Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Carlos DeLuna, Claude Jones, Cameron Todd Willingham: Wrongful convictions caused by faulty forensics in U.S. death penalty cases seen in story on why the government cannot be trusted with the death penalty - a right wing analysis published by the Mises Institute. The Mises Daily. (I don't care where on the political spectrum this analysis comes from. It makes sense to me); Harold Levy. Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY:  "The government can't be trusted with the death penalty," by reporter Marc Hayden, published by Mises Daily on October 29, 2013. Marc Hyden is a national advocacy coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, a project of Equal Justice USA. Marc comes most recently from the National Rifle Association (NRA) where he served as a Campaign Field Representative in the State of Florida). Mises Daily  is a weekday, online publication, published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The Ludwig von Mises Institute (LvMI), or "Mises Institute", is a tax-exempt libertarian organization located in Auburn, Alabama.[4][5] It is named for Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973). Its website states that it is dedicated to advancing "the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention."[1]

GIST:  "This same Texas system of capital punishment that Governor Perry and some of his predecessors are so proud of has led to disastrous consequences. It is responsible for at least 12 men being wrongfully convicted and then released from death row and perhaps others were even wrongfully executed. Carlos DeLuna was executed using no forensic evidence, sloppy crime scene investigation, and essentially one eyewitness account who later said he was 50 percent sure DeLuna was the perpetrator. Claude Jones was put to death in 2000 based, in part, on the analysis of a hair found at the crime scene. This hair analysis has since been shown not to be scientific, and recently, DNA evidence revealed that it was not Jones’s hair after all. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 primarily after local investigators testified that arson was the cause of the fire that killed his three young daughters. This “evidence” has since been debunked by nine fire experts who have examined the case and determined that it was a tragic accident, not arson.........The current system not only has permitted junk science to be used as evidence, but the government’s willingness to accept, use, and defend unscientific evidence and unreliable expert testimony is appalling. This has contributed to major failures and produced wrongful convictions. Even when it is known that much of the “forensic science” is more of an art than a science, juries have not been informed of the subjective nature. The authority to put US citizens to death is an immense power enjoyed by American governments, and great power opens the door to great abuse. In an effort to prevent further failures and abuse, the government has implemented changes to the death penalty process, which make it exorbitantly expensive, to attempt to limit future catastrophes. Even with these changes, it is still a failure. The death penalty’s inception may not be based on nefarious schemes and likely comes out of a desire to ensure justice and safety. However, the government’s monopoly on criminal justice proceedings and its insulation from responsibility when the system fails, are at the root of the system’s failures. If we wish to limit the power of the state, the state’s death penalty may be a good place to start."

The entire story can be found at:


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