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May 15, 2012

"Carlos De Luna Execution: Texas Put To Death An Innocent Man, Columbia University Team Says"

The title of this post is the headline of this new Huffington Post piece, which reports on a team of notable researchers making the notable claim that they have concluded that Texas executed an innocent man way back in 1989.  Here are excerpts from the HuffPo report:

Columbia University law professor James Liebman said he and a team of students have proven that Texas gave a lethal injection to the wrong man. Carlos De Luna was executed in 1989 for stabbing to death a gas station clerk in Corpus Christi six years earlier. It was a ghastly crime. The trial attracted local attention, but not from concern that a guiltless man would be punished while the killer went free.

De Luna, an eighth grade dropout, maintained that he was innocent from the moment cops put him in the back seat of a patrol car until the day he died. Today, 29 years after De Luna was arrested, Liebman and his team published a mammoth report in the Human Rights Law Review that concludes De Luna paid with his life for a crime he likely did not commit. Shoddy police work, the prosecution's failure to pursue another suspect, and a weak defense combined to send De Luna to death row, they argued.

"I would say that across the board, there was nonchalance," Liebman told The Huffington Post. "It looked like a common case, but we found that there was a very serious claim of innocence."

Police and prosecutors treated the killing of Wanda Lopez at the Sigmor Shamrock gas station on February 4, 1983, like a robbery gone bad. A recording of the chilling 911 call from Lopez, a 24-year-old single mom working the night shift, captured her screaming and begging her killer for mercy.

De Luna, then 20, was found hiding under a pickup truck a few blocks from the gory crime scene. A wad of rolled-up bills totaling $149 was in his pocket. Eyewitness testimony formed the bedrock of the case against him. Now, that testimony is perhaps most contested aspect of his conviction....

Among the key findings in the Columbia team's report:

  • The eyewitness statements actually conflict with each other. What witnesses said about the appearance and location of the suspect suggest that they were describing more than one person.

  • Photos of a bloody footprint and blood spatter on the walls suggest the killer would have had blood on his shoes and pant legs, yet De Luna's clothes were clean.

  • Prosecutors and police ignored tips unearthed in the case files that Carlos Hernandez, an older friend of De Luna, who had a reputation for wielding a blade, had killed Lopez. The defense failed to track down Hernandez, who bore a striking resemblance to De Luna.

"If a new trial was somehow able to be conducted today, a jury would acquit De Luna" said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, who read a draft of Liebman's report. "We don't have a perfect case where can agree that we have an innocent person who's been executed, but by weight of this investigation, I think we can say this is as close as a person is going to come."...

One of De Luna's attorneys, James Lawrence, told HuffPost he doesn't count him among the clients who've been wrongfully accused of capital crimes. "The fact that he wouldn't help us and this was his life on the line -- that's the one thing that kept bothering the living daylights out of me," Lawrence said.

Since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, there have been 1,295 executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Texas leads with 482 executions.

The ease with which De Luna was prosecuted and the obscurity of his death are what makes his case so important, said Liebman. "There are many cases out there that nobody has ever looked at and are probably at risk of innocence," said Liebman. "It's a cautionary tale about the risks we take when we have the death penalty."

Intriguingly and helpfully, the details of this investigation and a lot of related materials can be accessed directly via a website maintained at this link by the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.   This Editors' Note page explains what one can find there:

In order to enhance the narrative-style of the prose and provide an uninterrupted version of the Article that would be easily accessible to a non-legal audience, HRLR is publishing Los Tocayos Carlos in print version without footnotes or endnotes.  Instead, at the conclusion of each Chapter of the Article (including the Foreword, Prologue, and Epilogue) we are including a source list that describes, in full citation form, the sources the authors used to research and write that section.

Accompanying the publication of this Issue is a website that features a version of Los Tocayos Carlos with standard footnotes.  The web version of the Article contains approximately 3,434 footnotes, each reviewed thoroughly by several members of HRLR’s Staff and Editorial Board, which provide the reader with a fuller understanding of the basis for the authors’ factual assertions and inferences. Furthermore, the footnotes provide hyperlinks to view the cited sources, allowing readers to access, download, and view for themselves the original sources instantaneously. Additional materials provided by the authors are showcased on the website as well. Included on the website are video and audio taped interviews of individuals closely involved in the narrative, family trees, diagrams, timelines, and charts. These materials are designed to enrich readers’ understanding of the events leading up to and surrounding Wanda Lopez’s murder on February 4, 1983 and Carlos DeLuna’s execution on December 8, 1989.  The web version of the article can be found on HRLR’s general website, www.hrlr.org.

May 15, 2012 at 09:46 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Nothing suspicious about mysteriously losing articles of clothing that might contain blood spatter and hiding under a pick-up truck at the scene of the crime.

Posted by: MikeinCT | May 15, 2012 12:11:46 PM

The poor quality of evidence accepted in courts and the assumptions of guilt that stem from it, has caused the unnecessary and wrongful death of Carlos De Luna and probably many others. This report exposes the myth, apparently believed by Scalia, that the death penalty system is infallible and that wrongful death cannot and does not occur. Of course, there will now be those who claim they never believed as Scalia so extraordinarily stated, but say that the loss of a few innocent lives is a necessary sacrifice to maintain the death penalty as the ultimate punishment. To those, I say, where is your compassion for those innocents who serve such cruel and unusual punishment of decades on death row; the anxieties of the appeal process; the anguish of lost relationships with family and friends; and the desperation of facing execution for something they have not done ... all that and the equally hurtful sufferings of parents, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands and more? This sacrifice is not your sacrifice. There are demonstrably better ways, and this important Report must be a further stimulus to the calls for abolition of the death penalty in those states that still retain it today.

Posted by: peter | May 15, 2012 1:13:31 PM

::Peter :: "wrongful death of...probably many others."

||Examples of Sophistry ||
1. The asserting as a fact or assuming as a fact something which is not in evidence or which is in disputed territory.
~~Brumbaugh,
Legal Reasoning and Briefing

Posted by: Adamakis | May 15, 2012 2:12:07 PM

@peter
"To those, I say, where is your compassion for those innocents who serve such cruel and unusual punishment of decades on death row; the anxieties of the appeal process; the anguish of lost relationships with family and friends; and the desperation of facing execution for something they have not done ... all that and the equally hurtful sufferings of parents, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands and more? This sacrifice is not your sacrifice. There are demonstrably better ways, and this important Report must be a further stimulus to the calls for abolition of the death penalty in those states that still retain it today."

If this bothers you so much why not push for the abolition of all life sentences? Innocents serving 30, 40, 50 years or natural life suffer the same tortures as those on death row and with a significantly harder time getting their wrongful sentence overturned.

Posted by: MikeinCT | May 15, 2012 2:35:16 PM

Scalia doesn't think the process is "infallible." He is on record saying that the Constitution doesn't require perfection. I'm not sure who is saying that. The debate is over the details. Scalia at times might be accused of strawmen.

The people on death row do not suffer the "same" as those on who serve long terms in prison. The two situations have various hardships, that might in such and such a case be illegal (e.g., a certain prison's conditions might breach the law), but it isn't the same thing. The differences are debatable.

Some argue that long term imprisonment is worse than the death penalty. This might suggest it is BETTER if you wish to punish the person, but here I'm talking about those who try to "gotcha" abolitionists. The problem is few actual inmates seem to agree given the paucity of "volunteers." Also, this seems to prove too much since various non-capital crimes have long sentences, and many believe only a small number of cases merit death.

Should those who merit the death penalty in effect -- using that logic -- a benefit as compared to let's say a three time loser or someone in prison for a serious felony?

Execution is different for various reasons including the inability to take it back if there is an error or it is determined that the person merits release. Wrongful executions are one reason to be against the death penalty. If that was all that there were, it might be a lot closer call than some think. But, it is just one reason among others to be against it.

Posted by: Joe | May 15, 2012 3:14:45 PM

I don't believe in actual guilt anymore than I believe in actual innocence. "Guilt" and "Innocence" have no objective meaning and are simply labels we stick on the outcome of a legal process. Government is a system of laws made by fallible men, not by gods. We should try and get as close as we can but we are never going to be perfect.

And if you think that is a wildly wacky conservative idea you'd be right if you consider Noble Peace Prize winner Jane Aadams a wild and wacky conservative. That was the core of her come-to-Jesus speech about democracy: it's just a process that doesn't guarantee any specific result.

I don't know if Carlos De Luna is actually innocent nor to I care. The only question is whether or not he was legally innocent and that question seems to have been settled a long time ago. If the legal process was dysfunctional then our obligation is to make it less dysfunctional so such mistakes don't happen again. But retying a case over and over again in the media is not justice but an obsession.

