fear to expose the misconduct of judges, lest this empire start unraveling.

Since the judges are "supreme" in America, if people realise the judges are crooked, a revolution would be at hand.

US Judges as Goons for the Big Corporations

In United States regime, most major aspects of public life are now under the control of the US-based multi-national corporations, who have effectively and openly bought and paid for everything in the American "system":
- The corporations own most US politicians, including both of the two tweedledee-tweedledum "political parties", given that both the "Democrat" and "Republican" parties, and nearly all the politicians, get their funding from the same US corporate interests, despite a little bit of pretending to be different;
- The corporations own all the major US media companies, who control what "news" most people see and read;
- The corporations effectively control most of the well-known "non-profit organisations", who also depend on the large corporate or corporate-backed "donations" for their existence and income;
- The corporations own the US elections, determining who is allowed by the media to be a "major candidate", and the corporations even manufacture the easily-hijackable "voting machines" that "count the votes" for people
- And the corporations, above all, own the US lawyers and judges, via the corporate money and bribes that flow in the billions of dollars through US law firms, which is why they rarely lose cases among the "pro-business" US judges.

The judges enforce the "law", which in the United States means the Law of the Big Corporations. They win, the little guy (or girl) loses. That's what judges and lawyers call "The Game".

In exchange for controlling things for the benefit of the big corporations, US judges and lawyers are allowed to act like perverts with regard to the average person. They can lie, rob, cheat, steal, kill and destroy any mere average person or US citizen - that is what the judges and lawyers get, as their "reward" for running things for the benefit of the really rich people who are big shareholders in the big corporations.

America needs the myth of the "rule of law", the power of the judges, to keep control of the political situation. But the trade-off is that the judges have become a law unto themselves, and the judges and lawyers in America have built a machine that cannot be reversed by any power visible on the horizon, except some kind of revolution.

US Media Control Hiding the Judges' Crimes

The one power that the judges in America do worry about, is that of news media and publicity, either of the independent kind or from outside the United States. Recently, the American Supreme Court judges decided in a close vote, to stop putting children to death, admitting they were influenced by world public opinion and international condemnation of this practice.

The news media in America - mostly owned by large corporations who own everything else - has a guilty conscience about all the evidence of judicial misconduct that flows regularly through their offices. The media do not report or investigate most of these stories, even when conclusive proof is plopped in their lap.

This is partly out of fear of revenge by the government and the judges, and partly out of a sense of a twisted theory of "patriotic duty". These media employees think that it is better to hide the dirty linen of the judges and courts, so as not to "upset the public" and "destabilise society". In other words, they know that the truth about the crooked US judges, is the stuff of revolution.

But really, the situation is that the big media in the United States, is owned by the same big corporations who own the politicians and government, the same big corporations who pay the big law firms that bribe the judges so that the big companies almost always win their cases.

Most big corporations find themselves using American courts extensively, including the media companies. If any media company or US organisation were to independently "go after" some corrupt judges, and speak about judicial corruption, the fear is that the media company might well find itself being destroyed by the judges, as billions of dollars worth of lawsuits suddenly were "decided" against the corporation.

You may not believe this yet, but the fact is that the US judges operate like criminal gangs. They get together and pick a target, and they can decide to destroy that target if they feel it is a threat, either to themselves or to their paymasters at the big corporations.

Such terrors lurk in the back of the mind of independent and progressive journalists, perhaps even more than among the big corporate media. In America you never know whether you might find yourself arrested or sued on some trumped-up charge or accusation, if you dare to criticise the US legal system. US journalists have been shot dead in the street, after daring to write a critical article about the judges. Just "coincidence", perhaps.

Exposing a dishonest judge in America, can put you on a "black list" where no lawyer will protect you, even if you have lots of money to spend. Experience shows, over and over again, that people in the US who try to fight judicial corruption simply cannot find lawyers for themselves, even if they have money - and even though many US lawyers are desperately unemployed and eager for money!

