Friday, December 10, 2010

“California may be about to execute an innocent man.”

That's the opening line of Judge Fletcher's 100 page dissent from en banc review in the 9th Circuit and the opening line of this NY Times op-ed. This makes my blood boil -- if you can't make it through the entire dissent, you should check out the article. It very persuasively sets forth how Kevin Cooper, a black man in California who faces lethal injection for supposedly murdering a white family, was framed by police. Forget the horrors of an innocent man having spent the last 20 years on death row, how can the judiciary allow the state to execute him when he is "probably innocent" according to Judge Fletcher and 4 other Ninth Circuit judges. The NY Times has called for Governor Schwarzenegger commute the sentence:

This case is a travesty. It underscores the central pitfall of capital punishment: no system is fail-safe. How can we be about to execute a man when even some of America’s leading judges believe he has been framed?

Lanny Davis, who was the White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, is representing
Mr. Cooper pro bono. He laments: “The media and the bar have gone deaf and silent on Kevin Cooper. My simple theory: heinous brutal murder of white family and black convict. Simple as that.”

That’s a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system. Governor Schwarzenegger, are you listening?


Anonymous said...

Here is the concluding paragraph of the district judge's opinion in this case:

"Post-conviction DNA testing confirms that Petitioner committed the murders of the Ryen/Hughes victims. This Court has conducted mitochondrial DNA testing and EDTA testing, has heard testimony from forty-two witnesses, independently reviewed the evidence, including the trial and evidentiary hearing transcripts and all of the parties' submissions and arguments. Based on this careful review, the Court agrees with the post-conviction DNA results and all of the courts that came before it in this case: Petitioner is the one responsible for these brutal murders. Accordingly, the Court DENIES the successive petition for writ of habeas corpus."

Anonymous said...

Uh, if you read the appellate court dissent you would see "the district
court impeded and obstructed Cooper’s attorneys at every turn
as they sought to develop the record. The court imposed
unreasonable conditions on the testing the en banc court
directed; refused discovery that should have been available as
a matter of course; limited testimony that should not have
been limited; and found facts unreasonably, based on a truncated and distorted record."

Your turn.

Anonymous said...