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Another death row exoneration in North Carolina

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by franticscribe, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    Two brothers, both mentally disabled, convicted as teenagers. One has been on death row for 30 years. The other serving a life sentence.


    The N&O did a full write-thru of their story this weekend: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/30/4105707/on-death-row-tormented-by-watching.html
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    You guys should read some of the "confessions" that people make that they end up getting convicted on. I'll dig one up later and post it. Unbelievable stuff. Just sickening.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I don't know that people get nearly as upset about this as they should. These men were in prison for decades, one of them on death row, for a crime they did not commit.

    There are multiple threads here that have turned into paens to the morally incorruptible American police officer, always willing to work with you as long as you are willing to show respect to him in return. But the number of DNA exonerations - i.e. instances where the person convicted could not have committed the crime - is now in the 300s, I believe. Here, one of the men had an IQ under 50.

    This is the shame of a nation, and should be treated as such. It should shake people's faith in our system, in the Constitution, in law, to their very core.

    Think about how many innocent people were imprisoned or put to death before DNA technology.

    And think about how many innocent people are imprisoned or going to be put to death for crimes where no physical evidence was collected, i.e. shootings.

    This is some serious shit, you guys.
  4. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    You think this case somehow vindicates skepticism about police? Really?

    This case, and many similar to it, is an absolute tragedy. But to lay the blame on "the police" (a la Ferguson, etc.) is to paint with a ridiculously overbroad brush. Hell, even the defense attorney (at the appeal stage) admits to browbeating the defendants to confess.

    The real villains in this injustice are: 1) the State Bureau of Investigation agents who coerced the sham confessions; and 2) the prosecutor who got his belt notch, truth be damned.

    But, having said that ... let me get this straight. We've got two guys, who've been unjustly imprisoned for decades, ruled to be innocent by a judge and ordered freed. And prison officials insist these guys have to spend one more night behind bars because they "need to be processed." What the hell?
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think that 300 confirmed DNA exonerations, many of them due to suggestive identifications and/or coerced confessions, vindicates skepticism about the police, yes I do.

    Larger than that, though, I think that this case is another data point vindicating skepticism about the entire fucked system of criminal justice we have. From police, to prosecutors, to juries, up to judges. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes not.

    It's not good at determining guilt or innocence. It is, mostly, a lawyer contest.
  6. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    We're arguing nomenclature. You're using the word "police" as a catch-all term for the entire criminal justice system. I'm using it in a very narrow sense. "Police," as I'm using the word, played almost no role in this tragedy.
  7. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    I have to believe that you didn't actually read the articles in question, because you're not usually willingly obtuse.

    There's no question that there was malice at multiple levels in this case, but the police should never have presented the two for charges in the first place.
  8. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Again, I am referring to those police officers you see walking (or driving) around in uniform ... you know, policing. The kind of police who've been brought up in multiple conversations/discussions of late (e.g., Ferguson, "I'm a cop", etc.). The ones doing the shooting, the tasing, the beating.

    The defendants here were brought in by the NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). Those folks are law enforcement, yes, but they're not the type/level of law enforcement to which DW was referring vis-a-vis other conversations.

    But I agree completely with you that the SBI should not have brought those guys in for questioning on the basis of a teenager's statement that so-and-so looks at girls funny.

    And, yes, I read both of the articles.
  9. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    I don't know that people get as upset as they should about a guilty murderer still being out there every time someone gets exonerated. Guess it's better to have 1,000 guilty men walk than have 1 innocent man imprisoned. Just hope you or family doesn't cross the murderers or rapists.
  10. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    I'm more angry that the apparent killer of this girl - Roscoe Artis - raped and killed another girl one month after police (and I'm using police to encompass the SBI agent, the sheriff's deputy and the Red Springs police who worked together on this case) elicited false confessions from these two than I am at the idea that a killer walks freely among us because of an exoneration.

    To make it worse, at the time of this killing an active murder warrant for Artis was pending on the other side of the state, and he lived only a block from where the killing occurred. Had the police done a thorough job, he would have been suspect No. 1 from the get-go and this doesn't get pinned on two developmentally disabled teenagers - among the easiest groups from which to coerce a false confession.

    Dick's right that this kind of case should piss people off more than it seems to.
  11. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    If you think it pisses off people who have had the benefit of an education (one of the great things about law school was learning criminal procedure and the things that occurred prior to the right of representation (Gideon v. Wainwright IIRC) and Miranda; think about the impact on those less educated and less fortunate; yes they get very pissed off and very skeptical of the "Police".
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    "Why wouldn't you just cooperate when the police want to talk to you?"

    - YankeeFan and others, SportsJournalists.com, 8/2014
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