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Old 04-14-2005, 09:29 PM  
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Should DNA testing....

Be performed on all persons convicted of murder and rape the past 25 years? To guarantee the state convicted the right person? Should the states be forced to test DNA of prisoners already executed to guarantee they got te right person and bring clousre to both the victims family and the accused family? While pondering these questions take the time to consider these cases

#1.

Roy Wayne Criner was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison for the rape of a 16-year-old girl who was found beaten and stabbed to death in a secluded area in Montgomery County, Texas, on September 27, 1986.

The victim, Deanna Ogg, died of blunt trauma to her head and stab wounds to her neck. Criner was charged with both rape and murder based entirely on statements he supposedly made to three acquaintances shortly after the body was found. These witnesses claimed that Criner had told them he “had to get rough with” a female hitchhiker with whom he had sex. The statements were vague and included no reference to a murder, and there was no other evidence linking Criner to the crime. As a result, the prosecution dismissed the murder charge before Criner finally was brought to trial four years after the crime before District Judge John C. Martin and a jury.

The evidence

At the trial, the three acquaintance witnesses testified, but on cross examination their accounts were shown to be inconsistent with each other, with the known facts of the crime, and with their prior statements. The only other major prosecution witness was a state forensic serologist, Maurita Howarth, who testified that tests eliminated Criner as the source of loose hairs recovered from the crime scene and that tests on semen samples recovered from the victim were inconclusive. The defense presented seemingly credible alibi witnesses who placed Criner at work at the time of the crime. But the jury found him guilty.

DNA implicates “unindicted co-ejaculator”

In 1997, DNA testing established that Criner definitely was not the source of the semen recovered from the victim. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to grant a new trial. In an unpublished decision in 1998, the court accepted the prosecution argument that there could have been what defense lawyers sometimes jokingly call an “unindicted co-ejaculator.” That is, the semen could have come from someone with whom Ogg had consensual sex before Criner raped her — and Criner might have used a condom or failed to ejaculate. Thus, in the eyes of the highest court in Texas, the DNA was insufficient to warrant a new trial, given that there was, in the court’s words, “overwhelming direct evidence” of Criner’s guilt.


#2
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Hours after getting married, a death row
inmate whose cause was championed by the pope, Mother Teresa and
the Italian government was executed Wednesday for a 1985 rape and
murder he said he didn't commit.
Joseph Roger O'Dell III, 54, died by injection at 9:16 p.m.
after the Supreme Court rejected his last-minute appeal.

Earlier in the day, Gov. George Allen rejected a plea for
clemency, and a federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to order
newer, more sophisticated DNA tests of semen taken from the victim.
O'Dell's lawyers had argued that the tests could prove him innocent
in the slaying of Helen Schartner.

At O'Dell's trial, prosecutors showed that the wounds on Mrs.
Schartner's head matched the shape of a pellet gun owned by O'Dell.
Tire tracks from the crime scene matched O'Dell's car. Semen on the
victim's body matched O'Dell's blood and enzyme types. And hairs in
O'Dell's car matched those of the victim.

In an argument to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, O'Dell's
attorneys asked that the execution be stopped because of O'Dell's
claim that another man, David Mark Pruett, killed Mrs. Schartner.
But state Attorney General Richard Cullen said Pruett couldn't
have done it because his blood type was AB. O'Dell has type A
blood, and semen taken from the victim contained type A blood,
Cullen said.

#3

On March 12, 1981, a 26-year-old white female nurse was walking along a road near Houma, La., looking for help after her car broke down when she was accosted and raped by a black man. He grabbed her by the neck and dragged her from the road to the side of some buildings. He punched her in the face, bit her, and ordered her to take off her pants, stockings, and underwear. He raped her and repeatedly choked her and hit her head with a pipe. After the rape, she ran away and was picked up by a police officer, who took her to Terrebonne General Hospital and then went to look for the perpetrator.


At the time, Clyde Charles, a black 27-year-old shrimp fisherman, was leaving a bar in Houma, La., where he had been with his brother Marlo. The police officer spotted Clyde, whom he had seen hitchhiking just an hour before the rape and had ordered off the road. He picked up Clyde and brought him to the hospital where the victim identified him as her assailant.


Clyde was tried by an all-white jury of 10 women and two men. The prosecution's evidence included the victim's identification and her testimony that the rapist called himself "Clyde." A criminalist testified that two Caucasian hairs on Clyde's shirt were microscopically similar (but not conclusively identical) to hair from the victim's head. The police officer testified that Clyde had been wearing a dark jogging jacket with white stripes when he saw him outside the bar, corroborating the victim's description of her assailant's dark jogging suit with stripes. The officer also testified that Clyde had been wearing a red cap and blue jacket tied around his neck when he saw him hitchhiking. A red baseball hat and blue jean jacket were found near the scene of the rape.


On June 22, 1982, the jury found Clyde guilty of aggravated rape. He was sentenced to life in prison at Louisiana's state penitentiary at Angola.


Clyde appealed his case twice, in 1982 and 1987, and lost. Then in 1990, when he learned about DNA evidence, he and his sisters Lois Hill and Rochelle Abrams began writing letters requesting a test of the evidence in his case. For years, their requests were ignored, blocked, or denied by state and federal officials. Charles and his family kept writing, however, and eventually The Innocence Project took his case.

The state, under tremendous pressure from The Innocence Project and with media attention from FRONTLINE, finally granted Clyde post-conviction DNA testing in May 1999. The results of the test eliminated him as the perpetrator of the crime, and he was released on Dec. 17, 1999. Four months later, his brother Marlo was arrested after DNA tests implicated him in the rape of the nurse.

#4

After 18 years in Virginia prisons -- nine and a half of those years on death row -- Earl Washington Jr. is free at last.


Earl’s victory against one of the nation’s biggest death penalty states made national news because it marks still another example of how brutally the odds have been stacked against people facing the death penalty.


Earl’s story is shocking. He is a Black man with an IQ of 69 who was convicted of the 1982 rape and murder of a white woman. He didn’t know the first detail about the crime: the race of the victim, the location of the scene or whether witnesses were present. But the cops forced him to admit that he did it, and this "confession" was enough to send him to death row.


By 1994, Washington’s new attorneys had DNA evidence showing that he wasn’t guilty. But in Virginia, you have only 21 days after sentencing to present new evidence of innocence -- even if it can save your life.


The 21-day rule is a cruel joke. Its purpose is to make executions happen faster. Earl is alive today only because of years of work by anti-death penalty activists.


Days before his death date, Earl’s only option was to petition for clemency. It was clear that Earl was innocent but was going to be killed anyway -- and Gov. Douglas Wilder was forced to commute Earl’s sentence to life in prison.


Pressure from attorneys and activists forced the state to permit Earl more sophisticated DNA testing. Last year, once again, Earl showed that he was not guilty. Even though he won a full pardon, it took months for the state to release him.


Why wouldn’t they let him go? What happened to Earl Washington gives us a good look at a broken system that feeds on injustice and corruption. We need to keep fighting for a national moratorium and for an end to the racist death penalty.


>>>...>>>>

So the question becomes should this be a federal right or gurantee that DNA testing be done or required to convict someone of a crime that oculd take their life? Discuss I'm interested to hear some debate on DNA testing
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:33 PM   #2
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Even with the names you listed, the percentage is obscenely low.

No, the taxpayers should not be unnecessarily burdened. I wouldn't mind cases reviewed for the possibility and have the testing when the testing would be sufficient and the evidence overwhelming to decide to use the tests, but I would venture to state that 90% of the cases would be a waste of taxpayers dollars.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:34 PM   #3
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I don't think they taxpayers should foot the bill.

However, with that said, the state should not be allowed to stand in the way if the accused can raise the funds to do the DNA test themselves.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:38 PM   #4
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I think DNA testing should be done on all rape and murder cases, a rapist may get released and having his dna on file would help to solve a case much faster if he committed rape again once released.

I also think everyone who is now sitting on death row should have dna testing done, I read a couple of years back in a People magazine where at that date 79 people had been found innocent who had been on death row for years for a crime they did not committ.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
Even with the names you listed, the percentage is obscenely low.

No, the taxpayers should not be unnecessarily burdened. I wouldn't mind cases reviewed for the possibility and have the testing when the testing would be sufficient and the evidence overwhelming to decide to use the tests, but I would venture to state that 90% of the cases would be a waste of taxpayers dollars.
I don't feel it would be a waste of my tax dollars if it helped to free someone who is innocent.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCWolfman
Even with the names you listed, the percentage is obscenely low.

No, the taxpayers should not be unnecessarily burdened. I wouldn't mind cases reviewed for the possibility and have the testing when the testing would be sufficient and the evidence overwhelming to decide to use the tests, but I would venture to state that 90% of the cases would be a waste of taxpayers dollars.

you are actually incorrect the percentage is much higher

1979-2003 Clemency Grants based upon doubts about guilt
Learie Leo Alford
Jesse Rutledge
Doris Ann Foster
Ronald Monroe
Joseph Giarratano
Herbert Bassette
Anson Avery Maynard
Joseph Payne
Donald Paradis
Henry Lee Lucas
Phillip Dewitt Smith
Aaron Patterson
Madison Hobley
Leroy Orange
Stanley Howard
Jerome Campbell

this list does not include those exhonorated by the courts
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:45 PM   #7
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Yes.

It's okay to spend billions to liberate people in Iraq, but not okay to spend a fraction of that amount in an attempt to liberate wrongly incarcerated persons in the United States. That's F'd up.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badgirl
I don't feel it would be a waste of my tax dollars if it helped to free someone who is innocent.
I agree...I think that the TRUTH is the most important aspect of this and if the truth means you are guilty then so be it but if it means you are innocent it is the least the state can do is to spend $3500 after I spent 5,10,15,20 years in prison
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverChief
I agree...I think that the TRUTH is the most important aspect of this and if the truth means you are guilty then so be it but if it means you are innocent it is the least the state can do is to spend $3500 after I spent 5,10,15,20 years in prison
yep, taxpayer dollars are spent everyday on stupid stuff, to free an innocent man that the state paid tax dollars on a lawyer for and ends up giving years of his life which can never be replaced is the least we could do.
I've never heard, but has anyone that has been freed get any money at all, cause you know after being locked up for possible 10 years or more, it would be difficult to go out and get a job.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:49 PM   #10
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better to let 10 guilty men go than to convict one innocent
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:50 PM   #11
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...I've never heard, but has anyone that has been freed get any money at all, cause you know after being locked up for possible 10 years or more, it would be difficult to go out and get a job.
they get paid nicely
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvomito
better to let 10 guilty men go than to convict one innocent
its not alright to let 10 guilty men go, DNA would prove their guilt as well as their innocent.
Thats a redicilous statement.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:51 PM   #13
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Sometimes I wonder if prosecutors are actually more concerned with winning and jailing somebody - anybody they can - for whatever the crime is.

Seems like it's more about winning the case (that helps them further their career and earnings) than it is about putting guilty people behind bars.

DNA testing might prove someone innocent and thus prove a prosecutor wrong. The prosecutor may consider that to be a bad thing - for the prosecutor.

And maybe that's just my perception, but it just sort of seems that way to me.
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badgirl
its not alright to let 10 guilty men go, DNA would prove their guilt as well as their innocent.
Thats a redicilous statement.
in general, it is much worse to wrongfully convict one man than for 10 murderers to get off.

dna testing would help to right some wrongs and prevent things like that
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inspector
Sometimes I wonder if prosecutors are actually more concerned with winning and jailing somebody - anybody they can - for whatever the crime is.

Seems like it's more about winning the case (that helps them further their career and earnings) than it is about putting guilty people behind bars.

DNA testing might prove someone innocent and thus prove a prosecutor wrong. The prosecutor may consider that to be a bad thing - for the prosecutor.

And maybe that's just my perception, but it just sort of seems that way to me.
yes I agree, and my guess would be thats why its so hard for some of these people to get a new trial, the justice system doesn't want to admit they fugged up and took years from a persons life.
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