Saturday, December 30, 2017

(Year end Part Four): Kevin Cooper; Death Row. California; New York Times Op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristoff mentions Kevin Cooper in a column in which he laments his most under-read important columns in 1917. His column on Kevin Cooper - headed 'On Death Row, but Is He Innocent? - is one of them. It is a magnificent column which deserves to be read and reread. I have published it below in its entirety. HL..."A man named Kevin Cooper is on San Quentin’s death row awaiting execution for the murders, even though a federal judge says he probably is innocent. “He is on death row because the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department framed him,” the judge, William A. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, declared in a searing 2013 critique delivered in a distinguished lecture series. Fletcher was in the minority in 2009 when his court refused to rehear the case. His dissent, over 100 pages long, points to Cooper’s possible innocence and to systematic police misconduct. It’s a modern equivalent of Émile Zola’s “J’accuse.” At least 10 other federal judges have also expressed concerns about Cooper’s conviction. Many other eminent legal experts, including the then-president of the American Bar Association, have also called on Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene. The evidence of police tampering is overwhelming."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I was utterly fascinated by New York Times Op-Ed  writer  Nicholas Kristof's recent post entitled "My worse columns in 1917 " - 'worse' from the point of view that they were all important stories which, for one reason or the other largely went unread.  To my surprise, the very first column on his list  on his list is one which I have been following on this Blog for years - Kevin Cooper, Death Row, California; As Kristof succinctly puts it: "Kevin Cooper is on death row in California, but even a federal judge argues that he is probably innocent and was framed by police. He’s black; if he were white, this travesty would be much less likely. Governor Jerry Brown should review the case. So here is some news for Mr. Kristof. I read the column of which he writes and have decided to bring to the attention of my readers, who will hopefully pass it on to their friends and associates. It truly deserves to be read - and acted on by Governor Brown. The under-read column, published on June 17, 2017, is headed, "On death row, but is he innocent?" It reads as follows:

Nicholas Kristof's column lamenting the lack of readership to his plea to Governor Brown can be found at the link below;\


BONUS: ANOTHER YEAR ENDER: The Crime Report (one of my favourite criminal justice publiations)  has listed  several criminal justice books that may change minds in 2018. All the items on the list are worth a browse: one should be of particular interest to our readers."The Perils of Big Data." Trying to make sense of your computer glitches? So is the criminal justice system. As police, prosecutors and courts increasingly rely on computer analytics, so-called “big data” that captures and collates enormous amounts of information are being used in many cities to identify potential lawbreakers. But this form of predictive policing has also been criticized for its lack of transparency and potential for racial bias. In his new book, The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law EnforcementAndrew Guthrie Ferguson, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia, argues that the criticisms are valid, and should generate a conversation about the use of new technologies before this form of policing becomes institutionalized. Ferguson explained his perspective in a recent Q&A with Julia Pagnamenta of The Crime Report. "


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. 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: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog."