Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The play "The Exonerated" - are any actually innocent?

"The Exonerated", the play, -  anti truth, anti victim: Are any actually innocent?
Dudley Sharp

originally published 2006,
last updated 7/11/2017, primarily updated links

This play is presented as a true story of six innocents sent to death row because of corruption within the system.

The Exonerated is a true story just as CATS and The Lion King are.

The "error rate" for anti death penalty folks, in their nationwide claims of  "exonerated or "innocent" released from death row is 70-83%, depending upon review (1), as with "The Exonerated".

Anti death penalty folks have, simply, redefined "innocence" and "exonerated" as if they had redefined lie as truth (1).

Reviews of each of "The Exonerated" cases, with links and contacts for your own review, below:

Are audiences being duped to further a political/social agenda? Of course. 

And theater critics?  They simply don't bother to fact check and blindly accept and repeat whatever the producers tell them.

Only one theater critic, Tom Sime of the Dallas Morning News, bothered to see if the claims were true. His brief review resulted in this published comment: 

 "Maybe three are actually innocent and three actually aren't.  In any case, blind faith - in the criminal justice process or in the truth of crusading art- is best left at home."

"The Exonerated" is strictly a bit of anti-death penalty deception, which is not at all surprising.  It appears that the Soros Foundation, through their Open Society Institute (OSI) is the primary benefactor of  "The Exonerated" . The Soros Foundation finances anti death penalty efforts, worldwide.

1) Robert Earl Hayes  Nothing about Hayes’ retrial changes the appeals court’s original observation that evidence existed to establish Hayes’ guilt.  Hayes has now been convicted of a nearly identical murder in New York, which was committed prior to the murder in Florida.

In 2004, Robert Hayes pled guilty to manslaughter and arson in a 1987 rape and murder in New York. He is now serving 15 to 45 years. He is also the prime suspect in rapes in Delaware and New Jersey.

Go to
2) Sunny Jacobs -- After the shooting, still at the scene of the murders, a trooper asked Jacobs: "Do you like shooting troopers?" Jacobs response:  "We had to."

The best review of the blatant dishonesty of this "Exonerated" case is "The Myth of Innocence", Josh Marquis, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, v 95, No 2, Winter, 2005, Northwestern University School of Law.

Mr. Marquis can be reached at, or  503-791-0012.

There is no evidence to support a claim of innocence for Jacobs in the murder of two police officers in Florida. She eventually pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder and was released for time served, after 16 years. Hardly a finding of innocence.    

3) David Keaton --  Keaton's defense attorney stated that even without Keaton's numerous confessions, that the eyewitness testimony was likely sufficient to convict Keaton for the capital murder.

Through the testimony of numerous eyewitnesses, Keaton's numerous confessions, as well as those of co-defendants, Keaton was sentenced to death. There is no credible claim for innocence in this case of robbery/murder. The case was overturned on appeal. The prosecution chose not to re prosecute for a number of good reasons  --  1. he was no longer subject to the death penalty, because of changes in the law 2. Keaton was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a robbery that he committed ten days prior to the robbery/murder for which he was sentenced to death and 3. illness of witnesses.

Keaton was sentenced to death in 1971, under the old death penalty law. He was on death row for 13 months when the US Supreme Court overturned all death penalty cases in Furman v Georgia. By law, he could not be re-sentenced to death.

4) Delbert Tibbs -- The Florida Supreme Court candidly conceded that it should not have reversed Tibbs' conviction since the evidence was legally sufficient.

The state prosecutor who chose not to retry Tibbs  recently explained to the Florida Commission on Capital Crimes that Tibbs “was never an innocent man wrongfully accused. 

He was a lucky human being. He was guilty, he was lucky and now he is free." 

See no.10 at
and pages 131-135 at

5) Kerry Max Cook -- The judge, in accepting Cook's no contest plea, said that Cook was guilty of the crime and that the state was capable of proving its case.

This is not a DNA exoneration case.

Mr. Cook was convicted of the murder of Linda Jo Edwards, who was found in her apartment on June 10, 1977, beaten on the head with a plaster statue, stabbed in the throat, chest and back and sexually mutilated. Mr. Cook was arrested 2 months later where he worked as a bartender in Port Arthur. Officers said they found Mr. Cook's fingerprint on Ms. Edwards' apartment door. At first he denied knowing Ms. Edwards. Cook lied. He later said they met at the apartment complex's swimming pool and he went to her apartment. His original conviction resulting in a death sentence was overturned because of prosecutorial misconduct. 

A 1992 retrial ended in a hung jury. He was again convicted and sentenced to death in 1994. 

That verdict was overturned in 1996. Before a 4th trial, Mr. Cook pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of murder. He was sentenced to 20 years time served. Mr. Cook took the deal so he could avoid a possible return to death row. By taking the plea, both Cook and his attorneys conceded that this is hardly a case where there is no evidence for guilt and certainly not a case with confirmable actual innocence.

for more on this case, contact David Dobbs at

6) Gary Gauger -- Gauger confessed to the murder of his parents. That confession was thrown out based upon the lack of probable cause to arrest him. Gauger's ex-wife and children filed a wrongful death suit against Gauger in the murder of his parents. Gary's brother remains so convinced of Gary's guilt in the murders of their parents, that he has prepared a review of the case which claims to support Gary's guilt, even though there are now two other people jailed for the murders and who, confessed, in detail (Gang Member Details Slaying Of Couple, Carolyn Starks, Chicago Tribune, 3/9/1999,

The trial court erroneously imposed a death sentence. The court granted a motion for reconsideration and vacated the sentence less than ten months later in September 1994. The trial court found that it had not considered all the mitigating evidence and concluded that Gauger should not be sentenced to death. People v. Bull, 705 N.E.2d 824, 843 (Ill. 1999); Chicago Tribune (9/23/94). Gauger served a brief time on death row. He was not properly sentenced to death by the trial court. He should never have been sent to death row because the trial court did not finally sentence him to be executed. Gauger’s case is an example of how consideration of mitigating evidence under current law results in a sentence less than death.

see no. 69 at 

Some additional articles:

"The Myth of Innocence", Josh Marquis, The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, v 95, No 2, Winter, 2005, Northwestern University School of Law.

"Cross-Examination for a Drama That Puts the Death Penalty on Trial",  Adam Liptak,  New York Times, January 27, 2005

"Prosecutors take exception to Court TV film", Richard Willing, USA TODAY, 1/24/05\

"The Myth of Innocence don’t believe everything you see on CourtTV",  Joshua Marquis, National Review, 1/27/05

Senate Report, Volume 2, 107th Congress, 2nd Session, Numbers 292-350, January 23- November 22, 2002,
a. DPIC List: False Claims of Innocents, p 65-69
1. Time Frame:  Relevance of DPIC List To Current Death Penalty Procedures, p 113-114
2. The Concept of "Actual Innocence", p 114-118
c. Cases on DPIC List: Actually Innocent or Falsely Exonerated, p 118-146.
" . . . the following 68 defendants should be stricken from the current DPIC List of 102 allegedly innocent defendants 'freed from Death Row'. " p 118


1)   The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy