Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Willie Manning: New York Times Editorial Page editor Lincoln Caplan describes "A stunning error in Mississippi". (Must Read. HL);

PUBLISHER'S VIEW:  (EDITORIAL).  The FBI admission that its laboratory hair analysis reports and related testimony are flawed  cannot be ignored by the Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant as every second brings Willie Manning closer to execution. The FBI's agreement to do  further testing may provide certainty in a case which, as the Justice for Willie web-site points out has been tainted in many other ways.  The message to Governor Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood  is that no civilized state can rush Willie Manning to death in these circumstances.  (Leaving the thought   that no civilized state can justify retaining the death penalty for another day).   Do they dare take the risk that subsequent testing will take the life of an innocent man - when there is a chance that  science may remove all doubts?  Or, in their eyes, is science only to be used to convict people and place them on death row - as opposed to exonerating them? All eyes are on Mississippi.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

POST: "A stunning error in Mississippi," by New York Times Editorial page editor Lincoln Caplan, published on May 6, 2013.

GIST: "Last week, the Justice Department provided extraordinary grounds for the state to allow DNA testing in the Manning case. In a letter to the prosecution and defense, the department said that testimony of an F.B.I. analyst who was a key prosecution witness “exceeded the limits of the science and was, therefore, invalid.” That analyst testified that he could match a hair found at the crime scene to an individual with “a relatively high degree of certainty” and that the hair fragments collected from a victim’s car “came from an individual of the black race.” The Justice Department concluded that it was “error for an examiner to testify that he can determine that the questioned hairs were from an individual of a particular racial group.” The F.B.I. has now offered to do the DNA testing requested by Mr. Manning, who is black.  One dissenting opinion from the Mississippi Supreme Court said, “In asking the jury to convict Manning, an African American, of the murder of two white students, the prosecution seems to have placed great emphasis on the fact that hair samples, originating from an African American” were found in the car. The prosecution, however, did not connect the hair to Mr. Manning. Clearly, the Justice Department’s letter makes the emphasis placed on the hair samples deeply problematic. Mr. Manning’s lawyers went back to the Mississippi Supreme Court on Monday  to ask that the court stay his execution and set aside his convictions based on the Justice Department’s acknowledgment that the F.B.I. analyst’s testimony was false. That new evidence is crucial and stunning. The court should stay the execution and let the DNA testing go forward, but if it does not, then Gov. Phil Bryant must do that. The whole case underscores the often racially discriminatory application of the death penalty in cases where the victims are white and the defendants are black, one of many reasons that capital punishment should be abolished."

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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:


Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.