Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PHYSICIANS, EXECUTIONS & DO NO HARM

Physicians & The State Execution of Murderers: No Medical Ethics Dilemma
Dudley Sharp


The Hippocratic Oath and “Do No Harm” have nothing to do with executions

Some in the medical community have attempted to create an ethical prohibition against medical professionals involvement in state executions by invoking the famous “do no harm” credo and the Hippocratic Oath.

It is a dishonest effort.

Neither reference is in the context of the state execution of murderers. I find the effort to ban medical professionals participation in executions an unethical effort to fabricate professional ethical standards, based upon personal anti death penalty feelings. 


The Hippocratic Oath: Classical Version

The select Hippocratic Oath quote, in its original (translated) form, is


“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” (1)

This is a prohibition against euthanasia and abortion and has nothing to do with the fabricated medical prohibition of participation in state sanctioned executions.

I am unaware of any other ancient texts or translations which indicate a historical context, with that quote, that prohibits physicians from participation in executions.

In 2004, Dr. Markel, a medical historian, writes, “There are two highly controversial vows in the original Hippocratic Oath that we continue to ponder and struggle with as a profession: the pledges never to participate in euthanasia and abortion.” (2)

In reality, these are, barely, controversial, now. They are, however, inconvenient. Dr. Markel’s article never mentions a context of state execution of murderers, because the oath has nothing to do with it.

Dr. Markel continues: “The Hippocratics’ reasons for refusing to participate in euthanasia may have been based on a philosophical or moral belief in preserving the sanctity of life or simply on their wish to avoid involvement in any act of assisted suicide, murder, or manslaughter.” (2)

Dr. Markel is speculating. What we do know is that it was a reference to euthanasia and abortion, specifically. There is not even speculation, by Dr. Markel, that the reference had anything to do with the state execution of murderers.

The following are ” . . .the results of a study . . . in which 157 deans of allopathic and osteopathic schools of medicine in Canada and the United States were surveyed regarding the use of the Hippocratic Oath”: (3)

1. In 1993, 98% of schools administered some form of the Oath.
2. In 1928, only 26% of schools administered some form of the Oath.
3. Only 1 school used the original Hippocratic Oath.
4. 68 schools used versions of the original Hippocratic Oath.
5. 100% of current Oaths pledge a commitment to patients.
6. Only 43% vow to be accountable for their actions.
7. 14% include a prohibition against euthanasia.
8. Only 11% invoke a diety.
9. 8% prohibit abortion.
10. Only 3% prohibit sexual contact with patients.

There is no mention of the state execution of murderers, because the Hippocratic Oath has nothing to do with it.

Although there is no prohibition on the death penalty, there is one against both euthanasia and abortion.

Yet, various medical associations have fabricated an imagined ethical problem with the death penalty and have, nearly, fully accepted both abortion and euthanasia, in contradiction of that oath.

Now, only 3% prohibit sexual contact with patients, but the original Hippocratic Oath states:

“Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.”

100% pledge a commitment to their patients, but only 43% vow being accountable for their medical actions. Some commitment. Ethics?

With these survey results and with medical professionals bringing up the Hippocratic Oath, as if it has something to say in the death penalty debate, possibly we should, now, in the true context of euthanasia and abortion, and other issues, call it what it has become, the 

Hypocrisy Oath.

Many doctors could care less about it or about being honest about it.

For example, In January 2007, The North Carolina Medical Board adopted a policy that physicians participating in executions may lose their licence.

In 2009, The North Carolina Supreme Court vacated the Board’s policy, finding that they had exceeded their authority.

Did the Board attempt to prevent physicians from performing abortions or have they issued a statement condemning physicians’ participation in euthanasia? Of course not.

The Lasanga Oath: The (NON) Oath of Hippocrates – Modern Version

The modern version is, most often, identified as that penned by Louis Lasagna in 1964.

It states: “it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.” (4)

This is in the context of killing innocent lives through either abortion or euthanasia.

Quite the about face.

This is the Lasanga oath, the only purpose of which is a transparent denial of the original oath.

The Lasanga oath shows physicians’ medical ethical/moral acceptance of taking innocent lives, within their medical practice.

But, horror forbid, that physicians participate in taking the lives of guilty murderers, outside of their medical practice.

The blatant hypocrisy of it is clear.

Do No Harm

The famous physician credo “First, do no harm” (a phrase translated into Latin as “Primum nonnocere”) is often mistakenly ascribed to the (Hippocratic) oath, although it appears nowhere in that venerable pledge.” (2)

“Hippocrates came closest to issuing this directive in his treatise Epidemics, in an axiom that reads, “As to disease, make a habit of two things — to help, or at least, to do no harm.” (2)

“As to disease”. Nothing else. There is no relevance outside medicine and, most certainly, no prohibition against medical professionals participation in the state execution of murderers.

Reason & Reality

Those ethical codes pertain to the medical profession, only, and to patients, only.

Judicial execution is not part of the medical profession and executions do not make death row inmates patients. Is that news?

The editors of The Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine agree. They write:

“Execution by lethal injection, even if it uses tools of intensive care such as intravenous tubing and beeping heart monitors, has the same relationship to medicine that an executioner’s axe has to surgery.” (”Lethal Injection Is Not Humane”, PLoS, 4/24/07).

So to, The American Society of Anesthesiologists:

“Although lethal injection mimics certain technical aspects of the practice of anesthesia, capital punishment in any form is not the practice of medicine. (”Statement on Physician Nonparticipation in Legally Authorized Executions,” 10/18/06).

Both confirm the obvious point: The state execution of murderers is not equivalent or connected to the medical treatment of patients. There is no ethical or moral connection. 

Hardly a mystery.

Any rational person can see that the state execution of murderers is not a medical treatment, but a criminal justice sanction. The basis for medical treatment is to improve the plight of the patient, for which the medical profession provides obvious and daily exceptions. 

The basis for execution is to carry out a criminal justice sentence where death is the sanction.

Doctors and nurses can be police and soldiers and can kill, when deemed appropriate, within those lines of duty and without violating the ethical codes of their medical profession, because there is no ethical connection. Similarly, medical professionals do not violate medical codes of ethics, when participating in the state execution of murderers.

Physicians are often part of double or triple blind studies where there is hope that the tested drugs may, someday, prove beneficial. The physicians and other researchers know that many patients, taking placebos or less effective drugs, will suffer more additional harm or death because they are not taking the subject drug or that the subject drug will actually harm or kill more patients than the placebo of other drugs used in the study.

Physicians knowingly harm individual patients, in direct contradiction to their “do no harm” oath.

For the greater good, those physicians sacrifice innocent, willing and brave patients. Of course, there have been medical experiments without consent and, even, today, they continue (”Critical Care Without Consent”, Washington Post, May 27, 2007; Page A01).

Physicians knowingly make exceptions to their “do no harm” requirement, every day, within their profession, where that code actually does apply. In many cases, they should. There are obvious ethical nuances and we should consider and pay attention to them, as is done within the medical profession.

SEE DO NO HARM: Additional Notes, at bottom.

Physicians and medical institutions should chose ethical guidelines which are truly relevant to their profession.

Many medical professionals need to stop the ridiculous ethical posturing and tell the truth – they don’t like the death penalty. In medical writings, against executions, you can easily find a strong bias, evidenced by use of the common and inaccurate anti death penalty claims, with no apparent effort at fact checking or balance (5)  -- typical anti death penalty nonsense.

Any participation in executions by medical professionals should be a matter for their own personal conscience.

Had this been an honest effort to discus long standing medical ethics, based upon 
Hippocrates or “do no harm”, then there would have been an effort to stop medical professionals from participating in euthanasia and abortion. In fact, the opposite has occurred.

Instead, irresponsible medical professionals have turned those obvious, historical ethical standards upside down and have fabricated, out of thin air, a prohibition against the death penalty.

Why? For personal reasons, some have decided the formerly unethical medical practices of abortion and euthanasia are, now, just fine and that the ethical death penalty is, now, prohibited by a fabricated medical ethic.

There is no foundation for an ethical prohibition against medical professionals participating in executions. Stop using personal bias to fabricate one.

It’s unethical.

======

Of the physicians that responded to a survey:

19%  are willing to give the lethal injection; 36% are willing to pronounce the prisoner dead.

"Doctors' Willingness To Participate in the Death Penalty", Annals of Internal Medicine, 2001;135(10):S57-. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-135-10-200111200-00004


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DO NO HARM: Additional Notes:

40,000 to 100,000 innocents die, every year, in the US because of medical misadventure or improper medical treatment. (6)

It appears that some 500-1000 innocent patients die, every year, in the US, due to some type of medical misadventure, with anesthesia. (6)

There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US since 1900 (7). In fact, the evidence is that the death penalty ends up saving additional innocent lives,innocent lives that would be lost without it (8).

Furthermore, even with errors in lethal injection, those cases resulted in the death of the inmate – the intended outcome for the guilty murderer.

In the errors of medical professionals, we are speaking of a large number of deaths and injuries to innocent patients – the opposite of the intended outcome.

Physician, heal thyself.


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Nitrogen Gas; Flawless, peaceful, unrestricted method of execution 
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/09/nitrogen-gas-flawless-peaceful.html 

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1) The Hippocratic Oath: Classical Version, 
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_classical.html

2) “‘I Swear by Apollo’ – On Taking the Hippocratic Oath”, New England Journal of Medicine, May 13, 2004 article, by Howard Markel, PhD, MD, Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School

3) “The Use of the Hippocratic Oath: A Review of 20th Century Practice and a Content Analysis of Oaths Administered in Medical Schools in the U.S. and Canada in 1993.” by Robert D. Orr, M.D. and Norman Pang, M.D. http://www.imagerynet.com/hippo.ama.html

4) The Hippocratic Oath – Modern Version, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/doctors/oath_modern.html

5) “An absolute: Doctors don’t kill”, op/ed, by Dr. Charles van der Horst, News and Observer, Dec 04, 2008). My response to him can be found as “Is Dr. van der Horst just ignorant or something else? Doc?” in the comments section for “Clap hands, here comes Charlie”, UNC Healthcare Blog, December 8, 2008, 4:30 pm

6) “Deaths from Medical Misadventure”at
“Health Grades Quality Study: Patient Safety in American Hospitals, July 2004″

7 & 8)  The Death Penalty: Do Innocents Matter? A Review of All Innocence Issues  http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html

Related Topics

Dutch Protocol for Euthanasia

The following is a Dutch protocol for parenteral (intravenous) administration to obtain euthanasia:

Intravenous administration is the most reliable and rapid way to accomplish euthanasia and therefore can be safely recommended. A coma is first induced by intravenous administration of 20 mg/kg sodium thiopental (Nesdonal) in a small volume (10 ml physiological saline). 

Then a triple intravenous dose of a non-depolarizing neuromuscular muscle relaxant is given, such as 20 mg pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) or 20 mg vecuronium bromide (Norcuron). 

The muscle relaxant should preferably be given intravenously, in order to ensure optimal availability. Only for pancuronium bromide (Pavulon) are there substantial indications that the agent may also be given intramuscularly in a dosage of 40 mg. 


Lethal Injection: Controversies Resolved
http://homicidesurvivors.candothathosting.com/2009/12/07/lethal-injection-controversies-resolved/


Veterinary Claims a Distortion of Reality: Human Lethal Injection
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2011/12/veterinary-claims-distortion-of-reality.html


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http://unchealthcare.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/clap-hands-here-comes-charlie/

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/m/medical_misadventure/deaths.htm and

http://www.healthgrades.com/media/english/pdf/HG_Patient_Safety_Study_Final.pdf

http://www.wweek.com/___ALL_OLD_HTML/euthanasics.html


originally written May, 2005. Updated as merited.


copyright 2005-2012 Dudley Sharp – Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O’Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally


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Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Rebuttal: Trial By Fire: Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?

Rebuttal: "Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?", David Grann, The New Yorker, 9/7/2009:
Cameron Todd Willingham: Media meltdown & the death penalty
Dudley Sharp

updated through 9/2017

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The pending (2018) movie "Trial by Fire", directed by Ed Zwick, based upon Grann's article.

Perverted Casting

Zwick has chosen a 17 year old actress to play murdered daughter Amber, who was age 2 (2). Zwick is looking to cast identical twin Caucasian girls ages 6 to 9 to play murdered one year old twins Karmon and Kameron (1).

The fiction is just getting worse. Scripted.

=======

See "The Lost City of Z", another "true story" by Grann, also made into a movie, both of which were creative fiction, reviewed at the bottom of this article.

======

I could speculate that David Grann was an objective reporter who made the solid, unbiased case for an innocent executed. But, that has already been done, around the globe, with editorial writers and journalists and other anti death penalty activists, quoting extensively from Grann's article, with no fact checking and absent critical thinking, like the Polk Award folks.

So, why not do something different?

I'll speculate this: "David Grann, anti death penalty activist/member of the defense team".

It, hardly, seems speculation.

I list the page number in the article, followed by Grann's comments then, my REPLY, underneath.

Zwick's movie is based upon Grann's horrible article.

p 3 (Willingham) hollered, “Oh God— Amber, get out of the house! Get out of the house!’ ”He never sensed that Amber was in his room, he said. Perhaps she had already passed out by the time he stood up, or perhaps she came in after he left, through a second doorway, from the living room."

REPLY: Folks, think about this.

Grann says "Perhaps (Amber) had already passed out by the time (Willingham) stood up".

"Already". What, the millisecond it took Willingham to stand up, right after Amber, 2, screams woke him up? Grann, surely you can't do much worse than that.

Let's buy Grann's nonsense. If Amber passed out, then and there, Amber is with Willingham in his room, where Amber was found. There is no fire in that room. Willingham just leaves her. Amber, Karmon and Kameron, the twins, age 1, die, as per Todd and Grann.

Who would leave their 2 year old to their own devices to get out of a burning house? No one, who wanted to save them. Amber, and the twins, die. Todd, in one of his many conflicting statements said he did, exactly, that, he made no effort to save them and just left them to die.

Or perhaps, Willingham asked Amber to wait for him in his bedroom, where she was found, alive, but unconscious, because of smoke inhalation, while daddy went to save the twins. Then daddy skipped out of the house, instead. Amber and the twins die. Todd admitted he made no effort to save his children.

In fact, Amber was found with burned feet, in Todd's bed, the master - Amber was face down in Todd's bed and tucked in. After Amber burned her feet in the fire, that Todd started, she came into the master, where Todd, kindly tucked Amber into the bed and then left her and the twins to die.

The fire never entered the master bedroom, for which there were four entrances/exits, always away from the fire, with all the time necessary to save, at least, Amber. Todd didn't.

According to witnesses Todd made enough effort to save things from within the house, going in and out of the house, while the fire was burning, and to push his car away from the house, yet, somehow, just couldn't make an effort to save his children. Think about that.

Firefighters rescued Amber, still alive. She died, later, in the hospital emergency room, from smoke inhalation.

I guess Grann thought those issues unimportant, as Grann (and, likely, Zwick) as they went unmentioned. Grann for the defense.

Grann just cherry picks, leaving out the large number of well known contradictory quotes from Willingham, as well as the large number of other eyewitnesses statements, all of which are important to any investigators, including forensic fire investigators, whose standards describe the importance of eyewitnesses.

One may wonder, how did Grann avoid all of that? On purpose?  Ask him.

========

Here are huge numbers of contradictory statements made by Todd, wherein it is undeniable that he is lying and whereby he also makes statements obvious for a conclusion of arson:

read para 16 a-aa, pages 4-11; and para 17 a-f, pages 12-13; and para 18 a-h; pages 14-15; and para 19-23, pages 15-21 from
p 118-138 (as per computer counter) , The Corsicana Fire Dept Response to Dr. Craig Beyler's Report Re: Willingham Matter, 9/29/2009,  http://www.fsc.state.tx.us/documents/FINAL.pdf

All, obviously, viewed as unimportant by Grann (Zwick?), but crucial to reality. Grann (Zwick) had access to the witness statements, if he wanted them.

===

p 6 Dozens of studies have shown that witnesses’ memories of events often change when they are supplied with new contextual information. Itiel Dror, a cognitive psychologist who has done extensive research on eyewitness and expert testimony in criminal investigations, told me, “The mind is not a passive machine. Once you believe in something—on you expect something—it changes the way you perceive information and the way your memory recalls it.”

REPLY: Grann presumes, without evidence, that some earlier statements, more sympathetic to Willingham, were more credible. Grann wouldn't speculate that folks reflected and said, later, hey, Willingham, in reality, acted suspicious. Or they always were suspicious. Grann, for the defense.

In fact, it is far worse than that, Neighbors tried to get Todd to go back in, to save his children, while the fire appeared quite small. He wouldn't.

Other facts, revealed, later, in Grann's article, found that the more suspicious the witnesses became of Willingham's behavior, the closer to the truth they were, as detailed.  In other words, Grann's speculation on page 6, was the opposite of the reality that Grann later revealed on page 16. Grann for the defense.

Maybe Grann could have looked up some studies on increased family violence during Christmastime and played up that angle. Or what about the money issues at Christmas, non working dad, working mom. Poor. Has that ever caused stress within a family? Have fathers "without motive" murdered their children under those circumstances? Or under much less stress? Or have father's with known, violent tendencies ever murdered their children? It's not uncommon for violent people to murder, with no motive. They're just mean.

Could Grann so speculate? Of course not. Grann (Zwick?) , for the defense.

It's far from speculation.

"Christmas is the most feared time of the whole year. Domestic violence rises significantly during the festive period. Not a year goes by when we don’t see a seasonal spike in incidents reported to the police." (“It’s the hardest time of year: why domestic violence spikes over Christmas   ", MAYA OPPENHEIM, Austin American-Statesman,  22 DECEMBER 2015,  
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2015/12/it-s-hardest-time-year-why-domestic-violence-spikes-over-christmas)

"At times, it appears that fathers turn to murder when the pressures of life abound." "aren’t able to cope with the icreasing demands" "lost his job" "failed to earn a living" "considerable financial strain" (Deadly Dads: Some of the Shocking Reasons Fathers Kill Their Own Children, The Forensic Outreach Team, 2016, http://forensicoutreach.com/library/deadly-dads-some-of-the-shocking-reasons-fathers-kill-their-own-children/)

 Sounds just like Todd. Grann wouldn't even consider it. Grann (Zwick?) for the defense.

===

p 9  In recent years, though, questions have mounted over whether the system is fail-safe. Since 1976, more than a hundred and thirty people on death row have been exonerated. DNA testing, which was developed in the eighties, saved seventeen of them, but the technique can be used only in rare instances.

REPLY: I know of no one that thinks any government programs are failsafe. Does Grann? Of course not. He is just using it as sarcasm, so he can trample it.

But Grann did buy it, hook, line and sinker, that anti death penalty claims are failsafe. Why? Because Grann only wants to show how fallible the death penalty is. It may not be true, but, it's good anti death penalty theater.

The anti death penalty, non fact checked literature told Grann (Zwick)  what he wanted to hear, so, why fact check it? Credibility? Grann, anti death penalty activist.

Many reporters, blindly parrot these same anti death penalty morsels of nonsense, below A-E, without fact checking. So travels Grann, as detailed.

(A) Grann says "Since 1976, more than a hundred and thirty people on death row have been exonerated."

It's total nonsense.

The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
READ SECTIONS 3&4 FIRST
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html 

(B) On the DNA front, Grann says DNA "saved" 17 death row inmates. Grann wants us to believe those 17 would have been executed, absent that DNA exclusion.

It's total nonsense. 8-9 of those 17 had already been taken off death row, prior to the DNA exclusion. Those were "saved" prior to DNA testing. Grann works the good anti death penalty drama. But, accuracy?

In addition, about 13% of all death row inmates have been executed. About 44% have been removed from death row for other reasons, meaning death row inmates are 338% more likely to be removed from death row by reasons other than execution.

Mr. Grann, do you need proof, evidence or fact checking to make claims? Isn't that, allegedly, what the article was concerned with? Oh well. Grann, anti death penalty activist.

Grann may have speculated that innocents are more protected with the death penalty than they are with lesser sentences. But, why would an anti death penalty activist so speculate? He wouldn't, of course. But, maybe it's true.

The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

===

p 9 (C) In 2000, after thirteen people on death row in Illinois were exonerated, George Ryan, who was then governor of the state, suspended the death penalty.

REPLY: Why can't Grann fact check and tell us how many of those 13 "exonerated" are actually innocent? Maybe there is a reason why. The term "exonerated" has been highly misused by anti death penalty activists, to the point where exonerated has no connection to its real meaning. See "The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy" above and this:

Grann, review: "The Death Penalty Debate in Illinois", JJKinsella, 6/2000, http://www.dcba.org/brief/junissue/2000/art010600.htm

Mr. Grann, fact checking? Yes, some of the reviews within the Kinsella article are very incomplete, dated and in error. However, the point is that the 13 were not exonerated. And Grann just used it, anyway.

Is fact checking such a bad thing? But, Grann, anti death penalty activist. Why would he fact check?

===

p 9 (D) In 1993, Ruben Cantu was executed in Texas for fatally shooting a man during a robbery. Years later, a second victim, who survived the shooting, told the Houston Chronicle that he had been pressured by police to identify Cantu as the gunman, even though he believed Cantu to be innocent. Sam Millsap, the district attorney in the case, who had once supported capital punishment (“I’m no wild-eyed, pointy-headed liberal”), said that he was disturbed by the thought that he had made a mistake.

REPLY: Grann, Fact checking would be nice. Oh, well. The only pressure was for Moreno to identify the man who murdered Moreno's best friend and almost murdered Moreno. The police had nothing on Moreno to pressure him. Grann for the defense.

Mr. Grann, read this:

Ruben Cantu: In the Matter of Juan Moreno: Investigation Relating to The State of Texas v. Ruben Cantu, Cause No. 85-CR-1303, 6/26/2007

(E) Instead of playing the bluff, using Grann's imagination style of reporting, where Grann wrote that Millsap "thought he had made a mistake.", why not be a little less nebulous and suggestive. How about - One could safely call Millsap an anti death penalty activist, who had radically changed his statements on Cantu. Explain that Millsap has gone from Cantu was innocent to, well, maybe he didn't get adequate due process, or various versions of that. Grann wasn't trying to get us to imagine that Millsap thought Cantu was actually innocent, was he? Millsap "thought he had made a mistake."

And Grann left all of that out because . . . he only had 17 pages for his article?

Why did Grann stick all of this anti death penalty "innocence" nonsense (A-E) into his article? It was to influence the reader into turning them toward an "innocent" Willingham. It was setting the stage. But, it was fiction, just like the Zwick film will be, based upon Grann's article.

NOTE: I sent a fact checking inquiry to New Yorker on these on 9/4/09, to fiction@newyorker.com, shouts@newyorker.com, newsbreaks@newyorker.com, themail@newyorker.com. Then on 9/14, I sent to the same group with Grann, added.

So far (up to 9/2017) , no reply nor correction. Why? Guess.

===

p 15 Without having visited the fire scene, (fire expert Gerald) Hurst says, it was impossible to pinpoint the cause of the blaze. But, based upon the evidence, he had little doubt that it was an accidental fire—one caused most likely by the space heater or faulty electrical wiring.

REPLY: "IMPOSSIBLE." and "little doubt" go together for Hurst. Keep that in mind.

Keep in mind that Hurst has stated that he can never exclude arson. Never.

"Impossible" to pinpoint. But, "(Hurst) had little doubt it was an accidental fire". "impossible to pinpoint the cause". But, Hurst says it's "most likely" that "the space heater or faulty wiring" was the cause.

Is "most likely" or "little doubt" scientific, or is it a game of chance, where 20% doubt is little doubt or "most likely" means 51% likely? Dr. Hurst?

How does "IMPOSSIBLE" reconcile with "little doubt" or "most likely" the space heater or the electrical wiring reconcile, scientifically? They don't reconcile.

Hurst's scientific method? Clairvoyant? Soothsayer? Junk Science?

Dr. Hurst, would that be a 26% vote for space heater, 25% for the electrical wiring and 49% for arson? That would give the space heater and electrical wiring a 51% "most likely", over the "less likely" 49% for arson.

Or are we looking at 34% for heater, 34% for wiring and 32% for arson?

Dr. Hurst, which junk science method works best?

It has been reported that the gas was turned off 4 days prior to the fire. What does that do for Hurst's "most likely", if true? Dr. Hurst? wiring 51%, arson 49%. "IMPOSSIBLE?" "Scientific Guess?"

Let's go back to the criticism of the state "experts" at trial, that imagination, opinion based upon fantasy/bad science and faulty judgement were their calling cards. You know "more likely than not" "most likely". Not science.

The state arson "experts" agreed that the fire was not caused by either the space heater or the electrical wiring. Has anyone contradicted their testimony on that topic, based upon the facts? "Impossible."

Furthermore, two of the state experts, Fogg and Hensley, are, now, blasting the conclusions of the newest forensics report by Beyler.

There are, currently, 3 forensic reviews, highly critical of the courtroom testimony, The reviews are Hurst, Innocent Project and Beyler. Briefly, they say, that the trial testimony was false, that arson could not have been detected, based upon the flawed knowledge of the trial's fire "experts" and that flashover may have caused the arson evidence, if any, to become indistinguishable from a non arson fire.

Fogg:    "A lot of this stuff (in Beyler’s report) is misspoken or misinterpreted,” Fogg said. “We eliminated all accidental causes.” "Beyler acknowledges that one sample did have accelerant in it, but said it was unidentified, a claim Fogg disputes.""Beyler theorized it was a flashover, and said investigators didn’t see the difference between the intense heat of a flashover and an accelerant-driven fire.""Fogg laughed at the notion." " If it had been a flashover, it would have taken out the thin layer of sheetrock on the walls, he argued." “That house was box construction,” Fogg said. “The only sheetrock that came down was what was hit with water. The paper backing wasn’t even scorched.”

Hensley:   "For Hensley, the most damning evidence came from Willingham, who told officers that 2-year-old Amber woke him up. Firefighters later found her in his bed, with burns on the soles of her feet." " Yet, Willingham didn’t take the girl with him when he fled, nor did he receive burns walking down that same hallway, Hensley pointed out." "Willingham “had no more (carbon monoxide) than somebody who had just smoked a cigarette,” Hensley said. "Hensley has since become a certified arson investigator. In hindsight, he insists they took the right steps with the evidence in the Willingham case." “We did everything we were supposed to do,” he said.

"Hensley also dismisses Beyler’s report, pointing out that Beyler didn’t talk to the investigators, and reading the testimony can’t replace first-person observations." “You can find expert witnesses everywhere, and if you pay them enough they’ll testify to anything,” Hensley said. “They’re to be bought.” “You can’t just look at a little part. Look at the whole picture, and that’s what the jury did,” Hensley said. “If a 2-year-old wakes you up and there’s smoke and fire everywhere, aren’t you going to at least get that one out? It couldn’t possibly have happened the way (Willingham) said.” "Willingham’s behavior afterwards did not help his case. Todd Morris was the first police officer on the scene and he found Willingham trying to push his car away from the house to save it from the fire, while his children were inside burning up, Hensley said."

Grann, could Fogg and Hensley have been important for your article? Of course not, they don't help the case that Grann was presenting. Grann, for the defense.

Grann (Zwick), try reading this:

"No doubts: Those closest to case shed no tears for Willingham"
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2017/08/cameron-todd-willingham-guilty.html

Hurst said it was IMPOSSIBLE to pinpoint the origin of the fire.

That means the cause of the fire is indeterminate. The fire could have been arson or could have been accidental.

Grann couldn't speculate that such is what "IMPOSSIBLE" means. Grann for the defense.

======

p 15 It explained why there had never been a motive for the crime.

REPLY: No motive?! Get rid of the kids. They're bothering me. Just because Willingham denied it, doesn't mean that wasn't the motive. Have fathers "without motive" murdered their children? Or have father's with known, violent tendencies ever murdered their children? It's not uncommon for violent people to murder, with no motive. They're just mean. Grann? Motive? Grann, for the defense.

Please refer to my page 6 REPLY, above.

===

p 15 (Gerald) Hurst concluded that there was no evidence of arson, and that a man who had already lost his three children and spent twelve years in jail was about to be executed based on “junk science.”

REPLY: Of course there was evidence of arson. An accelerate was found in the front hall, under the door jam, with the hall fire connected to the fire in the children's room, the only two areas of the house where there was a fire.  In addition, the large burn pattern on the floor in the children's room very much appears to be an accelerate fire, but an accelerate could not be found, but is a solid explanation for the burn pattern. Scientific identification of accelerates was much more difficult at the time of the fire, than it is today, as detailed.

Remember "Without having visited the fire scene, Hurst says, it was IMPOSSIBLE to pinpoint the cause of the blaze." As Hurst admitted, he hasn't, ever, been able to exclude arson.

The trial testimony of the arson "experts' was not junk science.  It met the standards of the day and, they assert, and some future standards, as well, as they assert (link, just below). Today, with all of this additional knowledge, they still support arson, with all the known evidence.

In fact, in a 2014 inquiry of 1000 Texas arson cases, of those convicted arsonists, still in prison, they may have found one actual innocent with poorly done fire forensics. Not exactly a state that doesn't know what they are doing.

Did anyone notice that the state experts agreed in their testimony that there were alternate scenarios for the fire and alternate possibilities for the arsonist, but that they both believed Willingham to be the arsonist? The jury heard the state arson "experts" state that there were alternate scenarios for the fire, that it may not have been arson, and that anyone could have set the fire.

Yet, those arson "experts" and the jury, with the knowledge of all of the alternate possibilities, still found for Willingham's guilt. Now, speculate that there was a reason for that. And those reasons were covered at trial and Grann "missed" a lot of them. Grann for the defense.

NOTE: I have not read the trial transcript. I got the information on the trial testimony from other articles, which may or may not have fact checked. (NOTE - soon thereafter I read the trial transcript).

======

Texas Standards of Forensic Fire Science 1991

State Fire Marshall's Office (SFMO) Response to Texas Forensic Science Commission Inquiry , page  215-216 (as per computer counter)

1) Texas Fire Foresics Standards (1991) Used in Willingham Case, as compared to the 1992 and 1995 NFPA Standards, page  215-216 (as per computer counter)

and

2) Attachment A, SFMO Investigation Report and NFPA 921

(All NFPA references are to 1995 edition because it is even more comprehensive than the original 1992 version. However, 1992 citation is noted in brackest [ }, if available.)


both from

Texas Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshall's Office, Paul Maldonado, State Fire Marshall, , August 20, 2010, pages 212-213,

and

Rebuttal to Craig Beyler
from The Corsicana Fire Dept Response to Dr. Craig Beyler's  Report Re: Willigham Matter, p 118-138 (as per computer counter) , 9/29/2009,

all from

Report of the Texas Forensic Science Commission:

Willingham/Willis Investigation, 4/15/2011,

======

p 16 Earlier, (Willingham) had confessed to his parents that there was one thing about the day of the fire he had lied about. He said that he had never actually crawled into the children’s room. “I just didn't want people to think I was a coward,” he said. Hurst told (Grann), “People who have never been in a fire don't understand why those who survive often can't rescue the victims. They have no concept of what a fire is like.”

REPLY: There was no fire where Amber was, ever. Hurst (?) and Grann (Zwick?) for the defense.

Neither Hurst nor Grann has evidence that Willingham did not set the fire and murder his children. Period.

Let's speculate.

Willingham's confession is the closest Willingham could get to admitting he murdered his children. He didn't try to save them. He made up why he had burns. Amber, Willingham's two year old, only had burned feet. She was found in a different room than the twins. She was in the master bedroom with Willingham when she "woke" him because of the fire, as told by . . . Todd Willingham.  Willingham had the opportunity to grab Amber and take her out of the house, with him. If we use Grann's speculation, maybe Amber passed out in Willingham's bedroom, with her dad, and he just left her there. Remember, the only reason Willingham gave, that he left Amber, was that he told Amber to get out, as Willingham tried to save the twins - he was crawling on his hands and knees to get the twins.

But, we know Willingham lied. He never did that.

He simply abandoned Amber in the fire, along with the twins. Why? Maybe because he had no intention of saving them. Maybe, his intent was to murder them.

Amber was found, un-burned, except for her feet, in the master bedroom, alive. She later died of smoke inhalation. The fire never entered the master bedroom or the back of the house.

We will never know how much time Willingham had to save all of his children. But we do know, he never tried.

Why didn't Willingham just grab Amber, run down the hallway and exit the house? Or go out the fours exits, away from the fire, with Amber? She was alive when he left her. Maybe the twins were alive, too.

We, now, know, that Willingham wasn't stopping to save the twins. Why not save Amber? Maybe his intention was to murder her and them, not save anyone. That's the only credible explantion.

After Willingham left the house, he had plenty of time and plenty of doors and windows to got into where there was no fire, to, at least, save Amber. He had no intention of doing so. How do we know? Because he had every opportunity to do so and didn't.

Willingham's intention was to fabricate a heroic father, with burns, screaming and yelling, when an audience was there. "I have to save my children."

He, later admits, he was never going into that house, not even at the beginning of the fire, not even when most of the house had no flames - which was the entire time of the fire.

No wonder he had no signs of smoke inhalation.

He is yelling and screaming, handcuffed to the fire truck, the desperate father, straining to get into the flames to save his babies. It was all a conscious, deliberate deception.

He says he had no such intentions of ever saving his children because he was a coward. No, he was a murderer.

As his children are burning up, Willingham has the foresight, calmness and grotesque callousness to create an entire drama, a complete fraud and Willingham admitted it.

How about this? Willingham had no intention of rescuing his children because he was a murderer, not a coward.

Why couldn't Grann make such a speculation? It doesn't help the defense or the anti death penalty position.

Maybe my speculation is just based upon "I have little doubt" or "most likely", you know, like Gerald Hurst's.

(Note: I have emailed Hurst, twice, for clarification on his comments. So far, no reply. NOTE, Hurst is dead now and never replied. Why? Speculate. The same reason the New Yorker and Grann did not respond, just like the Polk Award folks.)

===

p 17 "Just before Willingham received the lethal injection, he was asked if he had any last words. He said, “The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for twelve years for something I did not do. From God’s dust I came and to dust I will return, so the Earth shall become my throne.”

REPLY: How profound. Do you think Grann left the following out on purpose?

Before Willingham received the lethal injection, he addressed Stacy Kuykendall, his ex-wife and mother of the three children he murdered, who was watching about 8 feet away through a window. He said "I hope you rot in hell, bitch; I hope you fucking rot in hell, bitch. You bitch; I hope you fucking rot, cunt. That is it." He attempted to maneuver his hand, strapped at the wrist, into an obscene gesture.

Leaves you with a slightly different impression. Doesn't it? Or what Grann didn't want you to read.

Grann, for the defense. Maybe the whole article was written that way. Maybe? Please.

But worldwide media and anti death penalty activists (often the same) bought into it, without fact checking and without any additional knowledge. Why? Because they WANT to believe it and they want you to, as well.

Is that possible? Likely? Sure? Guaranteed.

===

 "The Lost City of Z", also by David Grann, the same author who wrote "Trial by Fire".

Another "true story".

One of the world's true great explorers, John Hemming, reviews David Grann's "The Lost City of Z". See the full review, here (2).

"The new film "The Lost City of Z" is being advertised as based on the true story of one of Britain’s greatest explorers.", a "true story" authored by David Grann.

"Unfortunately, Grann hyped ("The Lost City of Z") out of all proportion and wrongly depicted Fawcett as a great explorer."

"(Grann) let his imagination run riot . . . "Everyone who knows tropical forests, including me, knows that almost every word of (this section by Grann) is nonsense."

"Calling (Fawcett) one of our greatest explorers . . .  is an insult to the huge roster of true explorers. Had the advertisement been about a soap powder, it would fall foul of the Trade Descriptions Act."

"These and a great many other passages (by Grann) are artistic licence and hype of an absurd order. Hollywood believed everything Grann wrote, and then hyped it up more."

"Fawcett admitted that he was ‘a greenhorn in the jungle’ and knew nothing about nature." "But Grann wrote that he moved ‘inch by inch through the jungle, tracing rivers and mountains, cataloguing exotic species… [until] he had explored as much of the region as anyone’.

"Not a word of this (section) was true, either."

"Equally absurd was (Grann's) rubbish about cannibalistic tribes, blow guns with poisoned darts, or Kuikuro menacing him with ‘gleaming spears flickering’ from the undergrowth."

"In fact, (Fawcett) was a racist incompetent who achieved very little."

A "true story"? Sound familiar?

===========
NOTE: The final chapter in this case is, nowhere, close to being concluded.

(1) "Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?", by David Grann, A Reporter at Large, The New Yorker, September 7, 2009
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

2) "The Lost City of Z is a very long way from a true story — and I should know", John Hemming, The Spectator,  1 April 2017, https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/04/the-lost-city-of-z-is-a-very-long-way-from-a-true-story-and-i-should-know/

======

RELATED INFORMATION

The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
and
THE DEATH PENALTY: SAVING MORE INNOCENT LIVES
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html

======
Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims

======

Dudley Sharp
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com,  832-439-2113
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, Oprah, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Friday, October 02, 2009

James Liebman's "A Broken System": Review of A Broken Study

Dudley Sharp

"A Broken System", by James Liebman, published in 2000, found a 68% error rate in US death penalty cases, from 1973-1995 (1).

NOTE: "Error" rate is in regard to legal issues, not the error of conviciting actually innocent people to death row.

Based upon a neutral source, the overturning error rate, for that period, is 30% and, likely, lower (2).

Of the 5555 sentenced to death, from 1973-1995, the period of the study, 1648 cases, or less than 30%, were overturned because of some error in conviction or sentence (2).

Even the 30% is too high, based upon the Reviews, below, as some of those "error" cases (1) were overturned because of either new legislative or case law that didn't exist at the time of the trial or (2) were reversed upon final appeal and had their death sentence reinstated or (3) were improperly included as reversed by error, all of which should have exclude them from being listed as reversed by error within James Liebman's study.

With all those cases excluded, it would be surprising if the error rate was more than 25%.

How could the author have made such blatant errors? He is an anti death penalty defense attorney/law professor.

I looked at the 2005 BJS Capital Punishment database (3) of all death penalty cases, from 1981-1985, which all had 20-25 years of appeals. Of the 1288 sentenced to death, 560 were overturned because of conviction or sentencing errors, or 43%, minus any "new law" and any reinstated death penalty cases. (3)

Still, very high, indeed, but, likely, still 40-50% lower than the 68% claimed in "A Broken System", maybe lower, when removing all the improper "error" cases

In addition, sentences are overturned at twice the rate of convictions, 20% vs 10% (4) , which, in context, likely, tell us more about the bias of many judges against the death penalty (5) , more than it does about errors in sentencing. The judicial bias against the death penalty in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey is, or was, respectively, blatant.

Some examples of the criticism of James Liebman's "A Broken System".

Pennsylvania review:

"(A Broken System") counts cases thrown out when the United States Supreme Court overturned all existing death penalties in the 1970's. He also counts cases that were reversed on appeal, even if that reversal was itself reversed on further appeal, reinstating the original conviction. Obviously, none of these reversals says anything about the fairness of the current administration of capital punishment." (6)

NOTE:  629 cases were "thrown out when the United States Supreme Court overturned all existing death penalties in the 1970's", none of which can be counted as error within Liebman's report.  During the 1973-1995 period, 489 death row cases were overtuned because of statute problems, not errors in conviction or sentencing (4)

Florida Review:

"Using the authors' misleading definition, the "study" does, however, conclude that 64 Florida post-conviction cases were rife with "error" - even though none of these Florida cases was ultimately resolved by a "not guilty" verdict, a pardon or a dismissal of murder charges." " Indeed, in more than a third of the 64 cases cited by the "study," the death sentence was reimposed, while in other cases the State agreed to accept a plea of life to spare the families of victims the trauma of additional court proceedings. These cases should not be included in a true "error rate" analysis, and if factored out, would show far less "error" in post-conviction cases than the "study" suggests." "(The study) may leave readers with the false impression that Florida put the wrong individual away for an offense, when no such claim is supported by competent evidence." (7)

Note: In Florida, it appears, "A Broken System" may have made errors in excess of 40%.

Nevada review:

"Death penalty records are kept by the Nevada Supreme Court, Attorney General, Department of Prisons, 17 district attorneys and 17 court clerks, yet Liebman got his from criminal defense attorneys (who apparently reported their wins, but not their losses) and the NAACP Capital Punishment Project (whose agenda is the abolition of the death penalty)." "Second, it appears Liebman picked and chose his cases, tailoring the study to get certain results. He took cases from 1973-1995 for some results; 1993-1995 for other results; and 1973-April, 2000 for others. He used only published opinions for some results, but used unpublished opinions for others. He used only Nevada Supreme Court or federal appeal cases for some results, but added lower state court cases to increase reversals. Liebman didn't count all Nevada cases. He excluded killers who discontinued their appeals. (He presumed they did so due to frustration with the system, not because they were proved guilty and accepted it.) Incredibly, he didn't even count the eight men executed in Nevada since 1977!" (8)

NOTE: Could "A Broken System" be that misleading?

Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg;

"The refusal to share underlying data with researchers is particularly troubling in light of the media misrepresentation of Liebman as a neutral professor heading a Columbia University study. In truth, Liebman maintains an active criminal defense practice, and has been litigating against the death penalty since long before he became a professor. His study was funded in large part by a grant from the anti-capital punishment Soros Foundation, with the stated purpose of "find[ing] effective ways to curb the [death] penalty's use." (Preface to Latzer and Cauthen article) (9)

"Upon our request, Prof. Liebman (the primary author) declined to release his data to us. We therefore could not examine the cases or verify the decisions in the "Broken System". (10)

To decline releasing such data should be viewed as the final nail in the coffin of no credibility for "A Broken System".

FOOTNOTES

(1) A Broken System: The Persistent Patterns of Reversals of Death Sentences in the United States, (2000), James Liebman, http://www2.law.columbia.edu/instructionalservices/liebman/
with updates at http://www2.law.columbia.edu/brokensystem2/index2.html

(2) 1973-1995 data taken from Appendix table 1. Prisoners sentenced to death and the outcome sentence, by year of sentencing, 1973-98, "Capital Punishment, 1998", Tracy Snell, Bureau Of Justice Statistics, originally published December, 1999, last updated 1/6/00
http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cp98.pdf    last viewed and re-confirmed 3/28/2013
Based upon the publication date of "A Broken System", 2000, this appears to be the most relevant data base..

(3) Appendix table 2., Prisoners sentenced to death and the outcome sentence, by year of sentencing, 1973-2005, page 14, "Capital Punishment, 2005", Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec, 2006, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cp05.pdf

(4) Table 14 Prisoners sentenced to death and the outcome of sentence, by year of sentencing, 1973–2010, p 18, Capital Punishment, 2010 –Statistical Tables, Tracy Snell, Bureau of Justice Statistics. December 2011, NCJ 236510, http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cp10st.pdf last viewed and re-confirmed 3/28/2013

(5) Judges Responsible for Grossly Uneven Executions
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/judges-responsible-for-grossly-uneven.html

(6) http://prodeathpenalty.com/Liebman/Pennsylvania.htm

(7) http://prodeathpenalty.com/Liebman/Florida.htm

(8) http://prodeathpenalty.com/Liebman/Nevada.htm

(9) http://prodeathpenalty.com/Liebman/LCPreface.htm

(10) endnote 11, page 28. "Another Recount: Appeals in Capital Cases", Latzer and Cauthern, The Prosecutor, January/February 2001. http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/docs/prosecutor.pdf

======
Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims

Dudley Sharp
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is The News And Observer beyond repair? The Death Penalty

To: Governor Perdue , The State Legislature and media throughout the state

From: Dudley Sharp, contact info below

The News and Observer (NO) says the death penalty is "Beyond fixing" (7/19/09). Based upon their op/ed, it is NO that is beyond repair.

NO says the list of the exonerated from death row tells the tail of how inaccurate the death penalty is. Well, no. More likely, it tells us the poor state of fact checking in the media.

The term"exonerated", as the NO knows, has been, highly misused by both the media and anti death penalty folks (often the same).

The national death row "exonerated" list has grown to 135, but it has nothing to do with the actually innocent sent to and released from death row. Even the New York Times did an article on this obvious anti death penalty deception. (1) Did NO not get the memo?

The number is very likely much closer to 25, or about 0.3% of those so sentenced - meaning the actually guilty sent to death row is about 99.7%. The 25 (as well as the 135) have all been released. (2)

Maybe the NO can do an article on what the difference is between 1) the alleged "exonerated" from North Carolina's death row and 2) for how many of those cases is there proof of actual innocence. It is the only relevant issue in the innocence debate. Why? First, to be clear and honest. Secondly, we can't execute the legally innocent- that is impossible. Therefore, only the actual innocent are the relevant issue.

Is the NO aware of a more accurate criminal sanction than the death penalty?

The NO only mentions that African Americans "are too often caught up in the wheels of the court system, and the chance that they will pay a price for flaws in that system is high."

Why the race baiting? It's unseemly.

In the modern era of the US death penalty, since 1973, whites represent, nationally, 57% of those executed, blacks 34%. In North Carolina, whites represent 28 (65%) of those executed, blacks 13 (30%). It is clear that whites are more likely to suffer the worst flaw- an innocent executed -the number one alleged concern of anti death penalty folks, such as NO. In reality, it is everyone's chief concern.

Why didn't NO point that out? However, let's try to agree that no one wants any innocent human beings convicted of a crime they didn't commit.

In a serious debate, it is ludicrous to imply discrimination because census data on population counts, for different races and ethnicities, is not consistent with the percentage counts of those races/ethnicities on death row. Instead of populations counts, try looking at who is committing capital, death penalty eligible murders, instead. It's a much better barometer.

The NO completely blows it on their concern that the death penalty system can't catch ever mistake. We all know that no system can catch every mistake. The NO overlooked the crucial, relevant issue - the death penalty is more likely to catch a mistake than is any lesser sanction. Put another way, innocents are more protected with the death penalty. (3)

Even NO knows that the death penalty system has, by far, the most extensive due process protections in US law. That means that the actually innocent convicted are more likely in non death penalty life cases and are more likely to die in prison, serving under that sentence, than it is that an actual innocent will be executed. (3)

The NO gets really silly. The NO states: "The (Racial Justice Act's) House champions know better than to swallow that kind of poison pill." For NO, the "poison pill" is the Senate language to resume executions. Why is it a poison pill to implement the death penalty that judges and jurors felt was the most appropriate sanction for the crime committed? Because the NO's goal is to help stop any executions, just like their champions.

From a statistical standpoint, it is fitting that NO agrees with US Supreme Court Justice Blackmun that we should no longer tinker with death's machinery.

That is one judge out of 110 that have served on SCOTUS, or less than 1%. The NO is in perfect company.

Time for the NO to get their act together, if it isn't already "Beyond Fixing".

It isn't. Simply honor the Fourth Estate, present honest and balanced coverage of the death penalty. Period.

1) "The Death of Innocents: A Reasonable Doubt", New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak, national legal correspondent for The NY Times. Excerpt: "To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . ". That is out of the DPIC claimed 119 "exonerated", at that time, for a 75% error rate. NOTE: It's hard to understand how an absolute can have a differential of 33%. I suggest the "to be sure" is, now, closer to 25.

2) The 130 (now 135) death row "innocents" scam
http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/03/04/fact-checking-issues-on-innocence-and-the-death-penalty.aspx

3) "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"
http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/05/the-death-penalty-more-protection-for-innocents.aspx

======
Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims


Dudley Sharp
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS, VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

Pro death penalty sites

essays http://homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

http://www.dpinfo.com/
http://www.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
http://www.coastda.com/archives.html
http://www.lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/
http://www.prodeathpenalty.com/
http://yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
http://www.wesleylowe.com/cp.html

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DETAILS: Why the Racial Justice Act is a SCAM - North Carolina

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

DETAILS: Why the Racial Justice Act is a SCAM - North Carolina

Dudley Sharp, contact info below, 7/13/09

Racial/ethnic bias should be taken seriously and by people of good will with honest intentions.

The aim of the Racial Justice Act (RJA) is not racial justice. The RJA's purpose is to increase cost and delay in death penalty cases, with a goal of assisting the end of the death penalty in North Carolina.

The RJA bill: Proof of racial discrimination is established if "Death sentences were sought or imposed significantly "MORE FREQUENTLY" upon persons of one race than upon persons of one race than upon persons of another race." (1)

Frequency is a measure of occurrence, not a measure of disproportionality, discrimination or measurable bias.

For example, if 10 death sentences are sought and imposed for both black and white murderers, the frequency of death sentences for each race is equal. Equal frequency can be, totally, disproportionate.

If whites had committed 100 death penalty eligible murders, yet only 10 death sentences were sought and imposed, and blacks had committed 12 "identical" (2) death penalty eligible murders, yet 10 death sentences were sought and imposed, there would be equal frequency, but striking disproportionality.

For those truly looking for discrimination, it doesn't matter how frequently, how often or how rarely the death penalty is sought or imposed for murderers of different races/ethnicities, it only matters if it is significantly, measurably disproportionately sought or imposed based upon discrimination.

In any jurisdiction, if death sentences are sought or imposed 10 times for whites and 7 times for blacks or 10 times for blacks and 7 times for whites, the frequency is 30% less or 43% more and - voila - a claim of "more frequently" will be made and discrimination will be pronounced, even if death sentences are sought and imposed proportionately to any race/ethnicity involvement in capital murders and there is zero discrimination.

The RJA, intentionally, allows cases to be challenged and overturned based upon a definition of "discrimination" which has nothing to do with discrimination.

The RJA makes a mockery of justice and is a direct insult to those who truly wish to end racism and discrimination.

The RJA is a big, unnecessary dishonest mess.

The "Study": One often hears that racial bias was established by the study, "Race and The Death Penalty in North Carolina", by UNC-CH professors Boger and Unah (2). It wasn't.

First, the only alleged racial “disparity” (not bias) uncovered in the “study” is based upon: “. . . the “death odds multiplier” is 3.5, indicating that, on average, the odds of receiving a death sentence are increased by a factor of 3.5 when the murder victim is white.” (3). IF true, that 3.5 odds multiplier might be about a 2%-4% differential – completely meaningless, based upon actual cases sent to death row.

NOTE: Many, in the media and elsewhere, misinterpreted the 3.5 as "times" (a 250% differential) as opposed to the actual "odds multiplier" (maybe a 2-4% differential) .

Did Boger/Unah ever correct that misunderstanding? The same problem exists with the McCleskey v Georgia case. (4)

Secondly, the study looks at 1993-1997, or 16% of the 32 years of current death penalty laws and 99 out of the 383 death sentences, or 26%. In the unlikely case the study is sound, the results show no discrimination. In the context of the full 32 year database, this study is irrelevant in discussing the death penalty in North Carolina, today.

Thirdly, academics, lawmakers, media (I hope) and others have been trying, without success, to get the database/methodology on the Boger/Unah study for nearly a decade. Is there a legitimate academic reason for withholding that information? Of course not.

The RJA - Renders Justice an Ass. Don't pass this bill.

Footnotes:

(1) HB461,15A-2011, (b), (1) & , mostly, (2), 6/30/09
http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2009/Bills/Senate/PDF/S461v5.pdf

(2) Of course, there is no such thing as "identical" murders. The circumstances of each murder are all distinct, as are the murderer(s) and the victim(s). That is one of the obvious reasons why the RJA is so flawed.

(3) "Race and The Death Penalty in North Carolina: An Empirical Analysis 1993-1997", page 4, 4/16/2001
http://www.common-sense.org/pdfs/NCDeathPenaltyReport2001.pdf

(4) See "The Odds of Execution" within "How numbers are tricking you"
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/4834/barnett.htm
and
"The Math Behind Race, Crime and Sentencing Statistics"
http://8.12.42.31/1998/jul/12/opinion/op-2965

see also

RACE: A Death Penalty Primer – No Bias in Death Penalty Sentencing
http://homicidesurvivors.com/2006/03/25/race-a-death-penalty-primer.aspx?ref=rss

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Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.

Dudley Sharp
e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally..