Monday, January 18, 2016

Damon Thibodeaux; Drayton Witt; James Kluppelberg; This Blog has been following all of these cases; They appear in the recently released book "Stolen Years: Stories of the Wrongfully Imprisoned, by author Reuven Fenton, as discussed here by Colette Shade, under the heading, 'Wrongful imprisonment and the limits of tabloid journalism.'..."Where Fenton really excels is in his interviews. The book is primarily an oral history that lets its subjects tell their own stories." Pacific Standard.

COMMENTARY: : "Wrongful imprisonment and the limits of tabloid journalism," by Colette Shade, published by Pacific Standard on January 15, 2016.

SUB-HEADING:  "Stolen Years tells infuriating tales of wrongful convictions. Its tabloid style has zip—and avoids any real discussion of the system that makes those horror stories possible."

GIST: "There is Damon Thibodeaux, who was sentenced to death in Louisiana in 1997 for the murder of his step-cousin. Thibodeaux was exonerated via DNA evidence in 2012, but not before spending over a decade on death row. There, he “grew flabby from the high-fat, high-sodium prison food,” woke up every night in “a pool of sweat” in his sweltering cell, and regularly watched his fellow inmates take their final walk to the execution chamber. There is Drayton Witt, sentenced to 20 years in prison in Arizona (of which he served 10) for shaking his baby to death. While behind bars, Witt was brutally stabbed by members of the Aryan Brotherhood, the white-supremacist prison gang. He was let out of prison only after medical experts finally determined that the baby had actually died of natural causes. There is James Kluppelberg, a Chicago man who was sentenced to life in prison for murder in 1988. His conviction was based on faulty forensic science that indicated he had set a house on fire, killing a mother and her five children inside. He also “confessed” to the crime—after he was beaten so badly by the Chicago police that he “pissed blood for a week.” A judge later threw out that confession, but the charges held. Kluppelberg spent a full 24 years behind bars before his conviction was overturned. Where Fenton really excels is in his interviews. The book is primarily an oral history that lets its subjects tell their own stories. .........The suggestion at the heart of Stolen Years is that the true injustice in our penal system is the imprisonment of innocent people. But the book levies no larger critiques about whether the system itself is ever just, for anybody. The horrors of American prisons as illustrated in Stolen Years are many: rape, stabbing, beating, solitary confinement, shamefully poor health care, food that is unhealthy at best and contaminated at worst, isolation from the outside world, lack of guidance and resources for re-integration upon release. While reading the book, I found myself asking why anyone—yes, even a thug or a perp—should be subjected to a system so inhumane, particularly in a country that positions itself as a global leader on human rights."

The entire commentary can be found at:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.
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:

Harold Levy: Publisher; 

The Charles Smith Blog