Posted by: Daniel | May 15, 2012 3:34:39 PM

Could anyone disagree with this: What we have here is a study conducted a generation after the fact, not subject to oath, cross examination or review by any neutral authority, undertaken by a long-time, ideological death penalty opponent and a team of one-sidedly abolitionist academics, reaching the conclusion they wanted and believed in before they took any action whatever.

If a pro-death penalty "study" were similarly skewed from the getgo, how many people would take it seriously?

Right. That's the same number that should take this one seriously.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 15, 2012 3:46:35 PM

MikeinCT - "why not push for the abolition of all life sentences" - I pretty much do, as you would know if you follow my posts! True "life" sentences should be very rare, and always subject to review.
Adamakis - "Examples of Sophistry" - how pedantic of you. There are a number of cases, as you well know, where guilt continues to be challenged for a whole raft of reasons but, post-execution, are virtually impossible to prove conclusively, and many others currently or recently going through appeal which will or have been reversed. Many would argue that the Willingham case is pretty much conclusively one that could similarly be called as proven. This Report on Carlos De Luna is the result of a rare in-depth post-execution investigation. Most do not benefit from that as you know. That does not excuse us (including yourself) from appreciating probability from the evidence we do know.

Posted by: peter | May 15, 2012 3:49:11 PM

'That's the same number that should take this one seriously.'

wow, it really is hard to accept some things when the facts present themselves, eating crow is hard on the palate

Posted by: Brandy | May 15, 2012 5:53:41 PM

Brandy --

I notice you did not disagree with a single component of my characterization. Instead, you merely proclaim this pre-rigged "study" to be a statement of "facts."

Far out.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 15, 2012 6:39:35 PM

standbye for future developments, crow tastes better when well seasoned

Posted by: Brandy | May 15, 2012 10:07:31 PM

Brandy --

As it happens, I did stand by for future developments, and was amply rewarded when it was proved that your first Mr. Innocent, Roger Keith Coleman, was guilty as hell and your side had been indignantly lying about it for years.

How does the crow taste?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 15, 2012 10:11:26 PM

@Bill

Colin Miller has a post up about "Social Framework" evidence, which he supports.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2012/05/on-april-20th-superior-court-judge-greg-weeks-issued-alandmark-ruling-that-ruling-the-first-issued-after-application-of-no.html#more

The more I learn about this NC Racial Justice Act the more I come to abhor it. If I were a lawyer I wouldn't be running, I'd be fleeing from the whole concept of social framework evidence.

Posted by: Daniel | May 15, 2012 11:37:50 PM

Bill Otis questioning a study conducted by Professor Liebman.

That's rich.

It's like Steinbeck's Lennie questioning Einstein concerning nonlinear partial differential equations.

Notice - he does not deign to substantively question the study.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 16, 2012 1:15:47 AM

Notice that Bill Otis does not mention that the actual killer, Carlos Hernandez, maintained until his last breath, that he was the one who killed the victim, Wanda Lopez.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 16, 2012 2:01:55 AM

@CCDC
Actually, he denied it. Other people claimed he confessed to it to support De Luna's weak story that 'another guy named Carlos' committed the murder. How hard is it to find a man named Carlos in Texas with a criminal record? Then simply claim this random Carlos was the real killer and ignore the fact that De Luna was found shirtless and shoeless (items that often pick up blood spatter) hiding underneath a pickup truck at the scene of the crime.

Posted by: MikeinCT | May 16, 2012 3:00:17 AM

CCDC --

"Notice - he does not deign to substantively question the study."

I also didn't question Don Rumsfeld's study determining that the Iraq war was going swimmingly well.

The reason I don't question "studies" like this is that they don't even make a pretense of neutrality. Do you seriously expect anyone to believe that a "study" conducted by a group that has a longstanding, vested, ideological stake in the outcome is going to produce anything other than the predetermined result?

I know, I know, Coleman was innocent too. Isn't that what your side was claiming for years, with at least as much fanfare and gusto as this latest one by Professor Liebman? Only the whole foot-stomping protestation of innocence was a fraud. Care to admit it?

In any other context, the idea that a long-since, post-facto "study" by a hyperpartisan group of academics should displace the judgment of the courts would not be taken seriously. But the self-righteousness and invincible certitude of abolitionism just blows past everything else.

