"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lies, Damned Lies, and Activists

Sigh... you would think that people in the business would know this: just because someone else's DNA is found at a crime scene, it does not mean a defendant has been "exonerated."

Curits McCarty was recently sprung from death row after having been convicted not once, but twice, of the 1982 murder of 18-year-old Pamela Kaye Willis. The state at trial had alleged that she had been raped. There was seminal fluid that was preserved from the crime scene, and it was new DNA testing on this evidence that showed McCarty did not contribute the evidence. A corrupt state forensic scientist had grossly mishandled the evidence, which led a judge to dismiss a third attempt at convicting McCarty even while voicing suspicions about his involvement with the murder. However, as the state court ruling on the habeas petition explained:
The State, however, claims the DNA tests do not exonerate Petitioner, stating “at best, these findings… only exclude him as the source of the seminal fluid from the vaginal slide.” Furthermore, the State correctly points out that Petitioner had previously challenged the State’s theory that a sexual assault had even occurred.
Indeed, in our opinion in Petitioner’s trial on guilt or innocence, we specifically noted defense counsel “was effective in eliciting from the experts testimony which indicated that the evidence of sexual activity did not absolutely support the conclusion that the victim had been sexually assaulted.” McCarty, 1995 OK CR 48, ¶ 63, 904 P.2d at 127. Because we found there was no “conclusive evidence that a rape or sodomy occurred,” the fact that the semen did not prove to be Petitioner’s is hardly proof that Petitioner is innocent of murder.
Amen. So, can we forget about this being another of the DPIC's falsely-labeled "death row exonerations"?

As the state of Oklahoma argued, McCarty “is anything but actually innocent of the crime… At best, this case involves a clearly guilty man who hopes to walk free because of the incompetence, or malice, of an Oklahoma City police chemist.”

Why? Because aside from the DNA, which only proves that someone other than McCarty had sex with the drug-addicted victim, and therefore is really not especially relevant to the crime of murder, the state showed that McCarty made not one, not two, but three separate and contradictory statements about the crime. The state also presented evidence that placed McCarty near the scene of the crime and that he made incriminating statements to two different witnesses.

So while a death penalty case might go out the window without an exceptional circumstance like rape, a murder charge would still be sustainable. In any case, even if it were not be possible to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as the OJ case reminded us, "not guilty" does not mean "exonerated" or "innocent."

So why would the absurdly-named Innocence Project claim that "every piece of evidence" shows McCarty's innocence?

It couldn't be that their extremist anti-death penalty ideology trumps every other consideration, including basic respect for facts and truth?

1 comment:

cc said...

Thank God for Barry Scheck. Nothing is perfect in this world. It is better to let one guilty go free than to convict one that is innocent..Too many innocent persons have been convicted due to racism, inept counsel,sick judges and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So does one's DNA at the scene of a crime automatically convict a defendant? I got in my car and tried to get to the courthouse just to give Barry a word of support..but by the time I really realized that the news report was a live cast, only the news crew was there. In any event, DO NOT DENY THE TRUTH OF INSTITUTIONALIZED
racism in America. It is real, it has been real and will continue to be real. Some jurists are half retarded, some hide their idiosyncracies, a lot of judges are something else..and since I have known a few, as friends, suitors and have worked in the courts I would daresay..
No one ever knows what really happens unless your are there and then you are only observing an empirical incident but you don't know what led up to it or what the intent necessarily was, the state of mind of the individual or all of the circumstances that led to that degree of tension. From what has been said, then I would assume that based on his mutterings and ramblings his state of mind and his mental ability were compromised. Cite your sources for those who are interested. I am not. Oh and why do I correctly assume you are a "white" American? you are giving yourself away,your racism is showing.. you don't give a rat's foot about those poor little "Black" children. But just so you know when you learn the art of objective analysis, OJ was definitely involved, but I always maintained in my heart that his son Jason was the actual assailant, no one has even thought about that. He loves his Dad and he is big and strapping and was there. But that is just a gut feeling not based on any evidence.