False Confessions: Part I

False confessions is one of the seven causes of wrongful convictions of innocent people. The others are mistaken eyewitness identifications, forensic fraud, police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel and jailhouse informants.

The Innocence Project, which was co-founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld in the late 80s at the Benjamin Cardozo Law School in New York City, has freed 301 wrongfully convicted people by proving their innocence with post-conviction DNA testing. They have discovered that false confessions alone or in combination with one or more of the other six causes are present in 25% of the wrongful convictions. They have identified the following reasons why innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit:

1. Duress

2. Coercion

3. Intoxication

4. Diminished Capacity

5. Mental Impairment

6. Ignorance of the Law

7. Fear of Violence

8. Infliction of Harm

9. Threat of a Harsh Sentence

10. Misunderstanding the situation

They explain:

•Some false confessions can be explained by the mental state of the confessor.

•Confessions obtained from juveniles are often unreliable – children can be easy to manipulate and are not always fully aware of their situation. Children and adults both are often convinced that that they can “go home” as soon as they admit guilt.

•People with mental disabilities have often falsely confessed because they are tempted to accommodate and agree with authority figures. Further, many law enforcement interrogators are not given any special training on questioning suspects with mental disabilities. An impaired mental state due to mental illness, drugs or alcohol may also elicit false admissions of guilt.

•Mentally capable adults also give false confessions due to a variety of factors like the length of interrogation, exhaustion or a belief that they can be released after confessing and prove their innocence later.

Regardless of the age, capacity or state of the confessor, what they often have in common is a decision – at some point during the interrogation process – that confessing will be more beneficial to them than continuing to maintain their innocence.

From threats to torture
Sometimes law enforcement use harsh interrogation tactics with uncooperative suspects. But some police officers, convinced of a suspect’s guilt, occasionally use tactics so persuasive that an innocent person feels compelled to confess. Some suspects have confessed to avoid physical harm or discomfort. Others are told they will be convicted with or without a confession, and that their sentence will be more lenient if they confess. Some are told a confession is the only way to avoid the death penalty.

They feature the case of Eddie Joe Floyd, who confessed and was convicted of killing a 16-year-old girl in 1984:

Innocence Project client Eddie Joe Lloyd served 17 years in Michigan prison for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release in 2002.

Lloyd was convicted of a brutal 1984 murder of a sixteen-year-old girl in Detroit, Michigan. While in a hospital receiving treatment for his mental illness, Lloyd wrote to police with suggestions on how to solve various murders, including the murder for which he was convicted. Police officers visited and interrogated him several times in the hospital. During the course of these interrogations, police officers allowed Lloyd to believe that, by confessing and getting arrested, he would help them “smoke out” the real perpetrator. They fed him details that he could not have known, including the location of the body, the type of jeans the victim was wearing, a description of earrings the victim wore, and other details from the crime scene. Lloyd signed a written confession and gave a tape recorded statement as well.

At trial, the prosecution played the confession to the jury and claimed that Lloyd had killed the victim in order to get away with the rape. The forensic evidence consisted a semen stain on longjohns used to strangle the victim and a bottle that was forced into the victim, and a piece of paper with a semen stain that was stuck to the bottle. The only testing presented at trial consisted of confirming the presence of semen and other biological matter.

Lloyd was represented during pre-trial by a court-appointed attorney who received $150 for pre-trial preparation and investigation. This attorney gave $50 of this to a convicted felon, who conducted no investigation into Lloyd’s mental state or confession.

This lawyer withdrew from the case eight days before trial, but another attorney was appointed and the trial was not postponed. The trial attorney did not meet with the pre-trial attorney. He did not question the details of the investigation and did not cross-examine the police officer most directly involved in the coerced confession. He called no defense witnesses and gave a five minute closing argument. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before convicting him of first degree felony murder in May 1985.

Lloyd’s attorney lamented in the press that his client would not permit an insanity defense, saying, “With a psychiatric plea, we might have had a chance. If he’s not goofy, there’s not a dog in Texas.” Lloyd insisted that, despite his mental illness, he was innocent.

At the time of sentencing, Judge Leonard Townsend complained that the court’s hands were tied since he could only sentence Lloyd to life imprisonment rather than what he believed was the “only justifiable sentence,” which was “termination by extreme con[striction]” (i.e. hanging). With regard to Michigan’s repeal of the death penalty, Townsend added, “And on account of this case, a lot of people who had reservations about capital punishment have been convinced that they should jump over the fence and sign petitions. The sentence the statute requires is inadequate. I cannot impose the sentence that the facts call for in this matter.”

When asked if he had anything to say, Lloyd answered, “Into each life tears must fall. That means on both sides. MJ [the victim] had a right to live, as we all do…she said goodbye…and disappeared in the darkness never to be seen again alive. One day later she was found in a vacant garage. Cold, alone, and lifeless…Eddie Lloyd was focused on as a suspect while he was a mental patient and somewhere along the line was he was charged and convicted of the crime, a heinous crime, brutal. What I want to say to the court is that, to the family, MJ, to the city of Detroit, to everybody who was involved with the case, I did not kill MJ. I never killed anybody in my life and I wouldn’t.”

An attorney appointed to file Lloyd’s direct appeal did not visit Lloyd in prison or raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Lloyd wrote to the court saying his appellate assistance was lacking, and the appellate attorney wrote that Lloyd should not be taken seriously because he was “guilty and should die.”

All of Lloyd’s appeals failed. Lloyd contacted the Innocence Project in 1995, seeking assistance in having the biological evidence subjected to DNA testing. For years, Project students searched for the evidence. Finally, a number of evidence items were found with assistance from the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

DNA testing conducted by Forensic Science Associates, and confirmed by the Michigan State Crime Lab, found the same unknown male profile from sperm cells on the broken glass bottle, the piece of paper, the stain on the longjohns, and samples collected from the victim’s body during the autopsy. Each of these profiles excluded Eddie Joe Lloyd.

He was exonerated and released on August 26, 2002, after serving 17 years in prison for a rape and murder he didn’t commit. Sadly, he passed away just two years later.

In tomorrow’s post, False Confessions II, I will discuss the Phoenix Temple Massacre.

70 Responses to False Confessions: Part I

  1. Prof. Back in Sept. of last year there was a news story about Terrance Williams that totally upset me. Not because of the heinous crime he committed but, he was days away from execution. His new lawyer discovered that the prosecuting attorney had withheld information on the case that most likely would have led the jury to consider life in prison instead of the death penalty. After reading about this case, I searched online for a petition that would grant him a stay. It seems that there were also others who felt as horrified by this young being railroaded, as I did.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/03/justice/pennsylvania-terrance-williams/index.html

    • It’s late……..others who felt as horrified by this young MAN being railroaded……
      btw….He was granted the stay of execution but, the current prosecutor is pushing to have it overturned.

    • cielo62 says:

      grey winter sky~ is life in prison really more “humane” than execution? Both seem rather barbaric when you consider the condition of many prisons today. I guess I don’t understand. Either he didn’t do the crime, and he should be freed. Or he DID do the crime and have to “pay” society back in some way. Was he “railroaded” into being guilty or did he get a death penalty instead of life in prison?

      ________________________________

      • Williams killed a man, who was a member of his church, who had sexually abused him since he was a boy. He admitted that he did do the crime but, the prosecutor convinced him to plead guilty to murder/robbery. The jury never heard that the victim had sexually abused Williams because the prosecutor purposely with held that information because they knew that it would most likely result in the jury feeling sympathetic tword the defendant. When the jury later found out, after sentencing him to death, they were very upset and many of them (including the victim’s wife) asked to have the sentence overturned to life w/o parole.

  2. Aunt Bea says:

    Is Jodi Arias a false confession?
    She certainly has some mental defect.