It is still (somewhat) accepted in the US, that journalists can criticize the President and the administrative branches of government, or complain about legislators. It is part of the function of politicians, like the President, to "take some political heat" up front, while the corporations run things behind the scenes.

However, it has become extremely taboo to say much about dishonest judges, even in the face of ice cold proof that judges are committing crimes. You have proof of crimes by judges? Almost no journalist in the United States wants to talk with you. - That is the true reality of American life.

Even though the news media in the USA are not owned by the government, they are not "independent" - far from it. The power of the judges extends to both direct and indirect control of media criticism.

Beyond the fear, there is also a feeling among USA media and lawyers and the government, that drastic and terrible calamities would occur if judicial corruption were really investigated and exposed. As one US lawyer said, "If the American people found out how crooked the judges really are, the whole house of cards will start to crumble."

People feel that faith in the courts - the Hollywood movie version of American "justice" - is what is holding the USA together. The fear is this: If the American people start thinking that the courts are rigged, and that huge amounts of people in jail are innocent, then social chaos will be on the horizon, and America will unravel in a mass political revolution.

So the US media, corrupted by corporate ownership, or afraid itself of revenge, pretends it is doing a kind of civic duty, to limit coverage of judicial corruption, to those few cases where the government itself has already decided to prosecute some wayward judge or lawyer.

Even in cases where US judges engage in absolutely blatant, open and publicly perverted misbehaviour - like the US judge who used a penis-pump on himself in his courtroom (quite true story) - the misbehaviour and crimes usually go on openly for several years, until the rogue judge finally offends some rich or politically powerful person, and the system finally slowsly takes action.

America's FBI and Department of Justice collect files on judicial corruption like they collect files on everything else, but they hold back from acting, even in cases where they have clear enough evidence to bring an indictment in minutes. The law enforcement agencies in America blow with the political winds, and in the absence of media attention, they will cover up for judges, whose help they require when they need to win convictions on flimsy evidence. The judges who take bribes are gladly eager to help law enforcement railroad and convict innocent people. The mutual back-scratching of cops and judges is routine.

In the meantime, the anguish of millions of Americans is increasing: The 2.2 million prisoners and their families and loved ones; all those whose rights have been diminished, or their fortunes ruined; the increasing number of people forced to flee the USA to live in freedom and peace; all those living in fear in America, worried that they might be the next victim of the unfair American legal system. The frustration of many people with American courts is building, a huge but hidden story in American life.

Secrecy, gag orders, and the court files you will never see

America is increasingly a closed society, with much of its legal activity carried on in secret. And I'm not only talking about the secret detention of so many hundreds of detainees at overseas locations. Even in America's domestic legal system, much of the important legal activity is secret and hidden.

The illusion is that America is an "open" society, because there are 24 hour a day "news" channels on television, and because there are dozens of reporters and cameras outside the courthouses that are holding public-circus trials of a Martha Stewart or Michael Jackson or Paris Hilton. But the gritty day-to-day reality of life in American courts, is that much of what really goes on, is secret, hidden, un-published, under gag order or a judge's ban on freedom of speech, or simply un-reported by the news media, even though the media knows it has something important which the American people would love to hear.

Much more than people realize, news of American court proceedings is blocked by gag orders, embargoed documents, and outright blatant and illegal bans on freedom of speech. Though there are always some supposed higher purposes in these gag orders, a basic function of such gag orders is to hide the whole dirty process of how judges and lawyers do their work. As judges and lawyers run the show, they are eager to use their powers to make sure that a lot of what they do is known only to themselves.

The biggest category of judicial secrecy, is the nationwide American curtain that hides complaints of misconduct about judges and lawyers. Across the US, tens of thousands of complaints have been filed about misconduct by lawyers and judges. You can find many of them on the internet.

