PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I got goose bumps when I read this account of the Wilbert Jones case. For reasons you will understand after reading the post, I truly wonder whether Louisiana's criminal justice system has changed for the better any way in the past fifty years. Five years and still no decision - on these facts? One aspect of the story clearly caught my attention - where Cohen reports that one of the grounds on which the conviction was overturned and a new trial was ordered decades ago was, "because the prosecutors blatantly interjected race into the case." Now we are so many years later, and Rodricus Crawford is on Louisiana's death row awaiting his appeal - set for September 7 - in a case which has been marred, among many other factors, because notorious prosecutor Dale Cox interjected 'religion' into the case. As set out in a post on this Blog on May 31, 2016: "Catholics lead calls for court to spare life of death-row inmate; Catholic News Service..."The brief called the conduct of the prosecutor in the capital case, Dale Cox, “inappropriate and unconstitutional.” “The prosecutor, as an agent of the state of Louisiana, should not have misused and misinterpreted passages in the Bible to support his call to the jury for the execution of Mr Crawford. The prosecutor’s own private interpretations of the Bible are his own and he is entitled to his own opinions,” it added. “The problem is that at critical times the prosecutor, Mr Cox, acting as an official agent of the State of Louisiana, publicly injected his own private religious interpretations of the Bible into the trial as the State’s justification to argue for the execution of Mr Crawford. Mr Cox’s statements are particularly egregious in a parish that leads the country in executions per capita and primarily due to the efforts of Mr Cox.” During the trial, in questioning Crawford’s pastor, Cox asked, “Referring to children, Christ said to his followers: Woe unto you, any of that would harm one of these. It would be better … as though you will never born. You will have a millstone put around your neck and dropped into the sea. Do you believe in that concept?” After some back-and-forth with the pastor, who said he believed not only in that passage from the Gospel but also in mercy, Cox asked him, “So, Pastor, then we should just ignore that Scripture from Christ?” Cox used the passage once more in his closing argument. Cox is the acting district attorney for Caddo Parish, or county, which accounts for nearly half of the Louisiana’s death sentences in the past five years." By itself this grotesque, excessive, bombastic prosecution rhetoric designed to pluck out a guilty plea warrant a new trial - especially in a case where there is ample pathological opinion that 1-year-old Crawford died of pneumonia - and Rodricus Crawford - said to be the second youngest man ever placed on Louisiana's death row - is to have his life snuffed out for a murder that never occurred, on the basis of a strongly disputed pathologist's report. Or does the weight of science not matter in a Louisiana Courtroom, almost fifty years after Wilbert Jones was sent to prison in a case tainted by the intrusion of race - where he still lingers more than five years after he asked a judge to consider "compelling evidence that might support the claim of innocence" - a claim he has advanced from the outset. Still no ruling from the judge. Five years. That must set some sort of record for perverse judicial delay. Does Louisiana's Attorney General have nothing to say about this?
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.
STORY: "The Case of the Do-Nothing Judge" by Andrew Cohen, published by The Marshall Project on August 15, 2016. (Andrew Cohen is commentary editor of the Marshall Project. He oversees the site’s analysis and commentary section and helps provide daily coverage of legal events and issues. A recovering attorney, he is the legal analyst for 60 Minutes and CBS Radio News, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, and a contributing editor at The Atlantic);
SUB-HEADING: "Suppose a judge decides not to decide. For five years."
The entire post can be found at
I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html
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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;