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Tag Archives: exoneration

Lack of Character – Mike Pence Refused Pardon of Innocent Man

The reason Mueller is pursuing the Chumph/Russia case the way he is, is that he knows simply taking down the Chumph won’t solve the problem. VP Mike Pence is every bit as racist, and is likely far more dangerous to the country than the feeble minded Chumph.

Here s hoping that the victim’s lawyers find a route to prosecute Pence criminally.

Keith Cooper spent 10 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Even after being released for innocence, and with a unanimous recommendation from the state parole board, Pence Refused to sign the exoneration to clear Cooper’s name.

 

Exonerated Man Who Mike Pence Wouldn’t Pardon Sues Police Over Wrongful Conviction

A 50-year-old Indiana man who spent 10 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit has sued, claiming that police framed him. Earlier this year, Keith Cooper, whom Mike Pence declined to exonerate while he was governor, became the first person in Indiana history pardoned for innocence.

An Indiana man who spent 10 years in prison for an armed robbery that he didn’t commit has sued the local police department, claiming they fabricated false evidence to convict him.

Keith Cooper’s case came into the national spotlight after Vice President Mike Pence, while still serving as Indiana governor, declined to pardon Cooper, despite a unanimous recommendation from the state parole board to exonerate him.

In February 2017, Pence’s successor, current Indiana governor Eric Holcomb, granted Cooper’s pardon, making him the first person in Indiana to be pardoned for actual innocence in the state’s history. Cooper waited six years for his pardon and three years for the governor’s office to act on the parole board’s recommendation.

Now Cooper has filed a civil rights complaint against the local police and the City of Elkhart, Indiana, alleging “egregious wrongdoing of manufacturing and fabricating all the evidence of his supposed guilt.”

In August 2016, BuzzFeed News reportedabout Cooper’s wrongful conviction of the 1996 robbery where one man was shot.

Twelve years after the incident, in 2008, shooting victim Michael Kershner and his mother, Nona Canell, gave videotaped statements claiming that they misidentified Cooper.

Canell said that during the initial investigation she requested “numerous times” to see a lineup of suspects, but the lead detective on the case, Elkhart police detective Steve Rezutko, assured her that they had “the right guy” in Cooper.

In 2006, after reviewing the new testimony from Kershner and Canell, along with new DNA evidence putting another man at the crime scene, the state court judge in Cooper’s case offered him a deal to resentence him to time served. Cooper was freed but the felony conviction stayed on his record.

Five years later, Cooper filed a petition to have the crime he didn’t commit erased from his record. It would take another three years, but in 2014 the state’s parole board unanimously recommended that Cooper be pardoned, sending the recommendation to then-governor Pence’s desk.

But Cooper’s attempt to formally clear his name stalled there, as Pence declined to act on the pardon for over two years. Then in the summer of 2016, while Pence campaigned alongside Donald Trump as his vice presidential pick, his general counsel sent Cooper and his attorneys a letter stating that “to our knowledge, Mr. Cooper has not filed a petition with the courts in Elkhart County to determine whether post-conviction relief is available.”

The letter added that Pence would not act on the parole board’s recommendation “out of respect for the judicial process.”

Despite Pence’s claims that Cooper had not fulfilled his obligations with the court, when Gov. Holcomb — who served as Pence’s deputy — took office, he acted on the board’s recommendation and granted the pardon.

Cooper’s lawsuit filed this week doesn’t name the governor’s office as a defendant, rather he is suing the City of Elkhart and the individual officers, including Rezutko, who investigated the robbery. Cooper claims in his lawsuit that they maliciously prosecuted him with false evidence. He says that to this day he suffers from ongoing depression and PTSD from the episode.

“It took more than two decades for Keith to finally get his name back,” said Elliot Slosar, staff attorney with the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago. “Today begins his much shorter journey towards rebuilding the life he once enjoyed before being framed for a crime he did not commit.”

Image result for trump pence

Trump/Pence – Same racist shit …Different hair color

 

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The Chumph Continues With Central Park 5 Racism

The Central Park 5 case was the gold standard of wrongful convictions in the United States. Five teenage boys were beaten, threatened, and coerced into confessing a crime they didn’t commit. After spending years in prison, they were acquitted. The prosecution convicted them even though there was no DNA evidence, or even evidence the boys were near the scene of the crime, in a trial reminiscent of the lynchings in the South. Donald Trump played a major role in cheer-leading that lynching, calling for the death penalty for the boys in full page newspaper ads.

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Exclusive: Central Park Five Members Blast Trump for Insisting They’re Guilty

“He believes in everything he’s put out there—the racial vision he’s created.”

After Donald Trump reaffirmed his long-held belief this week that the men known as the Central Park Five were guilty in an infamous, decades-old rape case, two members of the since-exonerated group blasted Trump in interviews with Mother Jones, calling him a “stunt artist” and saying “he’s gotten worse” since his involvement in their 1990 conviction.

“You have a person who’s supposed to be a very intelligent business man, and what I’m sure he would do if he was trying to purchase a property is do his due diligence,” Yusef Salaam told me Friday, noting that Trump continued to ignore the facts of the Central Park Five case. “For somebody to still stand on the side of injustice like Donald Trump is, that becomes a very scary place to be.”

In a statement to CNN this week, Trump said he still believed the Central Park Five were guilty. “They admitted they were guilty,” he told CNN’s Miguel Marquez. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that the case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were convicted of brutally attacking a young white jogger in New York City’s Central Park. The crime, which came at the height of the crack epidemic and skyrocketing crime rates, enflamed racial tension in the city. About two weeks after the incident, Trump published a full-page ad in four major New York newspapers calling for the teens to be brought to justice—and suggesting that they should face the death penalty. But in 2002, all five men—who spent between 6 and 13 years in prison—were exonerated based on DNA evidence and a confession from the actual perpetrator, whose DNA was shown to match evidence at the scene.Image result for Central Park 5 acquittal

Mother Jones talked to two members of the Central Park Five—Salaam and Korey Wise—about Trump’s role in their case, their thoughts on his presidential candidacy, and his latest comments about their case. Not surprisingly, neither is happy to see one of their main antagonists on the national stage day in and day out.

Salaam, who was 15 when he was jailed for the assault, said he believes Trump played a crucial role in the media campaign against him.

“[Trump] was one of the fire starters—really the main fire starter—because his name held a lot more weight,” he said. His ad facilitated “the conviction that was going to happen in the public arena prior to us even getting into the courthouse.”

Wise told me he only learned about Trump’s ad after watching a documentary on his case several years ago. After seeing it, he understood why the case had become so incredibly charged. “I said, ‘Wow! Wow! Wow!'” Wise said. “This is where a great deal of the energy that was directed at me in terms of physical threats” came from.

“The ad was talking about and goes specifically into fears that the public was having at that particular time,” Salaam told me. “He’s talking about how ‘we’ve had to give up our leisurely stroll in the playground, and we can’t ride our bikes, or we can’t walk around in the streets because now we’re hostages, ruled by the laws of the streets.'” Trump has revisited those themes in his presidential campaign, often citing gun violence in cities like Chicago as indicative of a breakdown in “law and order,” which he insists he can restore.

Salaam also suggested that Trump was a hypocrite for attacking Hillary Clinton over her “superpredator” remarks in the first presidential debate. “She well within her right could have said, ‘Well you took out a full-page ad calling for the execution—the lynching, the death—of young black and Latino men—and you have never apologized.'”

More than 25 years later, Trump hasn’t changed, Salaam said. “As a matter of fact, he’s gotten worse,” he said. “He believes in everything he’s put out there—the racial vision he’s created.”

For his part, Wise said he doesn’t think about what a Trump presidency would mean because he doesn’t take him seriously: “He’s a stunt artist…He follows publicity.”

But Salaam had a bleaker assessment of what the country would look like with Trump as commander in chief: “If he becomes president, what is that going to mean for the people who are losing their lives in the street? This ‘law and order’ is going to be a very, very scary thing for us as a people.”

From left: Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr., Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise in 2012 outside a theater before the New York premiere of “The Central Park Five.”

 

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The New Jim Crow – And Exoneration

The common depiction of Justice with a blindfold wasn’t meant as a cover for willful blindness to innocence. To date, 873 people convicted of crimes in our “Justice” system, and in at least one provable case executed have been exonerated. They just didn’t do the crime they were convicted of doing. Some interesting statistics about that –

50 Percent of Those Exonerated in National Registry are Black

The University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law have partnered to launch a National Registry of Exonerations that keeps an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989. The group’s inaugural report released this week reveals 50 percent of false convictions are of black defendants.

The National Registry of Exoneration documents include 891 exonerations with summaries of the cases and searchable data on each. Their latest report focuses on the 873 exonerations that were entered in the Registry as of March 1, 2012.

Below are key findings from the Center’s study of the 873 exonerated defendants as printed in the report:

  • 93% are men, 7% women;
  • 50% are black, 38% white, 11% Hispanic and 2% Native American or Asian;
  • 37% were exonerated with the help of DNA evidence; 63% without DNA; as a group, they spent more than 10,000 years in prison – an average of more than 11 years each.
  • Since 2000, exonerations have averaged 52 a year – one a week – 40% of which include DNA evidence.
  • The 873 exonerations are mostly rape and murder cases, but the data also include
    many more exonerations for other crimes than previously known.

For all exonerations, the most common causal factors that contributed to the underlying false convictions are perjury or false accusation (51%), mistaken eyewitness identification (43%) and official misconduct (42%) – followed by false or misleading forensic evidence (24%) and false confession (16%).

Of course, 873 is only a small portion of the convictions for crime we see in any year – much less over 30 years. And the fact that 50% of the folks who were exonerated in a system where 50% of the convicted are black, doesn’t necessarily prove racial bias when considered on its own. The vast majority of criminal convictions in the US are for minor drug offenses with major incarceration times. Those are not disprovable by DNA.

What it does mean is, considering the shoestring budget of groups seeking Justice meaning that only the most egregious cases of injustice are pursued, and the fact that States throw the legal kitchen sink at the legal teams seeking exoneration in order to avoid the exoneration and likely cost of a lawsuit for wrongful conviction… The number of wrongful convictions is probably much, much, much higher.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Hang ’em High

Texas Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller and Michael Wayne Richard

Texas Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller and Michael Wayne Richard

Texas judge who shut door on a death row appeal is on trial for misconduct

A prominent Texas judge says she will take the stand to answer charges of professional misconduct for refusing to hear a last-minute appeal from a condemned prisoner that came in after normal office hours, The Associated Press reports.

Sharon Keller, a Republican dubbed “Sharon Killer” for her tough stance on crime, faces a special hearing at the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct that could result in her removal from the bench of the state’s highest criminal court.

In 2007, Keller had instructed a staffer to close the court after 5 p.m. at a time when lawyers for a convicted killer were scrambling to seek a stay of execution in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear the man’s case, the AP reports.

The efforts to file the appeal had been delayed by computer glitches and the prisoner’s lawyers had called at 4:45 p.m. to request a delay, but were told by the judge that “we close at 5 p.m.”

The prisoner was executed by lethal injection about three hours later.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded that Keller had engaged in “willful or persistent conduct that cast public discredit on the judiciary” and multiple newspaper editorials condemned her actions.

More – Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2009 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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