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Old 09-08-2009, 04:51 PM   #1
InspiredLebowski
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Default Was an innocent man executed?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,5812073.story

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In a withering critique, a nationally known fire scientist has told a state commission on forensics that Texas fire investigators had no basis to rule a deadly house fire was an arson -- a finding that led to the murder conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.

The finding comes in the first state-sanctioned review of an execution in Texas, home to the country's busiest death chamber. If the commission reaches the same conclusion, it could lead to the first-ever declaration by an official state body that an inmate was wrongly executed.

Indeed, the report concludes there was no evidence to determine that the December 1991 fire was even set, and it leaves open the possibility the blaze that killed three children was an accident and there was no crime at all -- the same findings found in a Chicago Tribune investigation of the case published in December 2004.

Willingham, the father of those children, was executed in February 2004. He protested his innocence to the end.

Defense offered no opposing expert testimony, psychiatric expert described Willingham as a dangerous psychopath despite never meeting him, changed witness statements.

You think abortion is a tough question of morality for our nation? What happens if this man really was innocent, beyond the shadow of a doubt? Or is one innocent dead guy worth it?
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Thats why I always say, never commit a crime in texas or cali. Sadly, some people executed have been innocent. I mean, if you can be exonerate when you were found guilty for rape, nothing is out of bounds.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

the death penalty is so ****ed up, its likley innocent people have been executed in the past. needs to be abolished, especially considering the us considers itself the most free thinking and progressive country in the world.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:56 PM   #4
MarloStanfield
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CasterL
the death penalty is so ****ed up, its likley innocent people have been executed in the past. needs to be abolished, especially considering the us considers itself the most free thinking and progressive country in the world.
agreed
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CasterL
the death penalty is so ****ed up, its likley innocent people have been executed in the past. needs to be abolished, especially considering the us considers itself the most free thinking and progressive country in the world.
Agreed.


I am positive innocent people have been executed.
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CasterL
the death penalty is so ****ed up, its likley innocent people have been executed in the past

They surely have been, the difference is this would be the first PROVEN case of innocence in state sponsored death in the nation.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

thats pretty significant, hopefully that would take major wind out of the sails of people who support the death penalty
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CasterL
the death penalty is so ****ed up, its likley innocent people have been executed in the past. needs to be abolished, especially considering the us considers itself the most free thinking and progressive country in the world.
Yeah, it needs to go. I'm all for life sentencing (something the UK, doesn't do), but the death penalty is just too much.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

I was honestly anticipating more push back on this.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

*waits for Hawker to come in defending Texas*
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

It's not the first time an innocent man has been executed in Texas and it won't be the last. Even authorities now pretty much agree that Carlos De Luna was completely innocent and he was executed in 1989.

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For many years, few questioned whether Carlos De Luna deserved to die.

His execution closed the book on the fatal stabbing of Wanda Lopez, a single mother and gas station clerk whose final, desperate screams were captured on a 911 tape.Arrested just blocks from the bloody crime scene, De Luna was swiftly convicted and sentenced to death--even though the parolee proclaimed his innocence and identified another man as the killer.

But 16 years after De Luna died by lethal injection, the Tribune has uncovered evidence strongly suggesting that the acquaintance he named, Carlos Hernandez, was the one who killed Lopez in 1983.

Ending years of silence, Hernandez's relatives and friends recounted how the violent felon repeatedly bragged that De Luna went to Death Row for a murder Hernandez committed.

The newspaper investigation, involving interviews with dozens of people and a review of thousands of pages of court records, shows the case was compromised by shaky eyewitness identification, sloppy police work and a failure to thoroughly pursue Hernandez as a possible suspect.

These revelations, which cast significant doubt over De Luna's conviction, were never heard by the jury.

His case represents one of the most compelling examples yet of the discovery of possible innocence after a prisoner's execution.

Presented with the results of the newspaper's inquiry, De Luna's prosecutors still believe they convicted the right man. But the lead prosecutor acknowledged he is troubled by some of the new information. And a former police detective told the Tribune that he got tips about Hernandez shortly after the crime and now believes the wrong man was executed.

Missing from this case is DNA or some other kind of evidence that could provide conclusive proof of De Luna's guilt or innocence. The store wasn't equipped with a security camera that could have captured images of the killer.

The newspaper learned of De Luna from a Columbia University law professor who had begun to dig up evidence that pointed to Hernandez, who died in 1999.

The possibility of De Luna's innocence played no role in his final appeal, which focused on his lawyers' failure to present any mitigating evidence at his sentencing.

When that failed, and when Texas' governor declined to grant him clemency, De Luna, 27, quietly accepted his fate a few minutes after midnight on Dec. 7, 1989. He thanked the warden for being treated well by the guards and prayed on his knees with the death-house chaplain.

Strapped onto the gurney, chemicals flowing into his veins, De Luna didn't close his eyes. After 15 seconds, he jerked his head up and apparently tried to speak.

Ten more seconds passed. De Luna raised his head again and stared into the chaplain's eyes. De Luna tried again to speak but failed and soon lost consciousness.

The moment was seared into the chaplain's memory. What, he still wonders, was De Luna trying to say?
http://www.chicagotribune.com/servic...4122.htmlstory

Personally, I would be against the death penalty if it had 100-percent accuracy. I don't think that there should be state sanctioned murder in the United States while every other industrialized nation in the world has long done away with it. The punishment is archaic.

But, it doesn't have 100-percent accuracy and, in fact, there will always be a percentage of people that are innocent, yet executed. That makes it completely unacceptable on every level. Even if one in every 10,000 executed are innocent, it is too much.

That means you or I could be put on death row because of no fault of our own... because we were that 'small percentage' of innocents. I will never understand how anyone can support a punishment that can have such a tragic result.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Over recent years there have been cases and stuff slowly representing a change in heart of the jusice system in regards to the death penalty hasn't there? I remember there was that Lousiana case where they deemed the death penalty for any act other than murder was unconstitutional and even in the Kentucky case where the court said lethal injection wasn't cruel and unusual punishment a justice in his OPINION of the court said that the case essentially opened up the question on whether or not the death penalty is a justifiable punishment.

I know this is different from Supreme Court decisions, but in many ways it seems like it can be more important than any ruling the court has made. It proves the fallibility of the death penalty straight from the people that hold the needles.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:24 PM   #13
rufuspaul
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsfan1357
Over recent years there have been cases and stuff slowly representing a change in heart of the jusice system in regards to the death penalty hasn't there? I remember there was that Lousiana case where they deemed the death penalty for any act other than murder was unconstitutional and even in the Kentucky case where the court said lethal injection wasn't cruel and unusual punishment a justice in his OPINION of the court said that the case essentially opened up the question on whether or not the death penalty is a justifiable punishment.

I know this is different from Supreme Court decisions, but in many ways it seems like it can be more important than any ruling the court has made. It proves the fallibility of the death penalty straight from the people that hold the needles.

This. To me the death penalty has always been one of those issues that only work conceptually. Killing someone who has killed sounds like true justice, but in the current system you end up with cases like the OP brings up. It's bad enough that innocent people go to prison, criminals are mistakenly set free, parolees and people on probation fall through the cracks, and everything else that goes wrong in the criminal justice system. But a line has to be drawn when innocents are killed by the state.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

the death penalty is just state sponsored revenge. there is no need for it in a civilized society when there are the means to have life in prison as an option

there have been 17 people on death row exporated because of dna testing:
http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/1857.php


get informed:

http://www.innocenceproject.org/
http://www.innocenceproject.org/news/Fact-Sheets.php
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:51 PM   #15
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Default Re: Was an innocent man executed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainierBeachPoet
the death penalty is just state sponsored revenge. there is no need for it in a civilized society when there are the means to have life in prison as an option

there have been 17 people on death row exporated because of dna testing:
http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/1857.php


get informed:

http://www.innocenceproject.org/
http://www.innocenceproject.org/news/Fact-Sheets.php

life in prison costs too much. If anything why should taxpayers have to pay for the most violent offenders that are undoubtedly guilty, and will never become a normal member of society? We really need to review the worst of cases and execute accordingly as long as its beyond a shadow of a doubt, and create a harsher deterrence to those type of crimes. Then decriminalize marijuana offenses into just fines for doing it in public. Then maybe our prison system wouldn't be so overburdened.
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