  3. Malisha says:

    This (Aurora movie theater massacre) is one of those cases where it is almost impossible to conceive of the shooter being sane, in the sense that we define “sanity.” I don’t know what “insanity” is if his act does not identify him as “insane” but on the other hand, the extreme deliberation he apparently engaged in does seem to show the ability to think about things and figure them out. A neuroscientist, huh? Weird as Hell, scary as Hell.

  4. Here’s a link to an article in The Atlantic about the preliminary hearing yesterday in the James Howell case. Andrew Cohen’s well-written article is titled Blood on the Tracks: The Aurora Theater Shooting Hearing.

    The probable cause hearing was requested by the defense, IMO, to begin laying the foundation for an insanity defense.

    The hearing will continue today and probably last most of the rest of the week.

  5. Cercando Luce says:

    So does Fogen then get to claim that he made a false confession under #3.(the night of), #4., #5.(in general), and #10.(such an attention hound that he thought the video “reenactment” made him a movie star)?

    • Malisha says:

      Fogen doesn’t get to claim he made any false confession under anything because he did not confess. He told a bunch of lies instead and insisted that he did not commit any crime and later, on Hannity, he insisted that he had NO REGRETS. That’s not a confession.

  6. FallenBehind says:

    Ive falsely confessed to something i didnt do…by taking a plea bargain and going with nolo contendere. It was simply too expensive to continue and the only witness had no problem lying. I also didnt believe my drfense attorney was willing to actually go about presenting the complexities of the case. I also felt that the jury instructions misapplied the law….and i could see that it boiled down to 12 people grasping complexities easily misapplied…

    But when I read Dan Simons report Usc law professor i took the plea.

    • Malisha says:

      FallenBehind, would you mind telling me a bit more about what you were charged with and what Dan Simon’s report said? I don’t want to violate your privacy but I’m interested in this case in general and, specifically, how forensic reports influence decision-making in criminal and civil law.

  7. Aunt Bea says:

    Prosecutors/LE rarely come off their belief in the suspects confession and thereby guilt. Even with contradictory DNA evidence. Kevin Fox near Chicago. He confessed and recanted as soon as he could communicate with his family. Accused of murdering his daughter. A Ms. Zellner got him off the charges, but I don’t think they have solved the crime.

    The Central Park Jogger case….they coined the term “wilding” during the coverage I think. I don’t recall how the truth came to light.

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      While they were in jail, the guy who had done it was talking about the crime he had committed, they put two and two together and realized that the crime he was talking about, was the one they had been convicted of. DNA confirmed it.

      I don’t remember that anything happened to the people who had worked the case, and obtained the false conviction/confession. But clearly their methodology left much to be desired.

  8. seallison says:

    There’s a lot of money with a lot of big law firms that have a tremendous amount at stake by getting the right language to convince the right jury that my client is either innocent or that the opposition is guilty.

    Frank Luntz

  9. seallison says:

    Good-looking individuals are treated better than homely ones in virtually every social situation, from dating to trial by jury.

    Martha Beck

  10. Lonnie Starr says:

    Frederick Leatherman says:
    January 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Don’t count on that Federal and state prosecutors have been covering their backs this way forever and Justice Scalia is not the only SCOTUS judge who believes that innocence is not a cognizable claim on appeal.
    ——————————————————
    ——————————————————

    Still, it’s worth a try, one never knows!

  11. Lonnie Starr says:

    Please don’t forget “The Central Park Five” Professor. There’s one for the books, these five young men confessed to a terrible crime, were sent to prison where they finally solved the crime by finding the real culprit themselves. The case spent weeks on the front pages of New York City and the nation.

  12. seallison says:

    Thank God for the Innocence Project and the discovery of DNA!

    • Dennis says:

      DNA is a great tool to catch the guilty parties, but it can also be used to convict innocent people. I was horrified watching the videos of the Perugia police collect evidence in the Amanda Knox case. I was even more horrified when I saw how unethical and unscientific the police lab’s DNA testing was done. Retired FBI agent Steve Moore talked about how bad some State crime labs are. He mentioned the Michigan State crime lab that Frederick was talking about in his post.

  13. seallison says:

    A Canadian example of a miscarriage of Justice:

    In jail for 49 years:

    1959 –

    Steven Truscott, 14 years old! was tried as an adult and convicted of the rape and murder of his 12 year old classmate. He was sentenced to death by hanging in 1959.

    His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he continued to maintain his innocence until 2007, when his conviction was declared a miscarriage of justice and he was formally acquitted of the crime.

    On July 7, 2008, the government of Ontario awarded him $6.5 million in compensation.

    • Dennis says:

      It is great that some people are released from prison finally and given compensation for their false imprisonment. Unfortunately, for the West Memphis Three they had to sign something that technically means they are guilty in order to be released from prison. They can’t sue for false imprisonment either since they had to admit their guilt to be released. The police, prosecutors, and judges are trying to save themselves because they know these people are innocent but they refuse to acknowledge their role in this horrible travesty of justice. Thank god for good hearted celebrities like Johnny Depp who helped raise awareness in that case.

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        I wouldn’t trust that such an agreement would stand the test of federal review. The waiver smacks of an agreement made under duress and is a threadbare contrivance, designed to deny the aggrieved due process of law. Since the entire nation has an interest in seeing to it that aggrieved parties have access to the courts for the redress of grievance, it does not appear that the waiver will stand.

        • Don’t count on that Federal and state prosecutors have been covering their backs this way forever and Justice Scalia is not the only SCOTUS judge who believes that innocence is not a cognizable claim on appeal.

  14. rayvenwolf says:

    As always another well written post Professor. And talk about timing I was just watching an episode of Wicked Attraction that covered the Phoenix Temple Massacre. What got me about the episode was that one of the real shooters, Garcia, had managed to commit two different crimes and both times others were arrested.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      That was a dreadful case – horribly shocking for the Buddhist community there.

      • rayvenwolf says:

        I grew up in vegas and I remember hearing it about at the time. The downside to a platform like WA is that it focuses on the relationship between the killers more than anything else so there was really only mention of the four original charged as needed.

  15. Jun says:

    I only seen this in movies, and sometimes people confess to protect the real criminal in a crime and the person is biting the bullet for the group

    • Dennis says:

      In movies and real life cases, police use brutal interrogation tactics to try and get you to confess. In Italy the police did not give Amanda Knox the right to council and she was denied a translator. When you ask for a lawyer, some police will advise you that that will only make matters worse for you. There was an Innocence Project case that involved a 14 year old that the police coerced him into admitting that he killed his sister. The only problem was, he didn’t kill her, it was a drifter that broke into the house. When police think they have found the guilty person, they will do everything to get that person to confess. They never stop to realize that their initial hunch might be wrong.

      • looneydoone says:

        I think that was the Stephanie Crowe murder (Escondido, CA) The “drifter” who killed her is Richard Tuite, and shockingly, he may soon be released from prison. He’s been homeless/drifting for years and has a long record of petty crimes. Escondido Police Dept only settled with the Crowe family last year. Stephanie’s blood was on Tuite’s sweatshirt, neighbors reported having seen him in the neighborhood (banging on doors ),yet EPD arrested her brother and his 2 friends for the murder ! Escondido’s another city with a racist PD, and the Crowe family is Native American

  16. Trina Cosbie says:

    This question stems from the last thread….Fogen told witnesses not to call 911 cause they were already on their way, but to help him restrain the guy, but didn’t he then tell someone to call 911 after “restraining” him while walking around with his hands on his head? I so hope the state asks him why he didn’t want 911 called while he was “restraining” him, but decided to have someone call them after he was done “restraining” him!!

    • Xena says:

      This question stems from the last thread….Fogen told witnesses not to call 911 cause they were already on their way, but to help him restrain the guy,

      I don’t think any witness confirmed that. It’s another GZ lie — sounds all cop-like. Let him own it, because he shows he was more concerned with violating the law (restraining a citizen against his will), than removing himself from the situation.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        No compassion, no thought of how wrong he was. Truly mindbending.

        • Xena says:

          @Two sides.

          No compassion, no thought of how wrong he was. Truly mindbending.

          No respect for the law, either. Thinking he is above the law, GZ did several things in violation of the law that prevents him from prevailing on a self-defense claim.

          1. After replying to Trayvon “I don’t have a problem man,” he did not remove himself but stood there and started looking for his cell phone. (Can’t chew gum and walk at the same time.)

          2. When a resident opened his door, GZ asked that he help him restrain Trayvon. Asking a private citizen for help in the middle of a beat-down, is asking him to assume that GZ was the good-guy, and based on that assumption, assault the bad guy.

          3. After shooting Trayvon, (but not knowing if he actually shot him,) GZ did not attempt to save himself by putting distance between him and the person he alleges tried to beat him to death. Instead, he jumped on Trayvon’s back, continuing the physical confrontation. (Had Trayvon not been fatally wounded, GZ could have anticipated being beaten some more, if his story was true.)

          • Lonnie Starr says:

            Also GZ had still not identified himself. He assumes that everyone should know that he has a right to follow strangers around. Even though that is not the case or the law.

            In order for GZ to be able to claim that he should not have been assaulted, he will need to show that he had identified himself, otherwise, what he was doing was illegal and therefore the assault was justified.

            People have a right to attempt to retreat and escape the attention and presence of strangers who follow them and if said stranger persists and confronts them, without explanation therefore, the followed person has a right to assume the worst and take defensive measures.

          • Xena says:

            @Lonnie.

            Also GZ had still not identified himself. He assumes that everyone should know that he has a right to follow strangers around. Even though that is not the case or the law.

            See, that’s the part I just don’t get about him. He wanted all that authority and when it came time to tell someone he was NW Captain, he withheld that information. That falls in with profiling because apparently, GZ felt he was entitled and all Black male teens were to submit to him.

          • Lonnie Starr says:

            Exactly, GZ is trying to push the story that, he never had a chance to identify himself, and that even if he did do so, it would not have made any difference, he still would have been subjected to a life threatening attack anyway.

            His story rings false because not only is his victim not a thug, but has no reason, training or ability to be a deadly attacker. His victim has committed no crime, and is only trying to run away, because he doesn’t know who GZ is, and has reason to suspect he is out to harm him.

            Meanwhile, GZ has no authority to act on any assumption he makes, no matter what they are! If he assumed that TM was Al Capone reincarnate, he had no right to act on that assumption at all, beyond calling the police.

            We now know that Trayvon was no criminal, but was instead a law abiding youth, doing nothing against the law. With no motive or ability to do combat with anyone. As such, he was the person who deserved every protection the police could provide. So, then, why are the police trying to cast an innocent victim as a potent and deadly criminal? Their duty is to investigate events that occur, that appear may be the result of a crime. The death of a person by gunshot, fits that profile, and they should have impartially investigated it. Instead they arrive on the scene with a predetermined mindset and view, and begin to push the version of events they have made up their mind to push.

            Clearly they all need to be investigated and imprisoned if found to have worked against the innocent party.

    • Dennis says:

      Well the term 911 is somewhat vague since you can call them if you are in trouble, need medical assistance, or there is a fire. Fogen knew that only police were coming to the scene. When Fogen tells the witness not to call 911, it is because he does not want them to save Martin’s life. Ambulances do not show up at a crime scene unless someone has been hurt, and the authorities were never notified that Martin had been shot. If I know that, then Fogen definitely knows that since he is a criminal justice major.

      I also think it is ridiculous that Fogen asked the witness to help restrain a person that is shot in the lung/heart and can barely even stay conscious let alone breathe air. Martin surely is not superhuman and I am willing to bet he was unable to fight back after being shot. The “restraining” part was just to add emphasis to Fogen’s story that Martin was dangerous and still out of control even after the gunshot.

  17. Xena says:

    Professor, check your email, please.

  18. Xena says:

    Very interesting and informative, professor. I get a giggle when watching “Cops” on television. They read Miranda rights then ask, “Is there anything you want to tell me?” and the suspects start running off at the mouth. They don’t want to go to jail and think they can talk their way out of it, not realizing that the cops have already decided to arrest them.

  19. Malisha says:

    Professor, what do you think of the current case of Pedro Hernandez, the man who made a confession (unsupported by any corroborative evidence) in 2012 to the 33-year-old murder of six-year-old Etan Patz, after a judge in New York already ruled that another man, Jose Ramos (a convicted pedophile who had been a friend of Petz’s baby-sitter and who admitted to having “been with” the victim on the DAY of the child’s disappearance), was civilly responsible for that crime? The story is reported here:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/pedro_hernandez/index.html

    Nobody seems impressed by the fact that Hernandez was certifiably mentally ill (previously diagnosed with schizophrenia), as well as being mentally challenged (with an I.Q. hovering around 70) at the time of his confession and that he apparently had no motive, and was never suspected of any pedophilic or other criminal behavior either before Patz was killed or in the 33 years SINCE then. It looks, in fact, like a real “prosecution of opportunity” for a prosecutor limping along without any real gold stars by his name in a time of “cold case” fun on national TV. Just sayin…

    Hernandez has been charged with murder and is being held on $75,000 and has no money. What do you think?

    • In the absence of any corroborating evidence, I’d say he is innocent.

    • Dennis says:

      It is not uncommon for people with a mental illness to claim responsibility for a crime they did not commit. I remember a long time ago when JonBenet Ramsey was murdered and some guy in Thailand or another country claimed he killed her. Turns out he just needed a free plane ride back to the USA.

      Speaking of JonBenet Ramsey, that case was never solved. I believe one of the parents killed her. There was evidence that she was being molested and there was no evidence of a break-in. The FBI even concluded that the mother wrote the ransom note.

      • Lonnie Starr says:

        Yes, it’s difficult in the extreme for police to collect evidence against billionaires. The whole investigative process falls apart the higher up the asset scale one climbs.

      • Malisha says:

        I believe JonBenet Ramsey was accidentally killed by a client (from out of town and probably from out of the country altogether) of the family’s kiddie prostitution business. The brother knows (probably not the legal name but the general identity of the man) who killed his sister (unless he has since forgotten in self-defense) but the police and social services agencies in Boulder decided together to pull a “Sanford” in the case so there would not be trouble with their sponsors, who included the richest pedophiles in Colorado and even in the whole area. I have discussed the case with cops from all over the East Coast because I used to be a presenter at the Public Health Service Clinical Conferences for the Mid-Atlantic Region. We all came to believe that my theory was pretty close to fact.

      • Malisha says:

        Remember, the evidence from the autopsy showed HEALED sexual injury six months before her death. Thus, the police could easily have arrested BOTH PARENTS immediately for child endangerment and/or neglect, with the result that the boy (her brother) would have been in foster care and available for interviews with social workers. They would have found out what had taken place. During the morning hours when there was response to the murder, the boy kept asking, “What happened to her? What happened to her?” in an excited voice. HE WAS SCARED! He would have spoken about the whole thing in a week or two in a protected environment. I’m sure NOW he never will. I don’t think the parents did it; they covered it up, with police assistance.

      • Malisha says:

        Remember, the evidence from the autopsy showed HEALED sexual injury six months before her death. Thus, the police could easily have arrested BOTH PARENTS immediately for child endangerment and/or neglect, with the result that the boy (her brother) would have been in foster care and available for interviews with social workers. They would have found out what had taken place. During the morning hours when there was response to the murder, the boy kept asking, “What happened to her? What happened to her?” in an excited voice. HE WAS SCARED! He would have spoken about the whole thing in a week or two in a protected environment. I’m sure NOW he never will. I don’t think the parents did it; they covered it up, with police assistance.

