Columnist Paul Craig Roberts observes that, once again, the FBI and Department of Justice (so-called) are displaying "a callous disregard for a citizen's rights."  Dr. Steven Hatfill is getting the Richard Jewell treatment the FBI has substituted a theory for evidence, using a steady stream of media leaks to insinuate that Dr. Hatfill sent anthrax to prominent politicians.  A Person of Interest

A new report released by Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation paints a startling picture of systemic bias and discrimination by those who serve victims against surviving family members who, contrary to popular stereotype, oppose the death penalty.  Dignity Denied

A woman who sent a Crewe, Virginia man to prison for 45 years while she was facing her fourth felony charge has changed her story on his guilt, yet again.  Story changes - again

In 1998, Larry Osborne was convicted of killing an elderly Whitley, Kentucky couple and at 17 became the youngest man on that state's Death Row.  The State Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2001, and a new jury has acquitted him.  102nd Innocent Man Freed from Death Row

In its second landmark death penalty ruling within a week, the Supreme Court has ruled that only juries can impose the death penalty.  Court Overturns Judge-Imposed Death Sentences

The Supreme Court has abolished the execution of mentally retarded offenders, imposing one of the most significant restrictions on who is liable for the death penalty since the court permitted states to resume capital punishment in 1976.  High Court: Executing Mentally Retarded Unconstitutional

Richard Alexander and Anthony Robinson have a lot in common.  Both were convicted of rape based on eyewitness identification.  Both served long stretches in prison.  Both were innocent and were exonerated by DNA.  Each is responding to the injustice done him in his own way.

Richard Alexander Sues South Bend, Indiana Police

Anthony Robinson Studies Law

Inspired by the successes of big-name attorneys like Barry Scheck and of no-name students from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, more than three dozen like-minded groups have sprouted around the country in the past decade. Spread of Innocence Projects seen as 'new civil rights movement'

DNA tests have cleared Clark Jerome McMillan of Memphis, TN of a rape for which he's spent 22 years in prison.  Flustered and following the "DA's Dictim" (I may not always be right, but I'm never wrong), Assistant District Attorney General John Campbell says he may resurrect two 1970's-era rape charges against McMillan to keep him in prison.  Tennessee Justice

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff said he was ready to declare the federal death penalty unconstitutional unless the government can quickly explain why so many condemned inmates turn out to be innocent.  Judge has Issues with Death Penalty

100 people have been freed from Death Row because they are innocent of the crimes for which they were condemned.  This reality is lost on Attorney General John Ashcroft.  He thinks he is doing God's perfect work, and he has Faith in Death.

Beverly Monroe's habeas was granted and her murder conviction vacated.  "My faith in the justice system has been completely shattered," Beverly says. "I was raised to trust the police. I have always believed that if you trust the truth everything will work out."  Survivors' Story

Ray Krone walked out of Arizona State Prison at Yuma on April 8, 2002, freed by DNA evidence after serving 10 years and facing the death penalty for a murder he didn't commit.  100th Innocent Person Freed from Death Row

"As soon as the witnesses came forward and we realized the wrong man had been incarcerated, our prosecutors went to prison to get him out," said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office. "That was when they were told he had passed away."  For Henry Myron Roberts, it was Too Little, Too Late

Beverly Monroe has been released from prison a week after her murder conviction was overturned. Monroe walked out of the Pocahontas Correctional Unit just before 5pm on April 5, and into the arms of her family who have fought hard for her release.  Released from Prison

Two Northwestern University law professors argued for clemency for convicted murderer William Heirens, saying he was the victim of overzealous police and prosecutors who were under intense pressure to solve three 1946 killings that rocked Chicago.  Convict Seeks Clemency

Benjamin LeGuer's 1984 rape trial in Leominster, MA had all the ear marks of a wrongful conviction.  His innocence claims gained him the support of influential people who pushed through and paid for DNA testing they believed would clear him.  Instead, DNA tests link him to the crime.  Convict's Cause is Tested

Annette M. Lamoreaux, East Texas Regional Director of ACLU of Texas, looks at the "terribly, horribly broken" criminal justice system of Harris County, Texas in the wake of the Andrea Yates trial.  Will Someone Not Stop These People?

Montgomery, Alabama's police chief says "idiotic judgment," not racism, was behind the actions of eight white officers accused of planting evidence and beating blacks. Good Ol' Boys Gone Bad

Summit County, Ohio prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh took a good look at the evidence against Paul and Karen Stanley, charged with capital murder and arson in the fire that claimed their infant son's life.  The evidence was an electrical short caused the fire, and Paul and Karen Stanley were innocent.  Ms. Walsh dismissed the charges against the Stanleys -- and the state's investigators unleashed their fury against her.  One of those experts bases his arson finding on his experience, claiming he has handled 16,000 fire investigations in the past 21 years.  That's just over 2 fire investigations per day, every single day, no time off.  That's not believable -- it's junk -- and he was willing to bet the lives of two innocent people on it.  Paul and Karen Stanley

Timothy Howard and Gary James
Columbus, Ohio

One crime.  Two men wrongly convicted.  Twenty-five years in prison and still counting.  And two stories about what went wrong -- in 1977 and along the way to their appeal.

Columbus Dispatch

Were They Wrongly Convicted?

Martin Yant

Justice Shirked

Nearly a decade after two teenagers, Timothy Brown and Keith King, were convicted of murdering Broward (Florida) sheriff's Deputy Patrick Behan, a 32-year-old Miami-Dade County man has admitted committing the crime.  New confession in old murder

James Harry Reyos
How could he kill a priest in Houston, Texas  when he was 200 miles away in Roswell, New Mexico?

In 1986, Chicago police crime analyst Pamela Fish testified there were no semen stains on the clothing of rape/murder victim Lori Roscetti.  Four men -- Omar Saunders, Marcellius Bradford, Larry Ollins and Calvin Ollins -- were convicted of that crime.  But in 2001, 22 semen stains were found and DNA tests excluded all four men.  Pamela Fish joins the Scientific Fraud Hall of Shame

Victims of police wrongful shootings and other abuses have won millions from Miami in court.  Is this simply the city's cost of doing business?  Blood Money

Rudolph J. Gerber retired from the Arizona Court of Appeals in May. He sat on that court for about 13 years. Before that, he was a Superior Court judge for nine years and in the County Attorney's Office for about three years.  So Gerber has seen criminal justice up close and personal. And he says the System is Broken.

A federal judge has found "no rational finder of fact could have found evidence of guilt" against Kevin Wiggins, who spent the last 12 years on Maryland's Death Row.  The key word here is "rational."  Often the crime is on trial, not the defendant. Kevin Wiggins

"Why isn't this case of moral concern to the state, or don't you care?" U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Frederick Motz asked Baltimore, Maryland prosecutors who continue to seek to execute Kevin Wiggins, even after Judge Motz voided Wiggins' conviction and death sentence.  A Moral Vacuum

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer is using a pair of Hamilton County cases to underline his ongoing concern over capital punishment. "Prosecutors should be exercising their discretion to look for reasons to spare persons from the death penalty rather than to shoehorn cases into the death penalty scheme," Pfeifer wrote. Pfeifer for Justice 

Malcolm Rent Johnson, executed in Oklahoma last year, was placed at the murder scene by the testimony of now-disgraced police chemist Joyce Gilchrist, but a police department memo obtained by The Associated Press says some of the scientific evidence she swore to does not exist.  Executed by Lies

Dennis Counterman was convicted of arson and murder for a 1988 house fire in which 3 of his children died.  It now turns out that not only is Dennis innocent of murder, but that no crime even occurred.  Death Penalty for Accidental Fire

Charles Fain was on death row for almost 18 years for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl who was snatched off the street in Nampa, Idaho.  DNA tests have excluded him as the perpetrator, making Fain the 96th person released from death row on the basis of actual innocence.  Charles Fain

A group of journalism students got a new trial for a man on death row when they uncovered evidence that prosecutors had encouraged another suspect in the case to lie about the severity of his possible sentence.   Making a Difference

The coming term of the U.S. Supreme Court is shaping up as the occasion for a major examination of the death penalty.  And, in a reflection of the volatile state of capital punishment policy and politics nationwide, the focus of the Court's inquiry could be shifting dramatically.   Supreme Court Shift

A defense lawyer's suit against Los Angeles District Attorney Stephen Cooley for fabricating evidence and filing false charges against him was reinstated on July 17, 2001 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.   It is a further demarcation between absolute and qualified immunity, as the unanimous panel held that allegations of false reports or any investigations done by a prosecutor before probable cause exists can be grounds for a civil suit.  The LA D.A.

The Yogurt Shop Murder Trial Headlines Shout 'Guilty!' -- But Did the Prosecution Make Its Case?
from the Austin Chronicle
Robert Springsteen:  Somebody Has to Die

In October, 2000 Earl Washington was cleared by DNA of a rape/murder that had taken him days away from execution.  The same tests that cleared Earl identified a rapist who was living near the victim at the time of her death.  But the State does not like to admit its fallibility, so there is still No One Charged in Killing

In 1992 the Commonwealth of Virginia executed Roger Coleman on the strength of visual hair comparison and matching (now recognized as worthless) and simple blood typing.  No appellate court ever reviewed Coleman's conviction because his public defender filed the notice of appeal one day late.  Centurion Ministries and the Boston Globe sought DNA tests that would definitively prove Coleman's guilt or establish his innocence.  But Judge Keary R. Williams has ruled that twenty years after the crime, The Public Has No Right to Know

Danny Brown is finally free, after 19 years for a murder he didn't commit.  Prosecutors have dropped charges

"Remorse for what?  Would you like tears or something?" remarked the FBI agent who framed Joseph Salvati and Peter Limone for a murder in which they had no part.  Members of the House Government Reform Committee, however, offered an Apology to Wrongly Jailed Men.

The National Law Journal has released its annual survey of Judges Behaving Badly.

Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke has asked the city's top prosecutor to help free Michael Austin from prison, where he has served 26 years of a life sentence for murder.  Why?  He's Innocent.

As the technology of DNA continues to advance, forensic scientists and legal experts alike are turning to this powerful biological tool more than ever before. DNA Detectives.

Twelve years ago, Christopher Ochoa was coerced into confessing to an Austin, Texas murder he didn't commit.  Thanks to the Cardozo Innocence Project and Wisconsin's Remington Center Innocence Project, Ochoa's Ordeal has Ended.

Walter Smith was sentenced to serve 78 to 190 years for a series of rapes that occurred in Franklin County, Ohio in 1984, and he served 12 years.  In 1996 he was cleared of the rapes by DNA and released.  Now he's been awarded $250,000 for Wrongful Imprisonment.

In 1985 Frank Lee Smith was convicted of raping and killing an 8 year old girl in Tallahassee, FL.  He spent 14 years on Death Row, protesting his innocence.  He died of cancer on January 30, 2000.  Now DNA has proven that Dead Man was Innocent

The families of Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the Boston Strangler murders, and of Mary Sullivan, believed to be one of his victims, hope to prove that DeSalvo is not the Boston Strangler and that Sullivan's killer has escaped justice.  After 36 years, a federal court has ordered Prosecutors to Deal with Families in Strangler Case.

The Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Capital Cases released its final report this week highlighting measures that should be taken to improve cases involving the death penalty. Illinois Death Penalty Committee Issues Final Report

Equal Justice USA has issued a report on the death penalty in the US, finding at least 16 men executed since the reinstitution of the death penalty were Probably Innocent

It was New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Lionel Lon Burns' third try to convict police officer George Lee, III of rape.  Two earlier trials ended in mistrial and then a hung jury.  So Burns planted evidence -- and got caught.  DA Jailed for Evidence Tampering

In 1992 the Commonwealth of Virginia executed Roger Coleman on the strength of visual hair comparison and matching (now recognized as worthless) and simple blood typing.  No appellate court ever reviewed Coleman's conviction because his public defender filed the notice of appeal one day late.  Centurion Ministries and the Boston Globe are seeking DNA tests that would definitively prove Coleman's guilt or establish his innocence.  The Virginia Attorney General objects, saying that twenty years after the crime, The Public Has No Right to Know

For years its supporters have claimed the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.  A new survey by The New York Times shows that states without capital punishment actually have lower homicide rates.  The Death Penalty is No Deterrent

Nearly four years after his execution, Ellis Wayne Felker is becoming part of the debate over DNA evidence and capital punishment.  DNA Testing Ordered in Case of Man Already Executed

Columbia University Law Professor James Liebman's study of the death penalty in the U.S. reveals that the problems are not limited to one state, or one case.  They are epidemic throughout the system:  68% Error Rate in Death Penalty Cases

Click the title to read the study in full:  A Broken System: Error Rates in Capital Cases, 1973-1995

Truth in Justice