Look, if you want to feel morally superior to the vast majority of your fellow citizens, have at it. Still, you might want at least to consider that a degree of modesty is due from someone in so outmanned a position.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 16, 2012 8:36:17 AM

Daniel --

Bingo.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 16, 2012 8:39:40 AM

The only question is whether or not he was legally innocent and that question seems to have been settled a long time ago.

So, if someone else actually killed a person after another is fairly sentenced for the crime, who should care? A killer is still on the streets. Seems relevant.


The position on the imperfect nature of the system etc. is fine as far as it goes, but at some point it goes off the rails. We have a pardon system, e.g., just for such a situation. We realize the trial system, as impressive as it is in various respects, is imperfect, and leave open other avenues to deal with possible mistakes, honest or not. This includes some time later finding out the person "legally" guilty is "factually" not.

Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2012 9:39:10 AM

If the legal process was dysfunctional then our obligation is to make it less dysfunctional so such mistakes don't happen again

How do we make it less dysfunctional if we don't care to determine when a "mistake" was made and report them to the general public?

Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2012 9:48:11 AM

From Slate:

Carlos DeLuna maintained his innocence from the moment he was arrested in 1983 for the stabbing death of a young Texas woman right up until he was executed six years later. On Monday, a Columbia University professor and a group of law students offered what appears to be definitive proof that DeLuna's mistaken-identity claims were the real deal and that an innocent man was put to death.

The Guardian explains how DeLuna, a 20-year-old eighth-grade dropout at the time of his arrest, told authorities that not only was he not Wanda Lopez's killer, but that he knew the man who was: Carlos Hernandez, a notorious criminal who shared Deluna's first name and looked so much like him that the two were frequently mistaken for twins. The prosecution, however, successfully argued that they searched for this elusive Hernandez without success, and that DeLuna had simply made him up.

But in the spring edition of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, professor James Liebman recounts how he was able to track down Hernandez with little effort. Four years after DeLuna was put to death, Liebman hired a private investigator to see if he could find any evidence of Hernandez. Within hours, the investigator found a woman who knew Hernandez's date of birth, which proved not only Hernandez’s existence but helped unlock his criminal record that showed he had a record of abusing women.

Among the many damning findings, Liebman, with the help of 12 students, discovered that Hernandez had made numerous confessions to killing Lopez, and that forensic teams had failed to take the most basic measures in investigating the crime scene. Meanwhile, Deluna's death row sentence was largely based on the eyewitness account of one man, who, as the Guardian reports, admitted in an interview 20 years after the crime that he's not that sure whom he saw flee the scene.

"This case changed my whole view," Liebman told the Houston Chronicle. "I had thought the problem cases were ones where you have an out-of-town defendant, a scary person who commits a really bad crime that grabs the whole community. ... Now, I think the worst cases are those that likely happen every day in which no one cares that much about the defendant or the victim."

Over at The Atlantic, Andrew Cohen explains that the report severely undercuts Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's claim that it it highly unlikely that the an innocent man has ever been put to death in the United States by capital punishment in modern times.

Here's Scalia's pull-quote:

"It should be noted at the outset that the dissent does not discuss a single case—not one—in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops by the abolition lobby."

For more, check out the full Columbia report, "Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution."

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 16, 2012 2:24:57 PM

From Salon:

Death-penalty abolitionists long believed that the execution of an innocent person would turn the public against capital punishment. But that conviction has recently been shaken. First, there was Cameron Todd Willingham, who, after his 2004 execution in Texas, was found to have been likely innocent of killing his three small daughters. Nearly a decade later, Georgia executed Troy Davis despite widespread doubts about his guilt.

A new investigative report by the Columbia Human Rights Law Review reveals that Carlos DeLuna, who was executed by the state of Texas in 1989, was likely innocent as well. The full report, titled “Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution,” can be viewed at CHRLR’s newly launched interactive website where readers can view all of the evidence cited in the article.

DeLuna, a poor Latino man described as having the intelligence of a child, was convicted of murdering Wanda Lopez, a 24-year-old single mother who was stabbed to death with a folding knife in 1983 while working behind the cash register at a gas station in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Lopez called 911 when her killer entered the store, leaving behind a recording of the encounter. She is heard answering a series of yes or no questions asked by the dispatcher about the creepy customer with the knife in his pocket and then whispering that he’s “standing right here at the counter” and “can’t talk,” followed by “Okay. This? Eighty-five,” in response to the customer. After more questions from the dispatcher, Lopez is heard pleading for her life and the line cuts off.

The only evidence against DeLuna was the shoddy eyewitness testimony of Kevin Baker, a car salesman who came face to face with Lopez’s killer as he fled the scene. Although DeLuna partly resembled the description given by Baker, upon further investigation it seems that DeLuna and the man Baker described were not the same person. For example, Baker told police that the culprit had a full mustache and so much facial hair that he looked like “he hadn’t shaved in, you know, ten days, a couple weeks.”

When police found DeLuna, he was lying half naked, shoeless and shirtless, underneath a pickup truck with little more than a day or two of stubble and no mustache. DeLuna testified that he was at the nightclub across the street from the crime scene trying to find a ride home when the sound of police sirens freaked him out because he was on parole at the time. So he ran, losing his shirt when he jumped a fence.

According to the CHRLR report, two decades after the murder, Baker admitted to a detective that he was only 70 percent certain that the half-naked man he saw in the back of the police car (DeLuna) and the man he saw stab Lopez were the same. Even family and friends had a hard time telling the difference between pictures of DeLuna and pictures of Hernandez.

From the time he was arrested to his subsequent execution in 1989, DeLuna maintained his innocence, repeating over and over again to his lawyers, family and the media, “I didn’t do it, but I know who did.” Nobody listened. At his trial DeLuna testified that “some other dude named Carlos” was the culprit, and still nobody listened.

DeLuna was referring to Carlos Hernandez, a Latino man whom the police were all too familiar with given his violent criminal history.

The night before his trial, DeLuna told his lawyer that an acquaintance had accompanied him to the nightclub the night of the murder. On the way there, DeLuna said the acquaintance stopped at the gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes for 85 cents, the same amount Lopez was heard saying on the 911 recording.

Like most people in the neighborhood, DeLuna was terrified of Hernandez, which is why it took him several months to identify him by name. Hector De Peña, DeLuna’s first state-appointed lawyer, recalls him saying, “I’m dead whether I’m out [of jail] or in if I identify him.”

Just weeks after Lopez was murdered, Eddie Garza, a Corpus Christi detective, heard from his vast network of informants that Carlos Hernandez was bragging in the streets that he got away with killing Wanda Lopez. At one point, he was suspected of fatally stabbing another woman.

Despite the evidence implicating Hernandez as the possible culprit, police and prosecutors never passed the information on to DeLuna’s lawyer. Instead, the prosecution argued in court that Carlos Hernandez was nothing more than a figment of DeLuna’s twisted imagination, an accusation that was upheld during his appeal.

DeLuna’s identification of Hernandez wasn’t taken seriously until 16 years after his execution. In an in-depth investigation, the Chicago Tribune uncovered evidence showing Carlos Hernandez to be the likely killer. “Ending years of silence, Hernandez’s relatives and friends recounted how the violent felon repeatedly bragged that DeLuna went to death row for a murder Hernandez committed,” reported the Tribune. They didn’t feel safe sharing their knowledge of Hernandez’s crime until after he died of liver cirrhosis in 1999 while serving a prison sentence for assault with a knife.

Given the mishandling of the investigation, prosecutorial misconduct and an inadequate defense, the jury unanimously found DeLuna guilty and he was sentenced to death.

As DeLuna languished on death row, Hernandez managed to get arrested nine times, once for killing a woman and another time for stabbing a Hispanic woman nearly to death. Again, the police and district attorney failed to inform DeLuna’s lawyers and the judges overseeing his appeals. Meanwhile, the prosecution continued to argue that Carlos Hernandez did not exist outside of DeLuna’s mind.

Rev. Carroll Pickett, the death house chaplain who presided over nearly 95 executions, was struck by DeLuna’s claim of innocence until his very last breath. Pickett said that inmates would eventually confess before meeting their maker, which is why Pickett believes that DeLuna was indeed innocent. The chaplain became an advocate for the abolition of the death penalty as a result.

By chronicling the mistakes made by authorities at every stage of DeLuna’s case, the CHRLR report highlights the ease with which the criminal justice system can lead to wrongful conviction and, in capital cases, a deadly and irreversible outcome.

Cameron Todd Willingham, Troy Davis and Carlos DeLuna make up just a handful of people that have been executed despite serious doubts about their guilt, which raises the question: How many more people will be strapped to a gurney and injected with poison before the death penalty is abandoned?

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 16, 2012 2:49:32 PM

@CCDC
"The Guardian explains how DeLuna, a 20-year-old eighth-grade dropout at the time of his arrest, told authorities that not only was he not Wanda Lopez's killer, but that he knew the man who was: Carlos Hernandez, a notorious criminal who shared Deluna's first name and looked so much like him that the two were frequently mistaken for twins. The prosecution, however, successfully argued that they searched for this elusive Hernandez without success, and that DeLuna had simply made him up."

De Luna only identified him by his first name, he didn't give his full name or try to steer authorities to this man. Had he been really innocent I can't imagine why he would have kept that to himself.

"At his trial DeLuna testified that “some other dude named Carlos” was the culprit, and still nobody listened."
http://www.salon.com/2012/05/15/another_innocent_executed/

Posted by: MikeinCT | May 16, 2012 3:00:35 PM

I am not a fan of the death penalty but I stand with the original jury. It's not easy to convince twelve people to convict someone of a capital crime. If all twelve were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt after hearing all the facts in evidence, then he probably did it.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | May 16, 2012 3:37:07 PM

Jardinero1 ... thousands of juries have convicted people of capital crimes. Statistically, it would be quite minor if even 100 mistakes were made. I say this just as an example, not saying it occurred. That would still mean the jury was right 99%+ of the time.

Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2012 5:17:26 PM

Joe, I still stand by the jury's decision. I will readily criticize the police and prosecutors for their mistakes. But that's why we have juries in the first place. Juries are there to wade through all that and decide fact from fiction.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | May 16, 2012 5:58:00 PM

Jardienero1, we also have the media, pardon boards, judges, etc. because juries aren't perfect either. No institution, including juries, are perfect.

You really didn't address my point. Juries can be right 99% of the time. We are talking about the last proverbial 1% here. It doesn't belittle the value of juries to not make them superhuman.

Posted by: Joe | May 16, 2012 7:05:53 PM

I don't count the media but yes we do have boards, judges, etc. because juries aren't perfect either. Yes, I agree, no institution, including juries, are perfect.

I still stand with the jury's unanimous interpretation of the evidence. Apparently, the pardon boards and appellate courts did as well. I still prefer a jury as the final interpreter and arbiter of the evidence, the facts and hopefully the law as well.

I prefer a jury to all the James Liebman, ex post propter hoc, armchair arbiters of the world. Though I must say, that were I a defendant, I would definitely want James Liebman on the jury.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | May 16, 2012 9:15:04 PM

@Jardinero

Exactly. The buck has to stop somewhere; there is a virtue to finality. As the old saying goes "SCOTUS is not final because it is supreme, it is supreme because it is final."

The sickness of the life lovers is their arrogance. The only acceptable place for the buck to stop in is the inherent righteousness of their pride. They don't care who or what they destroy so long as at the end of they day they were right.

Posted by: Daniel | May 16, 2012 11:47:18 PM

arrogance, pride, righteousness, surely you jest and fail to recognize your own destructive shortcomings

Posted by: Fallacies | May 17, 2012 5:53:46 PM

Why would any knowledgeable person accept this latest Liebman study, without fully fact checking it, based upon James Liebman's last opus, "A Broken System?

What happened when folks took the time to fact check that report?

Take a look.

"A Broken Study: A Review of 'A Broken System"
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/10/broken-study-review-of-broken-system.html

Did no one consider that this latest tome is an anti death penalty hit piece, where new and old witnesses were highly influenced, if not pressured by the investigators, with no cross examination?

This is the perfect storm for anti death penalty folks. Both the "innocent" and "guilty" parties are both dead and you have an always eager press to play defense mouthpiece for an anti death penalty report.

Possibly, at some point, this report will be fact checked, as these were:

"The Innocent Executed: Deception & Death Penalty Opponents"
http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/10/08/the-innocent-executed-deception--death-penalty-opponents--draft.aspx

Am I saying that this newest Liebman report is total BS, just another anti death penalty tome whereby the conclusions can either be easily rebutted or that stronger positions can be made for guilt, with a thorough review, as was the case with many prior such cases?

No.

But anyone would be a fool not to consider it.

Time will tell.

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i agree the statement of Columbia University law professor James Lieberman,

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