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November 7, 2010

PBS Frontline covering the remarkable Norfolk Four case this week

PBS Frontline has been giving lots of attention to criminal justice systems this fall.  A few weeks ago, the show spotlighted the Todd Willingham case in "Death By Fire." And this week Frontline will broadcast a new documentary "The Confessions," which examines the case of the "Norfolk Four" involving a quartet of Navy men who were wrongfully convicted after being coerced into giving false confessions.  Here is a portion of this press release from Frontline:

Eight men charged.  Five confessions.  But only one DNA match.  Why would four innocent men confess to a brutal crime they didn't commit?

In The Confessions, airing Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010, from 9 to 10:30 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (Innocence Lost, An Ordinary Crime) investigates the conviction of four men —current and former sailors in the U.S. Navy — for the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Va., woman in 1997.  In the first television interviews with the “Norfolk Four” since their release, Bikel learns of some of the high-pressure police interrogation techniques — the threat of the death penalty, sleep deprivation, intimidation — that led each of the men to confess, despite the lack of any evidence linking them to the crime....

All four sailors are now out of prison — one served his sentence, and the other three were granted conditional pardons last summer, after some 11 years in prison.  But the men were not exonerated as felons or sex offenders.  “I basically built myself a new cell, my bedroom, ... because that’s where I’m safe,” Derek Tice, another of the “Norfolk Four,” tells FRONTLINE.  “All I did was trade one cell for another.”

Earlier this summer, Detective Glenn Ford was indicted for extorting money from defendants in exchange for getting them a favorable treatment.   He was tried in U.S. District Court in Norfolk and took the stand in his own defense.  On Oct. 27, Ford was found guilty on two of four extortion charges and one charge of lying to the FBI.  Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2011.

November 7, 2010 at 04:10 PM | Permalink

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The lawyer took up the intellectual doctrines of the Inquisition, its methods, its business plan. The Inquisition lasted 600 years, and is a classic crime. It ended when French Revolutionaries beheaded or expelled 10,000 clerics. That is a good remedy, today, for the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession. They have immunized themselves legally, and are "self-regulating." That justifies wholesale arrest of the hierarchy, brief trials and summary executions, once a strong executive gets into office. The charge would be insurrection and violation of Article I Section 1. Basically the lawyer is in a coup d'etat to deprive the elected members of Congress of their enumerated lawmaking power by judicial review.

That contingency is unlikely. It is more likely after a major terrorist attack - we escaped a half dozen attempts prevented by the incompetence of the terrorist not by any success of the lawyer led war on terror, a politically correct, soft on terrorists, federal program of welfare for government employees, and nothing like a war.

The alternative is to end the self-dealt immunity of the lawyer incompetent. This profession has nearly no accountability in torts. This immunity is justified by the claim that the sovereign speaks with the voice of God, a religious and delusional reason. Supreme Courts will never allow outside oversight, and will strike down all such laws. The product of the lawyer, punishment, fully qualifies it for strict liability. However, that would decrease the amount of law taking place, when we need a lot more (90% of crimes go completely unanswered). Professional liability should be sufficient to help these incompetents improve their now worthless and harmful product.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2010 9:26:01 PM

Doug:

Please click your "death by fire" link, at top. See my comments - many additonal comments were not shown because it made Frontline look horrible.

Posted by: Dudley Sharp | Nov 8, 2010 10:25:19 AM

Professor- thanks for alerting me to this program. I watched it tonight... I cried for these men.

Posted by: tbucket | Nov 9, 2010 10:30:50 PM

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