A petition, set up on 'Color of Change' by supporter Marlene Belliveau on behalf of Rodricus Crawford's family, implores Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart, "to look at the concrete evidence and facts before you. Mr Crawford did not kill his son. You have sworn to justice...it is your duty to exonerate this young man." The petition can be found at the following link. (In view of the rapidly approaching appeal - set for Wednesday September 7 - supporters should get their message to Mr. Stewart as soon as possible. HL);
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: (A): Rodricus Crawford's appeal is set for Wednesday, September 7, 2016. It is imperative that public attention be brought to this appeal as there is a ominous danger that Louisiana will be executing an innocent father whose 1-year-old son died of pneumonia - unless the Louisiana Supreme Court intervenes. (Contrary to the the testimony of the pathologist testifying for the prosecution who dismissed the medical factors as the cause of death without a scientific basis for doing so, also gave his equally unscientific opinion that Rodricus Crawford had smothered Roderius to death - as is demonstrated by forensic evidence (affidavits) filed by his lawyers which will be published later in this series.) As will be seen over the course of the series, it didn't help that Crawford was prosecuted by the notorious Dale Cox in Caddo Parish, which, as the Fair Punishment Project reports, has a disproportionate number of death sentences. I implore whoever reads these posts to share them as widely as possible, to make sure that Louisiana's Supreme Court understands the urgency of stopping this execution in its tracks and put an end to the prosecution. This seventeenth post in the series published in anticipation of the appeal on Wednesday (September 7) focuses on a powerful 'Reply Brief on Appeal'' filed by Rodricus Crawford's appeal lawyers. (This is one of the most visceral appeal documents I have ever read. It cuts to the bone as it exposes one of the most brutal, ugly, ignorant, racist prosecutions that I have been exposed to. And I have witnessed far too many. HL);
DOCUMENT: ‘Reply Brief on Appeal’ filed by G. Ben Cohen and Cecelia Trenticosta Kappel of The Capital Appeals Project, as Counsel for Rodricus Crawford.
GIST: Instead of pursuing justice, the prosecutor in this case engaged in a myopic pursuit of vengeance, supported by a pathologist who claimed to be only the ‘voice of the victim’ rather than a neutral source of scientific wisdom.
This court can have no confidence in the verdict in this case. As the Court has explained: "The twofold aim of the law is that “guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.”…Finality is an important component of any legal proceeding. Endless delays and countless reviews undermine finality. However, finality must yield when those responsible for assuring compliance with the law do not follow the rules and it is determined that there is no confidence in the verdict."
In this case, the public legitimacy of the criminal justice system itself is at stake. The brief goes on to refer to a Louisiana case known as ‘Ex Parte Thompson.’ (“I believe that if the criminal justice system – even when its procedures were fairly followed – reaches a patently inaccurate result which has caused an innocent person to be wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, the judicial system has an obligation to set things straight. Our criminal justice system makes two promises to its citizens: a fundamentally fair trial and an accurate result. If either of these two promises are not met, the criminal justice system itself falls into disrepute and will eventually be disregarded.”)
Eight former or current prosecutors, in a different capital case arising from the district with the same prosecutor, filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court drawing attention to this particularly disturbing aspect of our criminal justice: “Some prosecutors also aggressively seek the death penalty in cases that do not involve the “worst of the worst.” In addition to making aggressive charging decisions, some local prosecutors have also engaged in troubling conduct while prosecuting these cases, including withholding exculpatory evidence firm the defense or failing to investigate exculpatory leads. Amici are gravely concerned about these problems, which are especially evident in the small band of counties that continue to obtain death sentences in large numbers. Most troubling of all, innocent people may be – or have been – executed. Since 1973, 156 people who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death have been exonerated. Many of them languished on death row for many years – some for decades – before being exonerated. Some of these individuals came perilously close to losing their lives in an irreversible travesty of justice.” (The amici brief was filed by the former prosecutors in the Tucker v Louisiana case. HL);
Rodricus Crawford’s case reveals the most troubling failing of our criminal justice system: prosecutorial overreach resulting in the conviction of a parent for the death of his child, where no homicide actually occurred. It risks the wrongful conviction and execution of an innocent person and the concomitant credibility of the justice system."
The entire document can be found at:https://rodricuscrawford.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/2016-08-10-reply-brief-stamped.pdf
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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmithInformation 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 Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: email@example.com