Saturday, November 03, 2012

Fifteen of 250 men executed under Rick Perry faced death declaring innocence

The Texas Tribune this week published an infographic providing comprehensive data about each of the 250 executions under Governor Rick Perry's watch, the most recent of which occurred on Halloween. One of the information elements included was each of the offenders' last statements, which this morning I examined in some detail. Many Texas capital offenders faced death silently; others said goodbye to family and friends. Some prayed or recited scripture. A significant number expressed repentance and/or begged forgiveness from victims' families. But a significant minority of those 250 men faced death declaring their innocence - 15, to be precise, or six percent, by Grits' count. Those were:

2001: Mack Hill
2002: Robert Coulson, Richard Kutzner (“If Mr. McDougal had allowed the DNA evidence, I would be exonerated”), William Chappell
2004: Cameron Todd Willingham
2005: Luis Ramirez
2006: Derrick Frazier
2007: Roy Pippin
2008: Gregory Wright, Elkie Taylor
2009: Willie Pondexter
2011: Cary Kerr, Steven Woods
2012: Keith Thurmond, Jonathon Green

That list excludes those who claimed innocence by self-defense, including only those who said flatly some version of "I'm innocent," "I didn't do it," "They got the wrong guy." Some suggested alternative suspects, begging to tell victims' families who really did it just before the needle went in.

Todd Willingham is on that list, claiming his innocence and cursing his ex-wife to the bitter end. Carlos DeLuna predated it. Those are the two names one most frequently hears associated with claims that an innocent person has been executed. And Grits wouldn't be surprised if many or most of those claiming innocence on their death-bed (I guess a gurney is a bed) turned out to be lying, for reasons as twisted as their acts, or at least more culpable than they claim, even if I can't understand the motive for dissembling at that late hour. But all of them? At that final, moment of truth?

Of course, Grits has argued that the public wouldn't reduce its support for the death penalty even if it were definitively proven that an innocent person had been executed, but that's a debate for another day. In the meantime, let me know your opinion in the comments: What are the chances Texas executed an innocent person on Rick Perry's watch?


Unknown said...

They declared their innocence, and that is proof of what?

If we do away with the death penalty I volunteer Grits to guard all those covicted murders who would have nothing to loose by killing a prison officer.

An Attorney (not Crim Def) said...

I am 100 percent certain that at least one innocent man has been executed since R. Perry became governor of this state.

Hook Em Horns said...

It's likely that at least one innocent person has been executed under Rick Perry. It is just as likely that Texans simply don't care.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I could make the leap from the statistics to the possibility here. I'm not going to argue semnatics here, after all, by definition each of them were convicted of their crimes and therefore not "innocent" but just as there are no perfect systems that have human involvement, our convuluted criminal justice system has so many layers of built in protections (yourself inclused Scott) that it would be silly to rely on last statements as any form of proof.

As far as why someone might make such a statement, the reasons are as varied as the killers that make them. Some might simply be the psychotics we labeled them, others having family they wanted to spare, and still others might not want to go down as a historical footnote as one of the worst society has to offer.

So while the mere possibility that one of these folks might be somehow less guilty than found in the courts of law they were tried in, not truly "innocent", I join the vast majority of Texans in wanting more than pure speculation to change my mind.

Anonymous said...

"If we do away with the death penalty I volunteer Grits to guard all those covicted murders who would have nothing to loose by killing a prison officer"

Ummmm, Vincent, don't we already have people serving life without parole? Aren't they convicted murders with nothing to loose? Who is guarding them?

You really should take a couple of seconds to think before you post. Grits didn't say they were innocent, in fact, he indicated he thought most probably were guilty. Maybe you need to brush up on your literacy skills a little...

Anonymous said...

"So while the mere possibility that one of these folks might be somehow less guilty than found in the courts of law they were tried in, not truly "innocent", I join the vast majority of Texans in wanting more than pure speculation to change my mind."

Another illiterate commenter. As I told Vincent, Grits didn't say he thought all these guys were innocent, he actually indicated just the opposite.

As far as "pure speculation," well, you can call it that if you wish but the fact is the Willingham case wasn't arson - but in your shallow mind that doesn't matter - because even if he didn't burn down his house - he still wasn't truly innocent, was he? Do you see how twisted your logic really is - no, I'm sure you don't. You say that because someone is convicted they are not "innocent." Well, my definition of "innocent" and yours aren't the same. My definition of innocent is that they didn't commit the crime. A person can be both "convicted" and "innocent" - wait don't try to grasp that concept, you might strain that shallow brain of yours.

I'm not saying any of these guys were innocent, I honestly have no idea - I'm just saying your logic is twisted. You have closed your mind to the point that no daylight can get in. You are saying that it doesn't matter if the person is actually guillty. You said that as long as they have been convicted, it doesn't matter whether they actually commited the crime or not, the conviction is all that matters. What that really reflects is a blind ( and misguided) faith in the system. You say the system isn't perfect, but your other statements belie that assertion. You really don't believe the system is ever wrong - and if it is - its still right. That is exactly what you're comments say.

As far as those "many layers of protections" in the system...those are only figments of a wishful imagination. The system is designed to convict...its not designed for justice.

If the system was as you say, we would have more guilty people walking than innocents being convicted. Yet, what we have is the opposite. So, where are all those protections?

Anonymous said...

"our convuluted criminal justice system has so many layers of built in protections"

Lets say you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or that someone just happens to mention your name during an interrogation or a witness misidentifies you (see Kerry Max Cook, Anthony Grave, Timothy Cole...etc.) You are arrested and locked in jail. Say you're like many people and you pretty much live paycheck to paycheck so you don't have thousands of dollars for an attorney. So, you get a court appointed attorney. Let's say your case in Judge Jack Skeen's court in Smith County where the court appointed attorneys are under contract with Skeen and know that to get their ocntracts renewed they have to persuade most of their clients to plead guilty without a deal and, to satisfy Skeen's sadistic needs, let him set the sentence. You aren't educated much beyond high school and don't know much about the system so you listen to your court appointed attorney. While you maintain your innocent you have already been in jail for months, lost your job, home, car, etc. So, you listen to the court appointed attorney who says the best thing to do is plead guilty and hope the judge will reward your plea with a light sentence. Now, he tells you, if you go to trial you will surely get the max. So, even though you are innocent, the smart thing seems to be to plead. Then you go before Skeen hoping he will be impressed with your plea and see that you are hardworking guy and be nice to you. But wait, Skeen gives you a sentence at or near the max. Wait Mr. Defense attorney, what happened? I never would have pled to something I didn't do if I knew the judge was going to give me the max. Okay, well this just isn't right so I'll appeal. Mr. Defense attorney submits a brief to the appellate court saying you waived your right to appeal and there is no basis for your appeal - but wait, weren't you supposed to help me Mr. Defense Attorney. The guys in the black road chuckle as they sign the three sentence order denying your appeal.

I'm so glad we have all those protections in this convulted system. This is just one scenario, there are dozens more that show how well our system works. But, its okay, after all, only the guilty ever get arrested, right?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:27, read Kerry Cook's book or read about Anthony Graves case and tell me where all those protections were. Where were they in the many, many other wrongful convictions cases we know about? But, in your mind, I'm sure those cases don't really exist - after all they were convicted so they weren't really "innocent" were they.

Anonymous said...

Christians haven't cared about executing the innocent since, well, their innocent Savior was himself executed. Quite telling, huh...

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:08 you are the one who should think through your comments. What's not to understand. If a person is convicted of murder, and is already serving a life sentence, knows no matter who else they kill their punishment can not get worse, what would stop them from killing again.

This is not rocket science. What part of this concept don't you understand?

Anonymous said...

"This is not rocket science. What part of this concept don't you understand?"

Hmmmmm.... we seem to have a failure to communicate here... My point, which obviously escaped you...I thought I was fairly clear.. was that we already have other people - not on death row - serving life sentences without parole. They have to be guarded, don't they? They don't have anything to loose, do they? The situation that Vincent fears would exist if we did away with the death penalty, actually already exists, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Btw, if you think about it, those on death row have even left to loose, don't they? They have to be guarded, don't they? So, if we apply Vincent's logic, it would actually argue for doing away with the death penalty because they actually have less left to loose on death row than they would with a life sentence. You're absolutely right, its not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

What would Jesus do? We don't have to speculate about that. The Bible gives us an example of what Jesus did when confronted with the issue of the death penalty. Remember when the adulterous woman was brought to him. Under the law, the death penalty was required. And, the reason they brought her to Jesus was because, anyone who interfered with the required punishment was also to be put to death. But, what did Jesus do? He showed them the relationship between grace and the law. God's grace is sufficient. Yes, his grace is sufficient to forgive the worst criminal you can think of. We're all sinners, we're all the same. Neither you nor I are any better than the worst criminal. So, I'm glad his grace is sufficient. But, because we have been forgiven by his grace, we have an obligation to forgive. There are those who seem unforgivable. But, through the power of his grace we can forgive even the worst of the worst. The law allowed them to stone the woman to death, but Jesus showed them that grace allows us to be better than they can be under the law. Through grace we can forgive, instead of condemn and kill. The scriptures are often used to justify the death penalty - those that do that have missed the big picture, they've missed the power of God's grace.

Anonymous said...

The death penalty zealots often use "the victims" to justify their eagerness to kill. Unfortunately, I think this is often not done because they genuinely care about the victims but they are simply using the victims as an excuse for their bloodlust.

Having been a victim, I can tell you, the best thing you can do is forgive. Until you do that, you can't know peace. Maybe seeing the person executed provides some temporary satisfaction, but lasting peace only comes in forgiveness.

So, If we care about "the victims," instead of encouraging them to seek revenge (framed as "justice") we need to be helping them to forgive.

hmm. said...

"Anonymous said...

Anon 10:08 you are the one who should think through your comments. What's not to understand. If a person is convicted of murder, and is already serving a life sentence, knows no matter who else they kill their punishment can not get worse, what would stop them from killing again.

This is not rocket science. What part of this concept don't you understand?"

There's a lot you don't understand, obviously.
There are a lot of men on death row that don't have any previous prison records and there are very few who were given a death sentence as a result of a murder they committed while serving a life sentence.
You're also not taking the Texas law of parties into consideration.

Jo Neal said...

Sad, very sad from an Australian

Unknown said...

Anon 5:05

"...there are very few who where given a death sentence as a result of a murder they committed while serving a life sentence."

Thank you for making my point.

Anonymous said...

And, of course these murderers are telling the truth (notwithstanding significant evidence establishing their guilt).

Arachne646 said...

@Vincent van Gogh: What about all those less Christian than American (or certainly less Christian than Texan)prison guards in Canada, or in European countries, who perhaps even vote for socialist Parties, and safely guard murderers and other dangerous criminals in countries where capital punishment has long since been abolished as barbaric.

Hook Em Horns said...

Texas has long embraced what I call the 60% rule. If someone is 60% guilty, that makes it close enough. This is why we are third in DNA and Non-DNA exonerations. Just round up the usual suspects, see if we can pin it on any of them and then help clean up the streets with a conviction. Eventually we'll get the right one even if it's not for the right crime. Criminal justice in Texas is a JOKE and Texans don't care and won't care until it's their ass dressed out in white or laying on the gurney for something they did not do.

Don't think it can happen? Neither did ANY of the exonerees!

Anonymous said...

Many innocent people have been convicted and killed in the Texas "Justice" System. I have heard so many ignorant and self rightous Texans say that even if the person was innocent of the crime they were convicted of... im sure they are guilty of something. They are big on allowing the d.a. being all about convictions, right or wrong untill its someone they know or love who gets railroaded. The Texas rule? Don't do the crime if you can't pay to get out of it! The Texas Justice System has nothing to do with justice.

Cara1947 said...

I have NO doubt whatsoever that Texas has executed innocent people. I further believe that at the time of the executions, Texas officials KNEW some them were innocent!

Look at the exoneration list! To me, that SCREAMS the Texas justice system is severely flawed. If the sysstem can send an that many innocent folks to prison for 15+++ years, it has to be logical that they've also executed a similar percentage of innocents.

And, it will continue because the "general public" doesn't give a darn!

Appointed Helper said...

The smug personal attacks by a few of you aside, I think it is fair to examine the facts before allowing our personal biases to cloud our perceptions. Some might believe the mere possibility of a single innocent being punished in any way, not just the death penalty, is enough to do away with punishment (no strawman argument given the comments above). Others want to project exonerations for anything by appellate courts and other reviews "prove" the system is flawed beyond repair.

There are no perfect systems since they are designed and run by people. This does not mean we should simply accept the flaws as a necessary or allow cost/benefit analysis drive everything we do but it does help frame the discussion more reasonably.

Those that believe the exoneration list proves anything beyond the fact that the system "worked", albeit at a slower rate than any of us would like, are applying faulty logic. Each one proves the system worked as so many forms of court review that the masses find upsetting allow for those wrongfully convicted to gain their freedom.

And those that complain the system is better at convicting than anything else, look at crime clearance rates to prove otherwise. Clearances for property crimes are under 20%, violent crimes under 50%, and most of those caught end up confessing when presented with the evidence against them. The reason most suspects are picked up is because one of their accomplices turns them in and the physical evidence paints a strong picture as to their guilt. The lesser guilt of the getaway driver or lookout is a perception few care about when someone is dead by their combined acts.

So keep working to make things better but don't think for a minute that most people not involved in criminal activities are going to worry over nuances like those of us commenting here. They "know" that there is little randomness to the system and are unlikely to let some last minute plea by a convicted murderer sway their beliefs.

ckikerintulia said...

To say the system worked because innocent people were eventually exonerated is nothing short of ridiculous. Those exonerated had to fight the system, and had to have helpers like the Innocence Project people fighting the system, to gain their exoneration. And we do not know how many innocent people did not have the advantage or the means to get help in their exoneration.
Some of the regional news media made the claim that the Tulia fiasco proved that the system finally works. The system did not work in Tulia. It had to be pried open with a crow bar. Without people wielding that crowbar, many of those convicted in Tulia would have died in prison. I, along with Scott and many others, was one of those with my hands on that crow bar.
Oh, as to Scott's question, it is inconceivable to me that innocent people have been executed in Texas (and elsewhere). I agree with Scott, and with John Grisham, that it would make no difference to the Death Squad in Texas if that could be definitively proven.

JustTheFacts said...

Wow...some interesting comments, for sure. A couple of things stand out:

1) I think if we remove emotion from the discussion, looking at the situation rationally, it is highly likely that Texas has executed persons who are factually innocent. The "protections" within the system to guard against erroneous convictions clearly do not work in many instances, for a variety of reasons.

2) For some reason, we as a society are not enraged to the point of action when innocent persons are convicted and later discovered to be innocent. I also feel that even if we acknowledge that an innocent person has been executed, most would hold the opinion that that's a small price to pay when the system is right the majority of the time. In a country founded on the ultimate principle of protections of liberty, I find this astounding. I think many people feel as some of those who have posted, that if a person is convicted and/or sentenced to die, they must be guilty of SOMETHING or else they would not be convicted. Once again, setting passions aside, a look at hard statistics does not support this notion.

3) The comment concerning grace is so often overlooked when discussing death penalty issues. This is the big picture. Thanks for the reminder.

FleaStiff said...

A six percent error rate would be perfectly acceptable. The death penalty must always be a sword held over the heads of minorities.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at how our Founding Fathers viewed legal proceedings and comparatively few protections before waving the flag too briskly. Protections have steadily grown over the years and if we relied on those this country was founded on, a great many of you would not be able to own property, vote, etc. There will always be a chance that an innocent is convicted no matter what system you deploy.

Anonymous said...

People plez, a few of you have acknowledged the creepy thoughts of Vincintvangoofball above & dipsticks that followed. This encourages them to reply & stick around.

Grits works his tail off to provide us the readers / subscribers with information & he graciously allows everyone to interact with him and others. It's at this point that the Highjackers jump in with masks on and attempt to disrupt the entire concept with eggregious comments meant to inspire pissing matches. Taking away from the entire concept of adults having a meaningful conversation with other adults with negative interuptions.

So, to those that consider themselves adults, you are asked again to ignore the children that are allowed come into the house to get a drink of water. If they spill, throw-up or crap themselves simply walk away & don't attempt to wipe anything or you'll be preceived as their parent or a pervert or you just might end up throwing up yourself.

Get it? Ignore & they'll eventually go away. Example: we ignored the convelencent home escapee Dogbreath and he got so mad he just exploded all over the mess hall. They took away his computer privies and he hasn't been back since. Have fun.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, thanks for asking: "What are the chances Texas executed an innocent person on Rick Perry's watch?"

*I'd like to hear Perry's reply. Not the one about God putting his tounge in his ear as he slept and whispered kill em all and let me sort em out. Thanks.

Phillip Baker said...

First, log me in as one who 100% believes Texas has executed more than one innocent man. The evidence is overwhelming.

2nd, the sad, sad fact is that most Texans really do not care if a few innocent men are executed and see it as a reasonable price to the option to kill the rest. We promote a savage blood lust here as part of our culture.

3rd, I will scream MICHAEL MORTON. Most DA's are professional, ethical people, but a significant number are neither. Do not try to tell me the justice works even close to an acceptable standard.

4th, we seem always to focus on murder, rape, etc in these discussions. Again I remind that thousands of innocent people plead guilty out of fear of getting worse time if convicted. Overcharging should be considered prosecutorial misconduct. These are not the "hot" death penalty cases, but mass sending of innocent people to prison for a few years is one of the many reasons our justice system is in such disrepute.

Finally, as something of an addendum to the grace issue, the moral objection to executions is properly based upon OUR morality. Sure, men who commit awful crimes may "deserve" to die, but we as a people should expect better of ourselves. Legal or no, judicial killings remain long premeditated cold blooded taking of human life. Why are so many so-called pro lifers not also against the death penalty?

Before the usual yahoos start their chant that if I had someone killed, I'd be singing a different tune:Two people important to my life were murdered. I have standing in this discussion.

Oh, one more thing. Just being in prison for life without parole does not mean you are free of all restrictions. Kill a guard? That is a capital offense for which the system will rush you to the death chamber in record time. Nobody cares if you kill/ rape/mutilate another inmate.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Regarding the so-called last minute deathbed declaration(s). The truly innocent humans don't wait until the last friggin minute. They start by answering "Not Guilty". They spend every waking moment trying to tell everyone and sadly only a fraction get their case / claim vetted due to DAs having provided themselves with post conviction blocking powers, immunity cards & a brotherhood of supporters. Then they seek assistance from a corrupt Clemency Section where they eventually learn that this Cover Up Section is on automatic / systematic ignore control. They and or their families write to the Projects’ where a fraction of these are considered. Thus, you witness the beginning of the cherry picking for innocence dilemma due to another set of requirements to qualify for post conviction relief.

With or without Project assistance they all learn that the very SOB that broke the law while seeking justice is allowed to prevent post conviction re-testing of evidence or simply voice their opinion in the form of a letter to the Board. This is a state sanctioned perpetual cover up loophole that allows the guilty & innocent to be snared and skinned alike. Trophies to some and casualties to others, while being human to all is a disgrace, especially when they go public and say stuff like – “I’m not looking for absolutions of my sins”.

That means only one thing, like it or not, the citizens of Texas are guilty by association (complicity) and we deserve what we get when we allow. Sadly, some of the victims of the system will go on to seek revenge over restoration. Some think it'll take a massive wake up call to wake up those that vote just to be voting & taxpayers that pay without looking at the receipt.

When no one intervenes and lets one slip through every now & then you get a list of humans that may or may not be guilty. Just think what would happen if they 'all' stopped Cherry Picking for Innocence & mandatorily documented the entire process of vetting 'all' claims vs. only sub sections? One thing is for certain, the final moments on a deathbed would be reserved for the guilty MoFos.

Until then, if you live in Texas, you are participating in modern day lynch mobs if you fail to prove otherwise. Watching is a form of participating if you fail to protest, even if you squint. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I’m sure that 15 innocent persons are just scratching the surface of the wrong doings in the criminal justice system in this State. Of course, we can’t put all the blame on Perry. None of these cases would have fallen onto Perry’s desk had there not been an intentional false prosecution by local district attorneys that either (1) did not explore all the verifiable evidence or (2) did discover the verifiable evidence and chose to brush it under the table.
I say ‘intentional’ because district attorney’s are the people who promised, when running for office, that they did know and understand the laws of the land, and we believed them. That’s why we voted for them. They are the educated and knowledgeable ones who finished law school and passed the bar, and when one knows the law and continues to violate it, the act of doing so is intentional.
Unfortunately, in this country, we have no accountability for district attorneys in this country, and until we do, the legions of innocent persons will continue to march into prison and into the death chamber.
DA’s such as Ken Anderson (DA for Michael Morton case) and Henry Wade (Dallas Co where more than 30 persons have been exonerated) will continue to falsely prosecute innocent persons because the U.S. Supreme Court for the past 70+ years has given carte blanche immunity to district attorneys nationwide. The supremes reiterated in a 1/26/09 case, VandeKamp et al v. Goldstein that:

(a) Prosecutors are absolutely immune from liability in §1983 suits brought against prosecutorial actions that are “intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process,” Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U. S. 409, 428, 430, because of “concern that harassment by unfounded litigation” could both “cause a deflection of the prosecutor’s energies from his public duties” and lead him to “shade his decisions instead of exercising the independence of judgment required by his 2 VAN DE KAMP v. GOLDSTEIN Syllabus public trust,” id., at 423.

I believe the problem with that decision is that the ‘supremes’ assume that each and every district attorney in this country is on the same ethical and moral page of interpreting laws. Every time an innocent person is successfully convicted, that premise goes up in smoke.

If, however, we could ever get the ‘supremes’ to see the folly of this decision, lift the ‘immunity’ clause, and encourage States to levy monetary penalties to those DA’s who continue to violate their duties then much of the ‘abuse of office’ would stop.

Let’s make sure we understand the ‘job description’ of Texas District Attorneys.

In the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, Article 2.01, Duties of District Attorneys, they are ordered to conduct themselves in the following manner:

‘. . . It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done. They shall not suppress facts or secrete witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused...”

If the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure would put some ‘teeth’ into that ‘job description’, such as a sizable fine for violating their written duties such as ‘suppressing facts or secreting witnesses capable of establishing the innocent of the accused’ we would see more district attorneys making sure that they did not participate in dereliction of his/her sworn duties.

The fines would come from the personal pocketbook of the district attorney, and NOT paid from tax payer dollars, and let the fines begin with a modest $10,000.00 per offense against the DA.

As for Perry. . .if he can’t determine (and really, where is his expertise in death case matters?) and accepts, on face value, the decisions of those scurrilous district attorney’s to intentionally and deliberately kill a person on death row, then all the fines in the world can never correct his wrongs.

Former Dallas Police officer
Former TCLEOSE instructor

Chris Halkides said...

I am well over 90% certain that Cameron Todd Willingham did not deliberately set the fire that killed his daughters. The blog reharmonized-an-earful has a good series on this case.

rodsmith said...

Yep our supreme court is out in the twilight zone as far as Posecurtorial misconduct.

Long past time to pass a simple law.

IF a DA or any other officer of the court law enforcment included comits an ACT that would be a CRIME if comitted by anyone Not on those fields. It is STILL a crime and they will be charged, and tried in front of citizens courts vhere a unaminous verdict will result in a minimum 1 year prison sentence.

If the retards on the USSC have a problem with it. They are welcome to bring thier fat lazy asses down and try and break them out of prison.

THEN do it.

Yes i know it's not great. But if applied to a few of the more agregious cases...they might finaly got off the old fat ass and do something.

Anonymous said...

I have so many problems with people shrugging off the possibility of an innocent person being executed. Firstly, to whoever claimed that prisoners "had nothing to lose", think again. Solitary confinement. Loss of privileges. And perhaps if we gave them more privileges they would act more civil knowing that any infraction will result in the loss of whatever meager comfort they have. Secondly, this could happen to anyone. There are people who have had their convictions overturned who had airtight alibis, no motive, no means-yet they're found guilty. What's stopping that from happening to you? Also, by convicting an innocent person, you let the real criminal go free. I'd like to see a study on the convictions overturned with DNA testing where the real perpetrator was later found. How much crime do you think he committed in the meantime? Cause I doubt he just sat around on the couch, knowing he got away with it and all...

Anonymous said...

I suggest that those who easily shrug off wrongful convictions are soft on crime. They are perfectly fine with guilty people remaining free. If some innocent people are being convicted, the people who committed those crimes are going free. So, it seems that some on here have "hug-a-thug" mentality in that they want some criminals to remain free. On the other hand - I'm tough on crime. I want all the guilty and only the guilty punished.

Anonymous said...

Those who think that the system, while not perfect, is working just fine should think about what happens if you apply that logic to healthcare or an airline. We know that, in a hospital, there will be some mistakes and people will be harmed. So, lets just stop wasting all this time and money trying to prevent these things. After all, the system will never be perfect, will it? So, lets stop trying to make it that way.
Next time you go in the hospital, is that the attitude you want the people in charge to have?

Next time you get on an airplane - do you want the airline to just shrug off crashes. After all, we know planes are going to crash. We can't prevent all crashes. So, lets stop wasting time and money trying.

See the problem with saying that we should accept the status quo because the system will never be perfect?

Anonymous said...

I've read every post here and none of them subscribe to the belief that we should not seek continual improvement. A great many people do seem to believe in the law of diminishing returns though, contrary to those here who seem to believe that the slightest possibility of a flaw should negate the entire process.

Under that philosophy, we would have to close down every hospital because some might not get the best care, we should stop flying since some do crash, and we should stop all human endeavors because mistakes might be made. Contrary to the liberal mindset, not everyone in prison is innocent. Contrary to tea party mindset, smaller government which includes fewer resources for crime labs, is not always possible either.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely believe at least one, and more, have been put to death for a crime they did not commit.

There are numerous emotional positions on why the death penalty is a good or bad thing. For me, it comes down to one question: Is it an equitable system? The facts speak for themself--the answer is NO, it is not an equitable system. If you are from a low socio-economic group, undereducated, and a minority you have a greater chance of ending up on death row than someone that has the monetary means to buy freedom.

If the system is not equitable, it is broken.