While some of these complaints are frivolous, and many of them are certainly emotional, a lot of these complaints are well-documented or have conclusive proof attached. But nearly all of these tens of thousands of complaints are non-published and secret, and almost nothing is done to act on these complaints, regardless of how valid or how well proven.

America's secret files of judicial and lawyer misconduct, are a gold mine of information on the real dirty workings of the American legal system. But alas, complaints about judges and lawyers are filed with - you guessed it - other judges and lawyers. These complaints are read and passed around very eagerly, as I have found by calling up judges' secretaries. I have tracked complaints all the way up to the Supreme Court building and the Supreme Court "judicial ethics" panel that was appointed in 2004 by USA Chief Justice Rehnquist.

The judges read the complaints about their fellow judges, they likely laugh and joke with each other about the people they have harmed, and perhaps quietly advise each other to behave less openly like lunatics in the future. But what the judges almost never do, is respond in any way to the complaint. They don't answer, and they don't remedy the situation. They merely make some mental notes in case there is some publicity down the road.

If there's no publicity, the judges feel they are home free. The same goes with complaints about American lawyers to the local Bar which "regulates" lawyers, which typically just covers up for lawyer misconduct. Unless a judge is already mad at the lawyer, the local Bar will usually whitewash your complaints about a lawyer, even if you have written proof of a lawyer committing a felony crime.

People are surprised to learn that American judges often don't respond to some legal filings and complaints, and sometimes even to formal appeals. If you have expensive lawyers, and have political connections they will indeed probably answer. But otherwise, silence is common. Poor people in America have been strapped to a table and put to death, while an appeal languished unanswered by the judges.

Fearful lawyers and fake trials

A few celebrity trials do, indeed, dominate the American news, with all sorts of tiny details gaining the headlines, like Michael Jackson said to be coming to court in his pyjamas. But hidden beyond the "detailed analysis" of the celebrity circus trials, are highly significant and heartbreaking stories of real trials, whose details you never learn. You don't find out how someone's human rights were taken away, or how someone was railroaded on false charges, while media focuses on the latest "scoop" of some public circus legal proceeding.

Americans who have not endured a court battle, have an entirely misleading sense of the legal system from two sources: (a) the celebrity circus trials and (b) fictional television shows and Hollywood movies. Yet the reality for most Americans in court, especially the poor and minorities, is something sadly different, far more sleazy and awful and sinister.

A key factor in life in America now, is the widespread moral collapse of the American legal profession. America has about a million law school graduates, the most enormous gang of lawyers in the world. And 'gang ' is the right word.

Though a core group of lawyers are wealthy, from the fees supplied by big corporations or from a few big lawsuits; many other lawyers are unemployed, desperate for work. American lawyers, as a whole, are in fear of rocking the boat or challenging the political system, lest they be cast out and put among the unemployed.

US lawyers who challenge the government or try to expose corruption, will face losing their jobs, and may get cited on trumped up charges that can lead to the loss of their ability to practice law, financial destruction, or even criminal indictments.

The net result is that there are only a small handful of American lawyers now, who are willing to (very slightly) politically challenge the American government. But if you ask about lawyers who are willing to challenge corruption by other lawyers and judges, that handful of lawyers dwindles to almost complete zero. Even unemployed and broke lawyers are afraid to confront judicial corruption for a paying client. The lawyers will privately explain it is "career suicide", and just too plain "dangerous", to try to confront dishonest judges and other lawyers. The US human rights and civil liberties groups stay away from this area, too. - They don't want to lose their corporate funding, or suffer financial destruction at the hands of America's criminally vengeful judges in some bogus "lawsuit".

The betrayal of clients by lawyers in the USA, is terrifyingly common. An example is the army of "public defenders" that "represent" poor people as they get convicted and sent to prison. Some of these public defenders are brave and good people, at heart.

But many of them are lazy and incompetent, like the lawyers known to be falling asleep and snoozing in court while their assigned clients are convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Even worse, however, are the all-too-common public defenders who actually help the government to stage fake trials against their own clients.

These "public defender" lawyers are often paid out of government money. If they do not help the government, these lawyers can be dropped from the register, lose their income, and be replaced by other lawyers more willing to be submissive. Though such lawyers may pretend to be "helping" their clients, they often take another role, terrifying and intimidating their clients into accepting unfair plea bargains and prison terms, even when the clients are innocent.

Sometimes the "public defenders" really deserve to be imprisoned themselves. I am currently working on helping an innocent French citizen, Leonel Cazaco, who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder, even though someone else confessed to the crime. At his trial, Mr Cazaco's "public defenders" knew that someone else had already confessed to the murder, but they hid these facts from the court record and from Mr Cazaco himself, to help the government win the conviction. The French government has become active for Mr Cazaco, and his release is hoped for in the future.

But US lawyers are often eager to betray and steal from clients, even when the clients are paying them. Lawyers will sell out and manipulate their clients, to benefit either the government, or the wealthier party that is paying them bribes. This is something lawyers call "playing The Game".

Actually, even very rich political people get robbed by their own lawyers, the lawyers pushing the wealthy people into needless legal cases, just so the lawyers can "milk" them for money. As long as some of the stolen money makes its way into the hands of the judges, even the rich victims usually cannot get redress against the lawyers who have robbed and defrauded them.

Some of America's rogue judges, intoxicated with their sense of unlimited and unrestrained power, get quite cocky about committing felony crimes in broad daylight, leaving a trail of written evidence and even posting it on the internet. It is remarkable what offences they can commit and still remain in office, unchallenged by either news media or law enforcement.

The fake US federal legal proceeding, that forced me to become a political refugee in Europe back in 2004, is one such set of open felony crimes. It is a well-known story now, with a US federal judge instantly banning my freedom of speech and then threatening to jail and murder me, while conducting a fake legal proceeding with the judge's friends posing both as my lawyers, and also as lawyers for a non-existent "first amendment civil rights charity foundation".

The judge and his friends issued fake "court orders" claiming I "agreed" to the banning of my own freedom of speech for the rest of my life, "agreed" to the destruction of my media and publishing company, "agreed" to work for the rest of my life paying several hundred thousand dollars to the friends of the federal judge with the fake "Foundation", and "agreed" never to appeal all these illegal orders or the fraud of the fake "legal proceeding".

- You can find more details at the website about me, and the central legal presentation in my 125-count 3 April 2004 US Appeals Court filing exposing the crimes of the US federal judges. - Needless to say, the US judges never answered my court filing - My court filing was too crisp and precise, too well-supported by proof documents, about the crimes the US federal judges had committed, so the US judges don't dare to reply.

Before the US government gangsters moved in to jail and murder me, and I was forced to escape to Europe to save my life, I did everything I could to find a US lawyer to help me. Specifically so I could find a lawyer, in my final months in the US, I got myself hired into a $150,000 per year job, just so I could afford good lawyers.

I had thought, with so much written proof in my hands of judicial corruption, I would be able to find some brave lawyer to expose all these blatant crimes. I thought I would win back my freedom and strike a blow for justice, just like in some Hollywood movie.

I contacted thousands of lawyers, but no lawyer was willing to help me, even though I could pay them well. The lawyers agreed that I had total proof of judicial corruption and felony crime, and they lusted after my money.

But, as the US lawyers explained to me, there is no way to "fight a crooked judge that's backed by the Bush government". The lawyers were too frightened for their own safety, to risk trying to defend me against a malicious federal judge and his friends. Meanwhile, the judge's friends began to close in on me, demanding extortion money and ready to carry out their threats to jail and murder me.

Thankfully, I escaped from America, the fake and phoney "land of freedom", and that's why you can read these words right now, written in my safe haven in Europe. And then, in 2007, more than three years after I took refuge in Europe, the US judges conducted a new fake "legal proceeding" just for the purpose of creating false media to slander me, and to try and ban my popular writings on US legal corruption, like this article you are reading now, banned by US judges who have served legal papers on Google.

One of the most moving documents I collected in the USA, was a heartfelt note from a gravely ill former Virginia judge, in danger of dying. She wrote to me to confess that Virginia judges, both state and federal, were utterly sunk in crime and bribery, and she correctly predicted that no lawyer would have the courage to help me, despite my proof of judicial corruption. She herself was scared to help me, thinking that the stress would kill her if she got up from her sickbed to try and fight for me.

With these recent deplorable acts of murderous violence against judges and their families, I can see that the instinct of American judges will be to deepen the cover up of judicial misconduct, as if quashing the news and truth about themselves will make them safer. Hence the new 2007 US fake trial to try and ban my freedom of speech all over again, more than three years after I took refuge in Europe.

A better course would be to move toward a more transparent judicial process, with complaints out in the public and posted on the internet, and with the public impeachment and prosecution of the more notorious rogue judges. Americans today need some hope that there is justice at the end of the struggle, and not just a stone wall of corruption and despair.

But that is not happening, as the corporate forces of the US regime unite to attack any significant movement at judicial reform, and most especially the laudably-named JAIL 4 Judges. - The United States needs a return to real democracy and the values of the Bill of Rights, but it seems that in the face of judicial corruption, it is only a major revolution that can end these crimes of horror in which Americans now find themselves.

Anonymous said...

Ive gone through 129 of the 419 executions listed and so far I have found 12 men who declared their innocence in one way or another, so it doesn't seem to be such a rarity. As for closure, I guess that is a personal question. The number I found to be suprising, was the less than 10 folks who said the death penaly was unfair or "broken". I really thought that would be a more prevelant sentiment. Well, i'm still against it, but the final statements made for some interesting reading, and certianly were fodder for thought.

Anonymous said...

"Also, while I don't doubt that DNA later proved guilty executed inmates who claimed innocence in their final statements, I'm not immediately aware of those cases; please provide examples."

Ricky McGinn.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/11/13/60II/main249076.shtml

Lucille said...

By comparison, the most populous nation, China, with about 1.3 billion people, only has a few hundred thousand prisoners, despite being denounced by the USA as a "repressive" country.

There are over a 100,000 judges in China. There are over 200,000 prison guards, according to Chinese official estimates:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/wfbcjchi.txt

The New York Times states that, as of April, China has 1.6 million inmates. Reason Magazine (in February) claims the number is roughly 2.5 million. But either way, the numbers are higher than you suggest.

Anonymous said...

95% of convictions in the USA are based on plea bargains. 80% of the defendants cannot afford a lawyer and have to work with a court appointed lawyer. The defendants are put under pressure to agree with a plea by these lawyers, who are underpaid and overworked, and DA's. The defendants have to deal with 'witnesses' who testify against them, so they can go free theirselves. There is no money to do a real investigation. Case solved!
So 95% of the defendants don't get a fair trial. For felonies with a penalty of more than 20 years - like murder - the maximum payment for a court appointed lawyer in Virginia is $1,235. What else can the lawyer do than tell his client to go with the plea. So no fair trial. That tells you the whole story about fair justice in this country.

Anonymous said...

According to the book, Texas Death Row, which lists all executions, prior to 1990 none of the 34 convicts executed protested their innocence on the gurney with the needle in their arms. From 1990 to 1997, out of 74 executed, 7 or 10% proclaimed their innocence. From 1997 - 2000, out of 114 executions 20, or 18% protested their innocence. What could be the difference? The CCA prior to 1990, when the judges were Democrats, reversed about 33% of capital convictions between 1976 and1995. After 1995, a Republican court reversed only 3%. These figures are from a study by James S Liebman. Why would guilty men protest their innocence just moments from meeting their maker? I suspect most of them are indeed innocent.

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