Thursday, October 28, 2004

Cooper made the right decision on Gell case

News and Observer is wrong again!

In a column published on October 28th, 2004, the News and Observer criticized Attorney General Roy Cooper for his decision to try Alan Gell a second time for the murder of Allen Ray Jenkins. The case ultimately resulted in exoneration after the second trial was conducted (with the benefits of new evidence and testimony that was withheld in the first trial). Attorney General Cooper’s decision to retry the case amounts to a display of his confidence in the system. It’s also worth noting that a jury made the final decision concerning Gell’s ultimate release from prison, not just one person (an Attorney General, prosecutor or a judge).

A jury’s decision should have more meaning for all of those involved. Many who advocate for condemned murderers didn’t consider that notion. Who at the N&O is more qualified to acquit Gell (or anyone else) that might be wrongfully convicted than a jury? It’s just as arguable that Cooper’s decision represented an opportunity for the system work the way that it should and that it did. Objective readers might have different views about actual innocence or guilt in that case, but the N&O's criticisms of Attorney General Roy Cooper concerning the Gell case are dead wrong.

More information about North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper can be found at: