Friday, June 7, 2019

Charles Ray Finch: North Carolina: How a Supreme Court decision may have saved the life of this innocent, now exonerated man (who went on to spend more than four decades (that's right: four decades) in prison)... The Public News Service (writer Nadia Ramlagan) provides the answer..."On the day he was sentenced, the U.S. Supreme Court declared mandatory death sentences unconstitutional, and Finch was given life in prison. James Coleman, a Duke University law professor and Finch's attorney, said the timing may have saved Finch's life. "If the court had not declared the death penalty unconstitutional," Coleman said, "I think there is a very good chance that Ray would have been executed years ago, and that we would have not been able to develop the evidence to show that he was innocent."

PASSAGE OF THE DAY:  "Because there was no biological or DNA evidence to prove Finch's innocence, Coleman said, he and a team of attorneys at Duke's Wrongful Convictions Clinic had to re-investigate the case from the ground up. It took more than 15 years to prove that Finch did not commit the crime. The principal evidence against Finch was an eyewitness identification, a person at the crime scene who identified Finch by the type of clothing he was wearing in a lineup. Before DNA evidence, Coleman said, these types of eyewitness-based convictions were routine. "What we know is, the kinds of errors that were made in Ray Finch's case were made in other cases during that period," he said. "Nobody could credibly believe that there weren't mistakes made in other cases that resulted in an innocent person being sentenced to death."

COMMENTARY: "NC Wrongful Conviction Spotlights Problems with Death Penalty," by Nadia Ramlagam, published by The Public News Service on June 6, 2019. (Public News Service (usually shortened to PNS) was launched in 1996 by journalist Lark Corbeil in Idaho. Today, PNS has 37 state-based news services that provide multi-platform content for free to news outlets as a way to advocate journalism in the public interest. (Wikipedia);

The entire post can be read at:

 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;