        Think of this: Writing a ransom note is a felony if you DID a kidnap or if you DID NOT do a kidnap. They could have arrested the mother for writing that ransom note, and put her on trial for that, and the rest of the information would probably have come out. They did essentially NOTHING to solve that crime.

  20. cielo62 says:

    >^..^< not confessing to anything!

  21. Cercando Luce says:

    Pity poor Eddie Lloyd, and the subsequent victims of the actual perpetrator.

    • Xena says:

      Yes! That’s the really bad part, Cercando, when the real perp is still free to continue violating law.

      • Dennis says:

        The only thing more horrifying than an innocent conviction is the fact that the real perpetrator is on the loose. In the Amanda Knox case, the family of the victim was terribly upset at the justice system for acquitting her. They should be more concerned with the fact that their daughter’s sole killer will be a free man in less than 15 years. Only in Italy can you murder someone in cold blood and only receive 15 years in prison.

  22. Two sides to a story says:

    The Innocence Project is well worth supporting. The number of DNA exonerations climbs every month.

  23. Patricia James-Cope says:

    Professor Leatherman. I know of a case that may interest you. I will provide as much information concerning it once I am in possession of the court transcript. Thanks

  24. Aunt Bea says:

    The Ryan Ferguson Case has been a more recent focus of mine.

    DNA…..the Professor’s specialty, has revealed too many.
    And at the heart of them all, shoddy investigations.

    The appeals process is no better.

    Barry and Company need to focus on OPEN RECORDS in all 50 states.
    Officer/investigator work products/reports, photos, witness statements–readily available from the time charges are filed.
    Lab reports—timely requests/results–to all parties.
    If things aren’t done properly, time is the enemy…..

    • Dennis says:

      I agree. I researched the Ferguson case extensively after seeing the episode on CBS 48 Hours. He is completely innocent. The DNA of the killer was left on the victim, yet it does not match the DNA of either of the two teenagers convicted. His co-defendant is a perfect example of false confessions. They have a signed affidavit from the one witness who claims he was pressured by corrupt prosecutor Crane to identify Ryan as one of the two people he saw near the body. They know who probably murdered the guy too, it was most likely one of his co-workers that was interviewed on CBS 48 Hours. The guy didn’t even know what color car he was driving that night, but the police refuse to get a court order to obtain his DNA.

      Any judge or prosecutor that helps to convict an innocent person should be charged with treason against the US Constitution & the law itself, and hung in public.

      • Dennis said,

        “Any judge or prosecutor that helps to convict an innocent person should be charged with treason against the US Constitution & the law itself, and hung in public.”

        A wee bit too bloodthirsty for me.

        Prison yes, but hanging is too much.

      • Malisha says:

        If the prosecutor, police, and/or public defender (or, God forbid, even private lawyer) deliberately get someone convicted who is then sentenced to death and executed, they should be tried for “premeditated procedural murder.”

        • All crimes are statutory. Before you could prosecute someone for that crime, the legislature would have to pass it and the governor would have to sign it into law.

          Then it could only apply to future violations.

          Using it to prosecute for past violations would violate the prohibition against ex post facto laws.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Doesn’t it seem like this lesson should be easy enough? If you don’t have the evidence, you can’t convict anyone. Duh. Understandable pre-DNA testing, but not anymore.

      • Dennis says:

        The Ryan Ferguson case proves that jurors are idiots and nobody would ever want their fate to be decided by a jury. They have the DNA of the killer but it does not match the two convicted. According to the testimony of the witness and the co-defendant, there were only two people sighted near the body of the victim. If the DNA does not match either of them, it is clear they didn’t do it. Unfortunately, the jury was too retarded to figure that one out. I don’t know how anyone could sleep at night knowing they sent two innocent people to prison for 40 years while the real killer is on the loose.

      • seallison says:

        I too have a problem with juries

        A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.

        Robert Frost

  25. Tzar says:

    The central park rape case comes to mind.

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