Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Wrong Man Executed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,851

    Wrong Man Executed

    http://news.yahoo.com/wrong-man-exec...051125159.html

    He was the spitting image of the killer, had the same first name and was near the scene of the crime at the fateful hour: Carlos DeLuna paid the ultimate price and was executed in place of someone else in Texas in 1989, a report out Tuesday found.

    Even "all the relatives of both Carloses mistook them," and DeLuna was sentenced to death and executed based only on eyewitness accounts despite a range of signs he was not a guilty man, said law professor James Liebman.

    Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is "emblematic" of legal system failure.

    DeLuna, 27, was put to death after "a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure," Liebman said.

    The report's authors found "numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did," the 780-page investigation found.


    Full story at link.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    42°8′2″N 73°34′6″W
    Posts
    23,423
    Carlos De Luna Execution: Texas Put To Death An Innocent Man, Columbia University Team Says
    ---
    Among the key findings in the Columbia team's report:

    • The eyewitness statements actually conflict with each other. What witnesses said about the appearance and location of the suspect suggest that they were describing more than one person.

    • Photos of a bloody footprint and blood spatter on the walls suggest the killer would have had blood on his shoes and pant legs, yet De Luna's clothes were clean.

    • Prosecutors and police ignored tips unearthed in the case files that Carlos Hernandez, an older friend of De Luna, who had a reputation for wielding a blade, had killed Lopez. The defense failed to track down Hernandez, who bore a striking resemblance to De Luna.
    ---
    Huffington Post article, with pictures of the Carloses

  3. The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to wfgodot For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    42°8′2″N 73°34′6″W
    Posts
    23,423
    The Guardian's excellent article on this case:

    The wrong Carlos: how Texas sent an innocent man to his death
    A few years ago, Antonin Scalia, one of the nine justices on the US supreme court, made a bold statement. There has not been, he said, "a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred … the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops."

    Scalia may have to eat his words. It is now clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit, and his name – Carlos DeLuna – is being shouted from the rooftops of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. The august journal has cleared its entire spring edition, doubling its normal size to 436 pages, to carry an extraordinary investigation by a Columbia law school professor and his students.

    The book sets out in precise and shocking detail how an innocent man was sent to his death on 8 December 1989, courtesy of the state of Texas. Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution, is based on six years of intensive detective work by Professor James Liebman and 12 students.
    ---
    much more, with pictures, at link above

    ("Tocayo," incidentally, means namesake or person with your same name.)

  5. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to wfgodot For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Palm Springs
    Posts
    18,572
    I'm glad we can finally put an end to the claim that no innocent person has ever been executed.


  7. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cajun Country, Louisiana
    Posts
    7,661
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I'm glad we can finally put an end to the claim that no innocent person has ever been executed.

    Me, too. And one is too many. Add him to the many, many who have been exonerated while on death row, and it is plain to see that we need to revamp the whole basis for death penalty cases.

  8. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to kgeaux For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,948
    Quote Originally Posted by kgeaux View Post
    Me, too. And one is too many. Add him to the many, many who have been exonerated while on death row, and it is plain to see that we need to revamp the whole basis for death penalty cases.
    I very much agree - this is my stumbling block with the death penalty. While there certainly are heinous criminals, the rate of error in executing innocent people is far, far too high. Not just in Texas (although Texas seems to be particularly egregious in these matters) but across the country. It's a systemic problem.
    “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” - Eleanor Roosevelt


    In no way should any of my statements be construed as legal opinion or advice. I am a newly practicing lawyer (yay!) but not a verified poster here at WS. The above statement(s) are an expression of my personal opinion, for entertainment purposes only, and copyright.

  10. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to AnaTeresa For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    754
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I'm glad we can finally put an end to the claim that no innocent person has ever been executed.
    That claim (as voiced by Scalia, and used in other forms by numerous others) has always been bogus in the first place, as it tries to place the burden of proof on the accused, and demands an impossible degree of surety in addition. There has been reasonable proof provided in a number of cases that an executed person should never have been convicted (in a number of them, IMO much more convincing evidence has been presented than in this case), which is IMO plenty good enough reason to take a very hard look at the way DP cases are handled, at the very least.

    IMO, these cases are even more important in terms of trying to change the way that courts handle witness testimony & LE interview techniques that lead to confessions/incriminating statements, as well as trying to change the public's (and thus Jury member's) perception of the above - it is a bitter irony that the two types of evidence most responsible for false convictions are deemed by jurists to be the most pivotal & solid. IMO, getting rid of the DP does little good if it still leaves too many innocents in prison due to the over-use of evidence of questionable reliability & value.

    All JMO
    The truth usually lurks beneath the surface - look deeper!





    On and on the rain will fall
    Like tears from a star like tears from a star
    On and on the rain will say
    How fragile we are how fragile we are

  12. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to SkewedView For This Useful Post:


  13. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Palm Springs
    Posts
    18,572
    It wasn't that I ever had any doubts, SkewedView. It was just one of those often impossible, "prove the negative" arguments that was repeated over and over in defense of capital punishment.

    I'm glad we can put it to rest and move on...

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Nova For This Useful Post:


  15. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    42°8′2″N 73°34′6″W
    Posts
    23,423
    Another "wrong man executed?" case - in Texas, where else:

    Trial By Fire
    Did Texas execute an innocent man?

    Lengthy New Yorker article well worth your while.

  16. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to wfgodot For This Useful Post:


  17. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9

    Further Points to Consider

    Justice Scalia overstated his case: We all know of one innocent man who was executed some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, and by duly constituted authorities acting within their legal purview.

    That being said, I think this present-day case should serve as a warning against sloppy prosecutions, not capital punishment. Yes, executing an innocent man is a horrible injustice and an outrage, but locking an innocent man in a cage for the rest of his life alongside those who have a thirst for evil is likewise a horrible injustice and an outrage.

    In all sincerity, consider: Many of you have concluded that capital punishment is wrong or evil, but lengthy imprisonment is enough to bend and warp even the strongest psyche and make a man wish for death--a horror show in its own right. Are we now to be rid of prisons, because one innocent man might be sent there?

  18. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Cajun Country, Louisiana
    Posts
    7,661
    Quote Originally Posted by Theophilus View Post
    Justice Scalia overstated his case: We all know of one innocent man who was executed some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, and by duly constituted authorities acting within their legal purview.

    That being said, I think this present-day case should serve as a warning against sloppy prosecutions, not capital punishment. Yes, executing an innocent man is a horrible injustice and an outrage, but locking an innocent man in a cage for the rest of his life alongside those who have a thirst for evil is likewise a horrible injustice and an outrage.

    In all sincerity, consider: Many of you have concluded that capital punishment is wrong or evil, but lengthy imprisonment is enough to bend and warp even the strongest psyche and make a man wish for death--a horror show in its own right. Are we now to be rid of prisons, because one innocent man might be sent there?
    Boy. How did you make that leap?

    Asking that the evidence bar be raised in death penalty cases doesn't mean we want to be "rid of prisons." I think most anti death penalty citizens would agree with getting rid of sloppy prosecutions, as well as illegal prosecutions (where exculpatory evidence is hidden from defense), AND limit death penalty cases to those whose evidence far surpasses eyewitness testimony.

    And as far as lengthy imprisonments go, maybe we should ask one of the exonerated and released innocent prisoners if they would have rather been executed than live to see the day their innocence was proved?

    By the way, the "one innocent man" in your last question is actually hundreds of innocent men.

  19. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to kgeaux For This Useful Post:


  20. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    42°8′2″N 73°34′6″W
    Posts
    23,423
    Quote Originally Posted by Theophilus View Post
    That being said, I think this present-day case should serve as a warning against sloppy prosecutions, not capital punishment. Yes, executing an innocent man is a horrible injustice and an outrage, but locking an innocent man in a cage for the rest of his life alongside those who have a thirst for evil is likewise a horrible injustice and an outrage.
    You seem to mistake death for life.

  21. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    9
    My very last remarks were meant as reductio ad absurdum, as a means to spur further discussion. It kinda sorta worked: I got two spirited responses.

  22. The Following User Says Thank You to Theophilus For This Useful Post:


  23. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Palm Springs
    Posts
    18,572
    Quote Originally Posted by Theophilus View Post
    Justice Scalia overstated his case: We all know of one innocent man who was executed some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, and by duly constituted authorities acting within their legal purview.

    That being said, I think this present-day case should serve as a warning against sloppy prosecutions, not capital punishment. Yes, executing an innocent man is a horrible injustice and an outrage, but locking an innocent man in a cage for the rest of his life alongside those who have a thirst for evil is likewise a horrible injustice and an outrage.

    In all sincerity, consider: Many of you have concluded that capital punishment is wrong or evil, but lengthy imprisonment is enough to bend and warp even the strongest psyche and make a man wish for death--a horror show in its own right. Are we now to be rid of prisons, because one innocent man might be sent there?
    I can't believe I'm defending Scalia, but I'm sure he meant "in the United States" and probably only since the death penalty was reinstated. I'm sure he knows of the countless innocents executed in Nazi death camps and Soviet gulags.

    Yes, wrongful conviction and imprisonment is terrible, but it is curable. Not so with wrongful execution. THAT is the difference.

  24. The Following User Says Thank You to Nova For This Useful Post:


  25. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    754
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I can't believe I'm defending Scalia, but I'm sure he meant "in the United States" and probably only since the death penalty was reinstated. I'm sure he knows of the countless innocents executed in Nazi death camps and Soviet gulags.

    Yes, wrongful conviction and imprisonment is terrible, but it is curable. Not so with wrongful execution. THAT is the difference.
    Usually I agree with you, Nova, but wrongful convictions that don't involve the death penalty have very little chance of ever seeing the light of day & being corrected - sure, the Innocence Project & others do look at non-DP cases, but not all that often, as they slip under the radar & just don't have that ticking clock kicking things into gear.

    IMO, without the motivation of the DP, outside forces just won't go to the extreme lengths necessary to push through the barriers that are built into the system. Don't even get me started on how useful (not) most public defenders offices are.

    *note - I have no beef with public defenders themselves, admire the heck out of many of them, but no matter how good they are, the State keeps them underfunded, understaffed & pressured to keep cases moving through the system quickly, like it's a line at Wal-Mart. They are so overwhelmed, it's no surprise to me when I hear about innocents being convicted or forced into a plea deal.*

    There's just too much resistance within the court system & public opinion to the concept that false convictions are anything but an aberration. Try to bring up the growing body of evidence (admittedly incomplete) that such convictions are more than likely a common occurrence...well, you've been in threads with me where the disbelief was expressed quite vocally, so you know what I'm talking about...

    I personally don't believe there should be a DP until the system has been overhauled & heavily tested to guarantee the right to a truly fair trial, but ironically, the only types of cases that seem able to draw attention to the glaring flaws in the system without being swept under the rug are DP cases (much like how the 'gay marriage' mess has served to draw much needed attention to LBGT rights in general).

    All JMO
    The truth usually lurks beneath the surface - look deeper!





    On and on the rain will fall
    Like tears from a star like tears from a star
    On and on the rain will say
    How fragile we are how fragile we are

  26. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to SkewedView For This Useful Post:


  27. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Palm Springs
    Posts
    18,572
    SkewedView, I agree with everything you write above and it is all confirmed by a close friend of mine who is a public defender who specializes in juvenile appeals. In addition to the problems you list, she also talks about the reluctance of appellate courts to overturn any verdict, but particularly jury verdicts, because doing so brings focus on the limitations of the entire system.

    But my point was merely that as long as we know the justice system is negatively affected by fallible human beings, we have no business exacting the ultimate, incurable punishment. This is only one reason why I oppose the death penalty, but it seems to be one that actually moves some people.

  28. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Nova For This Useful Post:


  29. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    754
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    SkewedView, I agree with everything you write above and it is all confirmed by a close friend of mine who is a public defender who specializes in juvenile appeals. In addition to the problems you list, she also talks about the reluctance of appellate courts to overturn any verdict, but particularly jury verdicts, because doing so brings focus on the limitations of the entire system.

    But my point was merely that as long as we know the justice system is negatively affected by fallible human beings, we have no business exacting the ultimate, incurable punishment. This is only one reason why I oppose the death penalty, but it seems to be one that actually moves some people.
    Yep, we're on the same page here - with the caveat that I'm just cynical enough that I look for ways that the existence of the DP can be used to help fix the larger, systemic issues, since it seems likely that only another Supreme Court banning will ever stop some states from executing prisoners.

    All JMO
    The truth usually lurks beneath the surface - look deeper!





    On and on the rain will fall
    Like tears from a star like tears from a star
    On and on the rain will say
    How fragile we are how fragile we are

  30. The Following User Says Thank You to SkewedView For This Useful Post:


Similar Threads

  1. Man Executed for Pair of Miss. Slayings
    By Beyond Belief in forum Crimes in the News
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-19-2006, 09:40 PM
  2. Texas Man Executed for Abduction-Slaying
    By Beyond Belief in forum Up to the Minute
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-18-2006, 10:47 AM
  3. Man Who Beat Toddler To Death Executed
    By ajc2804 in forum Crimes in the News
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-27-2006, 04:09 PM
  4. GA Man Executed
    By Jeana (DP) in forum Crimes in the News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-14-2005, 02:49 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •