Two more tragic injustices have been uncovered in Houston in the span of a week, just as a panel created by the Texas legislature prepares recommendations on how to prevent wrongful convictions.
|By: edwincolfax Tuesday August 17, 2010 6:15 pm|
|By: John Terzano Wednesday May 19, 2010 11:44 am|
Last month, Frank Sterling was exonerated by DNA evidence after being incarcerated 18 years for a crime he did not commit. Sterling was wrongfully convicted of murdering an elderly woman in Rochester, New York in 1988. His conviction was based entirely on a false confession. In the meantime the actual killer remained free, and six years later he murdered four-year-old Kali Poulton. This tragedy leaves no question that addressing the flaws in our criminal justice system that lead to wrongful convictions is a public safety imperative.
|By: Bill Egnor Monday May 10, 2010 9:00 am|
If one wants to make a statement that will not get any argument, then saying that the United States faces a whole folio of problems is the one that to choose. The high profile ones are well known, but that does not mean that we don’t have others which should have been hovering in the background waiting for a legislator or president to address. One of these is the huge and growing prison population. In 2008 there were a total of 7.3 million Americans in prison, jail or on parole.
"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"
That means that 1 in every 31 adults in our nation is involved, as a criminal, in the prison system. The trend of locking up more Americans have accelerated over the last three decades.
|By: John Terzano Thursday April 1, 2010 11:23 am|
Earlier this month, Orleans Parish District Judge Lynda Van Davis granted a new trial for Michael Anderson, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in a trial plagued with problematic evidence. Prosecutors have appealed the ruling and indicated that they will go forward with a retrial if necessary, so the question of Anderson’s guilt or innocence is far from settled. What is clear today, however, is that his first trial was marked by prosecutors’ troubling concealment of important information that undermined the credibility of key witnesses against him. Playing fast and loose with such evidence is unacceptable. In a death penalty case, it is unconscionable.
|By: edwincolfax Tuesday March 2, 2010 2:42 pm|
On March 1 Texas Governor Rick Perry officially pardoned Timothy Cole, who was wrongfully convicted over two decades ago. Tragically, the DNA tests that proved Cole’s innocence came too late: he died in prison in 1999 while serving time for a rape he did not commit. A faulty lineup led to inaccurate eyewitness evidence in Cole’s case, which serves as a reminder of the urgent need for eyewitness identification reforms that increase reliability and reduce the risk of mistakes. Cole’s case was one of the thirty-nine Texas wrongful convictions exposed by DNA profiled in The Justice Project’s report Convicting the Innocent: Texas Justice Derailed.
|By: John Terzano Monday March 1, 2010 9:06 am|
Concerns about the validity of forensic evidence have come to the fore in recent years following a series of wrongful convictions and other scandals across the country. The National Academies of Science (NAS) identified a number of systemic flaws that demand attention in their 2009 report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. Yet today, hardly any states have laws providing meaningful oversight of the forensic laboratories that analyze crucial evidence upon which many criminal cases depend.
|By: John Terzano Monday February 22, 2010 1:47 pm|
A spate of recent news reports has called into question the objectivity of some forensic evidence and highlighted the need for effective oversight mechanisms for the nation’s crime labs. Fingerprint analysts told The Missouri Lawyer that when police officers have access to the labs, they often pressure the fingerprint examiners to secure arrests. In December, the New York State Inspector General released a report revealing that forensic analyst Gary Veeder falsified hundreds of results over a fifteen year period. The Phoenix, Arizona Police Department announced plans to investigate claims that lab technicians in the crime lab undermine the integrity of criminal investigations by leaving evidence behind at scenes and disposing of fingerprint evidence. In December, Donald Gates walked free from prison after his exoneration for a rape and murder he did not commit when it was revealed that FBI lab technician Michael Malone provided false testimony and inaccurate testing results.
|By: Ruth Calvo Sunday January 31, 2010 8:00 am|
Sadly this Supreme court is working in the interests of those elements that think justice is quaint, and our constitution is just a piece of paper. In Texas, life has long been regarded as far from precious. Now the ‘high’ court has given them new ways to take lives of the innocent.
|By: edwincolfax Friday January 8, 2010 10:50 am|
Texas has seen more than its share of controversy surrounding forensic science in recent months.
Most recently, the Houston Chronicle reported that an audit of the Houston Crime Lab’s fingerprint division identified problems in more than half of the 548 cases selected for review. The problems discovered were serious enough to lead the authorities to require that more than 4000 violent crime cases from the past six years be reanalyzed—a process that no doubt will be very costly for the city of Houston.