It’s a personal paradox: while I remain a proponent of the death penalty for heinous crimes, I feel that I can no longer trust my government to pursue justice.
That is, I have seen so many cases corrupted by the political or personal self-interests of prosecutors and investigators, that I believe that fair trials are almost an impossibility. Especially in light of stupid and/or corrupt juries which are being influenced by expensive defense lawyers and their highly-paid expert witnesses or matters regarding stereotypical racial and ethnic issues. Sorry to say, investigators and prosecutors who are more likely to believe a person guilty because they are ugly or different from the mainstream than one who is a bright and smiling cute blond.
Consider Roland Burris …
This is the scum bucket that was recently appointed to the United States Senate by the allegedly corrupt Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. While people are debating whether or not Burris perjured himself in providing information about his contacts with Blagojevich or his surrogates, the real story remains almost untold.
According to published reports …
“Against the advice of his deputy attorney general, then Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris sought the death penalty for Rolando Cruz for the 1983 rape and murder of a 10-year old Chicago girl.
According to ProPublica …
“While state attorney general in 1992, Burris aggressively sought the death penalty for Rolando Cruz, who twice was convicted of raping and murdering a 10-year-old girl in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. The crime took place in 1983.”
“But by 1992, another man had confessed to the crime, and Burris’ own deputy attorney general was pleading with Burris to drop the case, then on appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court.”
“Burris refused. He was running for governor.”
" ‘Anybody who understood this case wouldn’t have voted for Burris,’ Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, told ProPublica. Indeed, Burris lost that race, and two other attempts to become governor.”
“Burris’ role in the Cruz case was ‘indefensible and in defiance of common sense and common decency,’ Warden said. ‘There was obvious evidence that [Cruz] was innocent.’"
“Deputy attorney general Mary Brigid Kenney agreed, and eventually resigned rather than continue to prosecute Cruz.”
“Once Burris assigned Kenney to the case in 1991, she became convinced that Cruz was innocent, a victim of what she believed was prosecutorial misconduct. She sent Burris a memo reporting that the jury convicted Cruz without knowing that Brian Dugan, a repeat sex offender and murderer, had confessed to the crime. Burris never met with Kenney to discuss a new trial for Cruz, Kenney told ProPublica.”
" ‘This is something the attorney general should have been concerned about,’ Kenney, now an assistant public guardian in Cook County, said in an interview. ‘I knew the prosecutor’s job was not merely to secure conviction but to ensure justice was done.’"
“Kenney was not alone in her beliefs. Prior to Cruz’ 1985 trial, the lead detective in the case resigned in protest over prosecutors' handling of the case, according to news reports at the time.”
“And rather than argue Burris’ case before the state supreme court, Kenney also stepped down.”
" ‘What I took away was that [Burris] wasn’t going to do anything to seem soft on crime,’ Kenney said. ‘He didn’t have the guts.’"
“In her resignation letter, Kenney claimed Burris had ‘seen fit to ignore the evidence in this case.’"
"I cannot sit idly by as this office continues to pursue the unjust prosecution of Rolando Cruz," she wrote. "I realized that I was being asked to help execute an innocent man."
Here is a man who apparently stole the liberty of another man for political purposes – and yet, no one is holding him to account; rather, pretending he is some type of dedicated public servant who has been caught lying about political matters.
It gets worse …
From the Washington Post …
High Court to Hear DNA Testing Case
Justices to Debate Whether Convicts Should Be Guaranteed Access to Latest Techniques
“Their stories are familiar, even if their names no longer resonate:
Bruce Godschalk, freed after spending 15 years in prison for rapes he did not commit; Jeffrey Deskovic, wrongly convicted for murder and released after spending nearly half his life behind bars; Kirk Bloodsworth, the Marylander who spent years on death row for murder before the true killer was identified.
“They are among more than 200 people nationwide who were freed because DNA tests performed after their convictions showed they could not have committed the crimes.”
So why the hell are politicians and others even asking the Supreme Court to rule on such a no-brainer?
My junior high civics class must have been wrong: our elected officials and the government is no longer out to seek the truth and provide justice – they are apparently trying to burnish their personal and professional reputations.
How can any local, state or federal government not spend the time and money to insure that the right person is brought to justice? While I know that modern criminals can simply scatter a trail of false DNA evidence at a crime scene – courtesy of televisions on-air crime school, CSI, it seems that we should be seeking the truth.
Doing the right thing …
“And they now have joined civil rights groups, some current and former prosecutors, and a convicted Alaskan rapist to urge the Supreme Court to apply constitutional protections for the first time to what the prisoners' lawyers call ‘arguably the most important development in the history of forensic science: the advent of DNA testing.’"
Opposed – you must be joking?
“They are opposed by victims rights groups; the vast majority of states, which have a patchwork of laws granting DNA access; and the federal government. The governments say that creating a constitutional right to the testing would infringe on states' rights, overwhelm them with frivolous demands and create an endless right of appeal for those convicted of the most violent crimes.”
Perhaps they left out the most important reason some might oppose access to testing. To protect the reputations of those who are currently in power or are seeking politically sensitive positions. It wouldn’t help their case if they were found responsible for assisting to convict or, heaven forbid, execute an innocent person.
" ‘These statutes reflect a careful balancing of the government's interests in finality, comity, and conservation of scarce resources,’ lawyers for the state of Alaska argue, ‘against a prisoner's interest in justice in those rare cases’ when innocence could be proven by new forensic technology.”
What is this bullshit? Scare resources? In an oil-rich state like Alaska, they cannot afford justice? To provide an opportunity for justice, no matter how late, to reign supreme in what we are fond of describing as a nation of laws?
While I sound like a liberal – I am a great believer in justice and the rule of law for all: not just those who can afford fancy lawyers, expensive experts and the means to conduct their own DNA testing. This conservation of resources argument, in my opinion, is bogus. We have money for the pet projects of the politicians and the support of illegal aliens – where is the money that is necessary to assist in proving that our own citizens are receiving fair and equal justice?
“It is the Supreme Court's first case that confronts the dilemma of how to deal with DNA evidence, which former attorney general John D. Ashcroft called the ‘truth machine of law enforcement.’"
Post conviction access to DNA testing …
Remember the old saying, “justice delayed is justice denied,” so why should we deny anyone a post conviction DNA test? Especially when we can see that there have been numerous erroneous convictions and a gross miscarriage of justice in well-documented cases?
"If the Constitution's protection of individual liberty means anything, it must mean that a state cannot continue to detain someone who conclusively proves through a DNA test that he is innocent of the crime that is the basis for his incarceration," the groups argue.
“But Alaska Assistant Attorney General Kenneth M. Rosenstein said that forcing all states to comply with a certain procedure would be a ‘relatively unprecedented’ imposition on states' abilities to decide their own criminal procedures.”
Rosenstein is an asshat. The Constitution certainly trumps state law – and the God-Given rights of humanity trump all governments. If we truly believe in the rule of law, there is but one conclusion: an exculpatory DNA test, whether performed now or years later, is well worth our attention if it keeps the innocent from being unjustly punished.
That is not to say that the DNA evidence cannot be compromised by human error or premeditated design – it is only to say that we, as a people, should listen to what the evidence – rather than the prosecutor or defense – is saying. And not to acknowledge that the alleged perpetrator might not be an upstanding citizen who hasn’t committed other crimes is unrealistic. So while we may take some measure of solace in the fact that a bad guy is apparently behind bars, do we want to punish someone for something that they did not do – a precedent which not only corrupts justice, but impacts our enlightened society.
The Obama Connection ...
According to Law.com ...
"The solicitor general's office has turned down a request by the Innocence Project to disavow a Bush Administration stance on prisoners' access to DNA evidence in post-conviction proceedings. As a result, on March 2, Neal Katyal will make his debut as deputy solicitor general by arguing before the Supreme Court in support of the state of Alaska's view that prisoners have no constitutional right to obtain DNA evidence that might help them prove their innocence -- even if the prisoners pay for the DNA testing themselves."
"The decision to maintain the same position as the Bush administration in the case has caused deep disappointment among innocence advocates, especially in light of President Barack Obama's strong support of access to DNA evidence while a state senator in Illinois, where many of the early successes in exonerating innocent inmates through DNA evidence took place."
I am mystified why the Obama Administration will not deviate from the Bush-era doctrine. It appears that many of Bush's positions, especially with regard to the exercize of Presidential power, are now Obama's positions -- much to the dismay of Obama's supporters. Considering the corruption which surrounded Obama's career -- including many of his close associaties -- one can only wonder if the "empty suit" Obama will ever step up to the plate for human rights, Harvard lawyer that he is.
Bottom line …
How many lives must be destroyed to preserve the reputations of corrupt politicians, prosecutors and others who appear to want the justice system to remain arbitrary and capricious?
Quote of the day: “There but for the grace of God, go I.”
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell