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"Call my wife and tell her that I've decided to get arrested"
February 5, 2004 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Four California activists were arrested Tuesday while protesting the case of Kevin Cooper, set to be executed in less than a week. Gov. Schwarzenegger denied a clemency hearing for Cooper (the first time such a hearing was denied since California re-instituted the death penalty in 1978), despite ample evidence shedding doubt not only on the fairness of Cooper's trial, but also his alleged guilt. Kevin Cooper is asking people to protest for his life.
posted by sudama (71 comments total)

 
Well in Arnold's movies, life is to cheap, what's another single life mean when you've spread mayhem and done an untold amount of killing on screen?
posted by Danf at 8:05 AM on February 5, 2004


Since the FPP only presented the one side to this case, I can only presume that this death penalty has survived all the appeals intact. Off him.
posted by mischief at 8:24 AM on February 5, 2004


mischief, I'm in favor of the death penalty myself, but for the guilty. I also realize that courts are imperfect which is why we have appeals and clemency hearings. And to be quite frank a few of the details I read about the living eyewitness make me have doubts about this guys guilt. Although, you are correct that the post is one-sided. I wouldn't mind hearing the opposition's retort.
posted by jonmc at 8:27 AM on February 5, 2004


I see a fairly obvious spin-job in those links, and eyewitnesses are rarely credible, victims particularly. Present us with the forensic evidence, sudama, so we can make an informed decision.
posted by mischief at 8:33 AM on February 5, 2004


The way you said "Off him?" Ultra cool. F'n A, man.
posted by tittergrrl at 8:34 AM on February 5, 2004


I'm in favor of the death penalty

I also realize that courts are imperfect

- Sorry to pick up on you jonmc, but those statements succinctly sum up why I cannot support the death penalty.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:34 AM on February 5, 2004


- Sorry to pick up on you jonmc, but those statements succinctly sum up why I cannot support the death penalty.

It can be worked on. But in cases where there's plenty of incontrovertible forensic evidence and the crimes are so heinous are heinous enough, I don't have a problem with capital punishment. I realize that it's vengeance, but I don't neccessarily have a problem with that.

But, this is about this particular case. And if this guy is innocent, which he might be, then that means some guilty fuck got away with this (inarguably heinous) crime, making it a double injustice.

And don't worry about picking on me, I'm a big boy.
posted by jonmc at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2004


...eyewitnesses are rarely credible, victims particularly.

!!!

ok....

...really there's no point in asking anyone who actually so it happen. I mean if I saw a black guy off my entire family I'd probably think it was three white guys too... you know, cause I'd be so confused and traumatized I'd get triple vision and probably some kind of 'photo negative vision' as well.
posted by dinsdale at 8:51 AM on February 5, 2004


It always amazes me that everyone on death row is falsely convicted despite a unanimous jury, multiple sustained appeals.....

They are all innocent. How do I know? All of them anti-death penalty groups told me! Somehow they always know the true innocence of these Death Row inmates.



AgendaFilter.
posted by Seth at 8:57 AM on February 5, 2004


A quadruple murder by a single person with three different weapons (hatchet, knife and icepick) is both unlikely and unprecedented. One of the victims was an ex-Marine, and there were guns in the house.

There was a clump of blond hair in the hands of one of the victims that didn't come from any of the other victims, nor did it come from Cooper.

A woman gave a pair of bloody coveralls to the police and said her boyfriend was involved in the murders. The police threw the coveralls in a dumpster. She bought her boyfriend a beige t-shirt that matches one found at the crime scene. The boyfriend also owned a hatchet that was missing from his tool belt after the murders. A friend of the woman confessed to his cellmate that he was involved in the murders with two other white men, all of whom have criminal records; one was convicted of a prior grisly murder. Jurors never heard evidence of the jailhouse confession or the woman’s statements.

Patrons of a nearby rural bar reported seeing three unfamiliar white men at the bar the night of the murders. The bartender testified that one of three men was wearing a beige t-shirt. Eyewitnesses saw three or four people speeding away from the crime scene in the family’s car, shortly after the murders were committed.

A recent DNA test that implicates Cooper is under challenge. A criminalist from the County Sheriff's Department, who previously admitted changing test results so they matched Cooper’s blood type, checked out the blood evidence overnight in 1999 with an actual sample of Cooper’s blood.

The trial judge stated several times on the record that the evidence was badly mishandled by the police. Statements to the governor from at least six jurors, including an alternate and the foreman, expressed doubts over the verdict because of police misconduct.
posted by xowie at 9:00 AM on February 5, 2004


Present us with the forensic evidence

Isn't that the point the defense is making - that the police had documented forensic evidence in hand (Clumps of long, blonde hair were photographed in the hands of one of the victims, bloody overalls were submitted to the police but were never tested, etc.) that would exonerate Mr Cooper, but that (for whatever reason - stubbornness, incompetence - who knows why) not all the evidence was presented at trial?
posted by anastasiav at 9:01 AM on February 5, 2004


Anecdote: I was held up when I was night manager at a hotel. My description of the three blacks was so far from their actual appearance, the DA did not call me as a witness. Fingerprints and confessions from two were adequate to put them away.

That DA is the source of 'eyewitnesses lack credibility' statement. He told me further that the problem is heightened in crimes involving both blacks and whites regardless of which is the victim.

I was 25, and I can easily imagine how an 8 y.o. could distort his memories of such an experience as far as in this example.
posted by mischief at 9:02 AM on February 5, 2004


how many executed prisoners have later been found, on the basis of forensic evidence or others' testimony, to be innocent?
posted by luriete at 9:04 AM on February 5, 2004


Seth, I don't deny that someone's opinion on the death penalty could possibly bias their opinions on a case, but to imply that anyone's saying "they're all innocent" is a bit much.

Seen any "Richard Allen Davis is innocent!" campaigns lately? They may not wanna inject the bastard, but nobody sane thinks much of these people.
posted by jonmc at 9:05 AM on February 5, 2004


It always amazes me that everyone on death row is falsely convicted despite a unanimous jury, multiple sustained appeals.....

They are all innocent. How do I know? All of them anti-death penalty groups told me! Somehow they always know the true innocence of these Death Row inmates.

Jesus, what an incredibly stupid thing to say. Hundreds of people a year are executed in this country... show me the person who actually says everyone, or even most people, on death row are falsely convicted.

People on death row have been later found to be innocent... so clearly that means everyone on death row is innocent! Of course, it all makes sense, except for that whole "no one said that at all, you moron" thing.

But please, don't let such a completely irrelevant and obnoxious swipe at death penalty reformists get in the way of your accusations of someone else having an agenda. We know how hard it is to fight the good fight against things that no one except you actually brought up.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:15 AM on February 5, 2004


It always amazes me that everyone on death row is falsely convicted despite a unanimous jury, multiple sustained

What should amaze you is that the Innocence Project has resulted in 141 wrongly-convicted people exonerated by DNA evidence so far.

But it'll probably never happen to you, so you're probably safe being a sarcastic jerk instead.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:19 AM on February 5, 2004


Present us with the forensic evidence, sudama, so we can make an informed decision.

Fortunately, you're not in a position of authority on this case, so you can continue being uninformed and it won't hurt anybody.
posted by Hildago at 9:21 AM on February 5, 2004


The justice system doesn't work well enough to put people's lives on the line.

Or does anyone think it does?
posted by Blue Stone at 9:21 AM on February 5, 2004


I can't believe the extent people will go to suspend disbelief.

An anti-death penalty site designed for the sole purpose of trying to convince the public someone is innocent at all costs posts some arguments, and people just eat it up and completely accept it.

No, don't accept the finding of the trial court, the appellate courts and the entire legal system.
Instead, accept the unsubstantiated allegations of this website.

Found a handful of blond hair? How convienent. And this evidence wasn't submitted at trial? No, because they were racists and wanted to convict an innocent black man.

Did it ever occur to you that this "fact" was completely fabricated?

Occam's Razor.
What is more likely: that most of this evidence which clearly proves his innocence was fabricated or taken out of contexts? Or that everything they say is true, and the entire legal justice system in California decided to just randomly pick some black guy to execute because they don't like black guys, despite the fact there was overwhelming evidence that there was a blonde guy who did this?
posted by Seth at 9:32 AM on February 5, 2004


The entire capital punishment system in California is seriously flawed and unjust.

After 17 death row inmates were determined to be innocent in Illinois, a blue-ribbon panel listed protections which a death penalty state must have to be fair. California's system only meets 6.17% of the Illinois recommendations.

In the particular case of Kevin Cooper, yes, there was undeniable racial hysteria in the community and at the trial. A toy gorilla was hung in effigy on the courthouse steps by protesters who carried racist signs.
posted by xowie at 10:05 AM on February 5, 2004


dinsdale, it's a fact that eyewitnesses are not very credible, especially victims.
posted by agregoli at 10:08 AM on February 5, 2004


Thanks for setting us straight Seth. You're right. It's more likely that he's guilty so lets kill him and not worry about sorting out the facts of the matter.
posted by euphorb at 10:12 AM on February 5, 2004


The justice system doesn't work well enough to put people's lives on the line.

Or does anyone think it does?


Sure, lots of people do. And for some mysterious reason, they're often the same people who don't think the government is competent enough to run the post office or a health care system.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:15 AM on February 5, 2004


it's a fact that eyewitnesses are not very credible, especially victims.

Be sure to make this point the next time a cop sees you running a red light. You may have to repeat it several times before your unassailable logic is properly understood. Be sure to emphasize the word "fact" with a knowing glance and possibly some sort of hand gesture.
posted by dinsdale at 10:23 AM on February 5, 2004


It's more likely that he's guilty so lets kill him and not worry about sorting out the facts of the matter.

Well, he was found guilty and the facts were already sorted out.
posted by Seth at 10:30 AM on February 5, 2004


Based on the Illinois experience, 8% of those found guilty of capital crimes where the facts 'were sorted out' were in fact innocent.

A similar rate can be inferred to apply in California. This case, in particular, smells bad. That's why everyone is making a fuss over it.
posted by xowie at 10:35 AM on February 5, 2004


the entire legal justice system in California decided to just randomly pick some black guy ... because they don't like black guys

Exactly this happens all too often, and it's not limited to California. Horrific crimes place a great deal of pressure on law enforcement to provide the public with a perpetrator and the next step needs to be a conviction.
posted by sudama at 10:48 AM on February 5, 2004


'the entire legal justice system in California decided to just randomly pick some black guy ... because they don't like black guys'

Exactly this happens all too often



Amazing.
You really don't have a clue about how the criminal justice system works.

You are so utterly brainwashed to believe in these racist conspiracy theories, that you impugn evil intentions to people who have dedicated their life to the pursuit of justice.

These judges and prosecutors have given up highly lucrative careers in private practice to serve the public. Anyone who has ACTUAL frigging knowledge of how things work knows how hard these people work to do justice.

But no. You don't care. You'd rather believe some cracked out conspiracy theory because then it might advance your agenda.

Congrats. Hope your tin-foil hat fits well.
posted by Seth at 10:55 AM on February 5, 2004


"There was a clump of blond hair ...
...a pair of bloody coveralls ...
...hatchet that was missing...
...never heard evidence..."

Your facts intrigue me; it sounds like there were problems with this case.

"Off him"

Oh wait, that sounds much cooler. Maybe the governator could do it himself with a machete or something on Pay per view.
posted by 2sheets at 11:02 AM on February 5, 2004


You are so utterly brainwashed to believe in these racist conspiracy theories, that you impugn evil intentions to people who have dedicated their life to the pursuit of justice.

Wank wank wank. How long have you been living in Mayberry, Seth?

When 46 people were arrested for drug offenses in the sleepy Texas town of Tulia, the local lawman was hailed as a hero. But there was a problem – almost all of the defendants were black, and there wasn't a shred of evidence. Andrew Gumbel reports on an extraordinary story of racism and police corruption.

posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:06 AM on February 5, 2004


You are so utterly brainwashed to believe in these racist conspiracy theories, that you impugn evil intentions to people who have dedicated their life to the pursuit of justice.

...You'd rather believe some cracked out conspiracy theory because then it might advance your agenda.

Congrats. Hope your tin-foil hat fits well.


This is good, but can you give me something a little tighter I can put on my user page?
posted by sudama at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2004


Let's assume that forensic evidence in some trial was tampered or mishandled, as this related Amnesty International article suggests. That would make forensic evidence irrilevant in court.

Now let's assume that forensic evidence wasn't tampered or mishandled ; forensic evidence would be relevant, but it still is a relatively young branch of criminal investigation that is updated with new findings and new methodologies.

For instance before the discovery of DNA and the discovery of techniques used to extract sample of DNA from evidence not much could be done with blood samples except maybe revealing the blood type.

Unfortunately it seems that while science is given any amount of time to discover its own errors or errors by others, the "criminal" is given only a limited amount of time and limited amount of trials before he's "legally" killed. Why is it so ?

It seems to me that there's a double standard being used ; while forensic analysis may also in theory dispel any accusation, it seems that it is being used as good tool to dispel or confirm accusation ONLY before the the inmate is found guilty or innocent, but not AFTER the inmate is found guilty. Which is nonsense.

Now even if you believe that there is some Superior Entity (God,Buddha,whatever) that can ressurect the dead, that still doesn't make you capable of resurrecting the dead.

So I guess that death penalty supports either believe they're God and they can repair any court error , omission or wrongdoing or they don't care at all about themselves, as they may be found guilty while being innocent and face death penalty as well as others do.

They don't seem to consider the death penalty as something that will ever possibly involve them as the victim of a system ; therefore as they seem to illogically exclude themselves or other innocent people out of the system without proving that the system will certainly exclude them or innocent people, it seems to me that their support of death penalty is very unlikely to be founded on rational thinking, which forbids excluding variables only because one "believes" the variable is not part of the system
or because one has a lot of "faith" in the system.

As the death penality system offers no reparation to the killed innocents it is certainly not a complete system and is therefore to be discarded in favor of systems that offer reparation to innocents , which logically excludes any system that kills people.
posted by elpapacito at 11:38 AM on February 5, 2004


How it really works: over the last 14 months, five federal judges have ruled that Thomas Lee Goldstein, a 54-year-old former Marine imprisoned 24 years in California for murder, was wrongly convicted based largely on the testimony of a known liar and perjurer. Yet, because of the inability of 'people who have dedicated their life to the pursuit of justice' to admit their own mistakes, he remains in custody.

In Illinois, Lt. Jon Burge routinely tortured defendants for years in order to extract "confessions" for capital murder cases. His methods included suffocation with typewriter covers, use of cattle prods, electric shocks, beatings and games of 'Russian roulette.'

Oklahoma forensic scientist Joyce Gilchrist is known to have made errors and falsified results in numerous death penalty cases.

Who is utterly brainwashed here?
posted by xowie at 11:40 AM on February 5, 2004


They don't seem to consider the death penalty as something that will ever possibly involve them as the victim of a system

Note that this is not a wholly irrational thing for a white person to believe.
posted by sudama at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2004


it's a fact that eyewitnesses are not very credible, especially victims.

Be sure to make this point the next time a cop sees you running a red light.


That's a very weak point. A cop would see me do it, and then follow me. That's quite different from the way most crimes go down.
posted by agregoli at 12:11 PM on February 5, 2004


sudama: maybe or maybe not, but it seems to me you're just using an ad hominem attack without explaining why should a white (snowman?) person believe that.
posted by elpapacito at 12:20 PM on February 5, 2004


I did not attack anyone.

Rich people, too. I'm just saying, you can see why a white person would not think to put themselves in the place of someone on death row, because justice is most definitely not color-blind.
posted by sudama at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2004


"You are so utterly brainwashed to believe in these racist conspiracy theories, that you impugn evil intentions to people who have dedicated their life to the pursuit of justice."

There are many reasons why people seek out positions of authority and power, and it is naive to think that all of them are altruistic.


From href=http://www.savekevincooper.org/unanswered.html

" The Sheriff's deputy who found the lone drop of blood at the crime scene-as well as a bloody shoeprint that somehow was not discovered until it landed in the crime lab-recently admitted he was using narcotics at the time of the trial. He was fired from the San Bernardino Sheriff's department for stealing five pounds of heroin-which he both used and sold to drug dealers-from the evidence locker. The blood drop and the shoeprint were the only two pieces of evidence that linked Kevin to the crime in the original trial.


posted by Manjusri at 12:24 PM on February 5, 2004


They don't seem to consider the death penalty as something that will ever possibly involve them as the victim of a system

Note that this is not a wholly irrational thing for a white person to believe.


It's not like there's a shortage of white guys on death row. Are only the black guys victims of the system?
posted by jonmc at 12:28 PM on February 5, 2004


There is an abundance of humans on death row, but if you look at the numbers, which I'll leave to the folks who have done the research, there is also a surplus of black guys. This is not a point of debate but a simple fact.
posted by sudama at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2004


I don't debate that sudama, but so far the only arguments you've offered about the death penalty have been race-based. Just making a point.
posted by jonmc at 12:34 PM on February 5, 2004


There is a shortage of racial equity on death row in most states. Amnesty report: Death by discrimination - the continuing role of race in capital cases.
posted by xowie at 12:40 PM on February 5, 2004


"These judges and prosecutors have given up highly lucrative careers in private practice to serve the public. "

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, prosecute.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:58 PM on February 5, 2004


Take it easy Kevin. Bon Voyage
posted by a3matrix at 1:05 PM on February 5, 2004


You really don't have a clue about how the criminal justice system works.

Do you? Where does your clue come from? From your statement that after a conviction all of the facts "have been sorted out," it seems as if you lack a basic understanding of the concept of appellate courts. In fact, if you deny that racism--both institutional and personal--does not play a role in the criminal justice system it is yourself who knows nothing. Policing is different in black neighborhoods, and for whatever reason the numbers indicate that juries seem more likely to wrongly convict black defendants. Throw in mandatory minimums slanted heavilly toward crimes more common among minorities and away from crimes common among whites (not that the laws in question were drafted with that in mind), and one would have to be blind not to notice a heavy scent of racism lingering in the courthouse air.

And before you slam me as homoleftist who knows nothing about law and order, know that I'm a law student, I recently left a job as a probation officer, and I grew up hanging around in federal appellate court where my grandfather was a (proudly Reagan-appointed) justice. I'm no expert, but I'd wager that I've infintely more of a clue than you.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:06 PM on February 5, 2004


one would have to be blind not to notice a heavy scent

You don't have to listen to me anymore.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:07 PM on February 5, 2004


via zagg: "Nationally, 8 whites have been executed for killing blacks since the resumption of the death penalty more than 2 decades ago. Conversely, 124 blacks have been put to death for killing whites, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. U.S. Justice Department statistics show that in interracial cases, blacks kill whites 2.5 times as often as whites kill blacks, a difference dwarfed by the 15:1 ratio above... If you are white, basically you can kill a black man or woman and feel almost 100 percent secure that you're not going to get the death penalty for it."
posted by xowie at 1:13 PM on February 5, 2004


one would have to be blind not to notice a heavy scent
I do believe the vision-impaired smell as well as most anyone else.
crimes more common among minorities
So! You do admit that some minorities are more likely to commit some types of crimes.
Say, isn't that profiling? ;-P
posted by mischief at 1:18 PM on February 5, 2004


Ignatius J. Reilly,
In case you are wondering, I clerked for a District Judge one summer in law school, clerked for the DA my second year, and have been a litigator for some time. Perhaps you might inquire before you go shitting on someone's credentials.

I know judges very well.

No judge in the world excludes probative evidence of this sort if it actually existed.

I'll guarentee you two things:
1. Either this so-called evidence is entirely made up by these people who wish to have this man set free; or
2. The judge looked at such evidence, and found that it was obviously irrelevant to the case (for instance, maybe the blond hair was from the little girls doll that she was clutching on to when she got her neck slit).

And I'll guarentee you one more thing: there is NO WAY that such evidence existed, was ruled inadmissable by a racist judge, was affirmed by several racists appellate court, and denied writ of cert by the racist Supremes.



I know this may be an entirely shocking thing to say, but perhaps the reason for more minorities being in prison is because minorities tend to be disproportionately poor and poor people disproportionately commit crime. A simple syllogism will give you the conclusion.

There is your red-meat. But before you go too bonkers, consider this: the reason for their being a disproportionate high number of minorites in jail is NOT a problem arising from our criminal justice system. It is a problem of our social welfare system. The years of institutional discrimination created a social situation in which a black person is significantly more likely to be a criminal than a white person---not because they are implicitiy different, but because the black person is significantly more likely to be poor.


All of you people think the problem is with the criminal justice system. It's not. The criminal justice system does a good job fighting crime. The problem is the cause of crime, which is a whole different ball of wax.
posted by Seth at 1:21 PM on February 5, 2004


Here xowie,
Perhaps linking to an "activist member of the International Socialist Organization" is not all that compelling, so I have a link for you from the nonpartisan National Center for Policy Analysis.

Myth Of Racism In Death Penalty


There's a source which shows that your and suduma's racists argument is garbage.
posted by Seth at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2004


Perhaps you might inquire before you go shitting on someone's credentials.

That was sort of my point, Seth.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:28 PM on February 5, 2004


And I'll guarentee you one more thing: there is NO WAY that such evidence existed, was ruled inadmissable by a racist judge, was affirmed by several racists appellate court, and denied writ of cert by the racist Supremes.

Of course not, institutional racism is way different than direct racism. In fact...

I know this may be an entirely shocking thing to say, but perhaps the reason for more minorities being in prison is because minorities tend to be disproportionately poor and poor people disproportionately commit crime. A simple syllogism will give you the conclusion.

...is even part of the package.

I agree with the sentiment that the criminal justice is not fundamentally broken. In my view the problem is more often the laws that they are asked to enforce, rather than the institutions themselves. That being said, it is certainly not perfect, and one area in which it is very imperfect is its disproportionate treatment of and impact on minority communities. It is not solely a problem within the system, but come on: a million different factors effect prosecutors, not the least of which are public and political pressures. The media tends to flip out when little white girls get killed, but not so much when little black girls do. Is this the prosecutors' fault? No. Is it their problem? Unfortunately, yes.

If numerical and anecdotal evidence suggests there is a problem, how can you dismiss it out of hand?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2004


Your credentials aren't terribly impressive, Seth, a single summary of a USA Today article isn't either. So far, your arguments have been specious and solipsistic. Please respond directly to any of the citations or statistics raised above, or we'll all have to assume you really are from Mayberry.
posted by xowie at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2004


An anti-death penalty site designed for the sole purpose of trying to convince the public someone is innocent at all costs posts some arguments, and people just eat it up and completely accept it.


I think it's fairly clear you lack a basic understanding of law, or you'd comprehend the simple fact that they're actually trying to prove a reasonable doubt of guilt. Nobody is ever found "innocent" in court; they're found "not guilty". Actually, it's not entirely clear you lack that understanding, but it's abundandly clear that you like to employ logical fallacies--either willingly or unwillingly--in close to every thread you participate in.

What is more likely: that most of this evidence which clearly proves his innocence was fabricated or taken out of contexts? Or that everything they say is true, and the entire legal justice system in California decided to just randomly pick some black guy to execute because they don't like black guys, despite the fact there was overwhelming evidence that there was a blonde guy who did this?


As a rule, "more likely" isn't how guilt is decided in these situations, as something called "reasonable doubt" usually comes into play. Just because all of these transgressions on the part of the law enforcement didn't come to light in the trial doesn't mean they're insignificant or don't deserve another look.

You are so utterly brainwashed to believe in these racist conspiracy theories, that you impugn evil intentions to people who have dedicated their life to the pursuit of justice.

These judges and prosecutors have given up highly lucrative careers in private practice to serve the public. Anyone who has ACTUAL frigging knowledge of how things work knows how hard these people work to do justice.

But no. You don't care. You'd rather believe some cracked out conspiracy theory because then it might advance your agenda.


You wear your irony well. The steadfast naivety you hold to as a way of advancing your own agenda is as damning as the make-believe conspiracy theories you keep attributing to everyone who disagrees with you.

Congrats. Hope your tin-foil hat fits well.

If you're going to be a prick, at least be clever or entertaining or mildly insightful (insight is better than incite).
posted by The God Complex at 1:36 PM on February 5, 2004


Please respond directly to any of the citations or statistics raised above

Hey, I actually linked to the National Center for Policy Analysis.

They have a statistical explanation of why your argument is bullshit.

How about YOU try to make an argument.

You're the schmuck who linked to an article from an activist socialist blogger for your argument.
posted by Seth at 1:45 PM on February 5, 2004


No, son. I reported statistics from the U.S. Justice Department and mentioned who told me about those statistics. Who cares if he's a Socialist?

Your link was to a summary of a USA Today article. It says so right at the bottom. Are you daft? A human life is at stake.
posted by xowie at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2004


TGC,

One word: "reasonable."

The courts analyzed all the facts. Found that the guy was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You can sit here and allege that Martians did it, but that isn't very reasonable.

Since this guy was convicted, the conviction survived on several appeals, it seems to me that you have the onus to prove why all of the findings are wrong with something more than baseless cries of racism.


As for the rest of your attack on me, thanks for sharing!
posted by Seth at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2004


No, son. I reported statistics from the U.S. Justice Department and mentioned who told me about those statistics. Who cares if he's a Socialist?

Your link was to a summary of a USA Today article. It says so right at the bottom. Are you daft? A human life is at stake.


No, son. I reported statistics from the U.S. Justice Department and mentioned who told me about those statistics. Who cares if he's [USA Today]?

Your link was to a summary of a [an activists rant]. It says so right at the [top]. Are you daft? A [murders] life is at stake.
posted by Seth at 1:51 PM on February 5, 2004


Good one! Haw!

Here's Lanny Davis, Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter and Kevin Cooper on today's Democracy Now.
posted by xowie at 1:55 PM on February 5, 2004


The courts analyzed all the facts. Found that the guy was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You can sit here and allege that Martians did it, but that isn't very reasonable.


And the cop using heroin who "found" all the evidence?

Or what about these points raised by xowie: A recent DNA test that implicates Cooper is under challenge. A criminalist from the County Sheriff's Department, who previously admitted changing test results so they matched Cooper’s blood type, checked out the blood evidence overnight in 1999 with an actual sample of Cooper’s blood.

The trial judge stated several times on the record that the evidence was badly mishandled by the police. Statements to the governor from at least six jurors, including an alternate and the foreman, expressed doubts over the verdict because of police misconduct.


Sounds like more than "baseless cries of racism" to me, really. This isn't about letting him go, either; this is about a clemency hearing.
posted by The God Complex at 1:59 PM on February 5, 2004


...from the nonpartisan National Center for Policy Analysis.

NCPA is a member of the State Policy Network, a network of national and local right-wing think tanks, and of www.townhall.com, a right-wing internet portal created by the Heritage Foundation.

non-partisan, my ass.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:14 PM on February 5, 2004


Take a breather, folks.
posted by trharlan at 2:22 PM on February 5, 2004


Anyone who defends the criminal justice system as flawless is, well, flawed. "Requiem for Frank Lee Smith" on Frontline was pretty powerful. It points up so many of the flaws in the system. Incompetant defence attorneys, politically motivated DA's, cops more interested in their arrest record than the truth. The thing about the death penalty is it is absolute. You need a system that finds the absolute truth. The system we have doesn't do that. Once you fix that, maybe then we can debate the death penalty as a punishment and deterrent.
posted by Eekacat at 3:08 PM on February 5, 2004


Anyway, the neat thing I found on the web is that if you're so inclined you can help save a life this week. A phone call might help, or show up at a protest and make it clear to the governor that he's made a bad decision which it's not too late to reverse.
posted by sudama at 3:34 PM on February 5, 2004


You forgot to add: "... and if you have an uncontrollable kneejerk response". ;-P
posted by mischief at 4:36 PM on February 5, 2004


sudama: Indeed I agree with your proposal, calling may or may not make a difference, but if one doesn't try we'll never know. And if in this occasion it will show that it is too late, it is still worth trying again and again, eventually by escalating protest if calls and email aren't enough.

Regarding our previous exchange, I agree with you that money can make a difference in the court system, given that money can still buy very highly skilled lawyers which usually (but not necessarily) can be afforded only by "rich" people ; that's why everybody afaik has the right to be assisted by a lawyer and the State is going to pay for the lawyer fees.

Of course, that doesn't mean that everybody has the right to have the best lawyers , the cream of the crop so to say.Which is one more reason, I believe, to call for a ban on death penality given that a sloppy lawyer can adversely influence a verdict by simple omission or by not being in his best conditions to work.

But personally I'd steer clear of the argument of "there are more blacks then white" or any other colors in death row. It may as well be a fact and not a simple allegation, but it is likely to attract attention of hatemongers who will say that there's no proof that the people in jail was jailed because of their skin color (that may as well be true, but you must prove it) and use this argument to further fuel racism (which I believe is still very much an actual issue and paradoxically a colorblind one, given you can have sexism as a form or racism as well).
posted by elpapacito at 4:59 PM on February 5, 2004


I've been reading this thread all day, and my impressions are simple. Seth, please pull that splintered stick out of your butt. Your crotchety rants are proving ... counter-productive.

I have no problem at all putting people to death rather than holding them in prison for life for crimes that show evidence that they are desease upon society. I also think that it is a worthwhile expediture of funds to make absolutely sure that they are guilty of such crimes. Ted Bundy, no problem. This case is.

I really wonder, why is it so important that we put people to death for crimes when there is any doubt? Are we saving money? Is this a moral that any here would wish to embrace? What is wrong with having a clemency hearing for someone, anyone? I just think that Arnold is being a poopyhead, but he's doing it with someone's life. Why not spare someone, for a little while at least, just because they ask for it? Where is the balance here? Is this really about money? Than just say so. Are we so vindictive that we must have blood to prove our rightious nature? Than it certainly can't be about money, and we shouldn't have any problem at all sparing a life that we should know that rightiousness has been served.

In this case, at least, patience is a virtue. Maybe those like Seth would rather have blood, but is it on your floor or your soul? Maybe Cooper did it, maybe he didn't. The question shouldn't be open, if we bare the resposibility for putting the human being to death. (And no, Seth, an initial jury of 12 is not enough to absolve the rest of us from the charge of murder if the man is innocent. How would God decide the case? Can you tell me? I didn't think so.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:04 PM on February 5, 2004


Seth brought up an interesting point. The guy was found guilty 'beyond a reasonable doubt.' Which is fine, as long as the state isn't planning to kill the convict. I'd just kinda sorta suggest that in a case in which the penalty is death, and there would be no going back, there be a far higher standard applied.

What the parameters of the standard would be, I wouldn't dare hazard a guess. Multiple layers of review of the jury's verdict (and reasoning for it) might be a start. The end unhappy result should be the coldest certainty that, yes, this IS the one who did it, and should pay with his life.
posted by attackthetaxi at 12:24 AM on February 6, 2004


I think there's a problem with people saying they have no problem with the state executing people.

Why, again, is it not a problem that the state execute people? Where is it in the best interests of the citizens? How does it further justice? Why should we protect free speech from voters, but not the lives of convicted criminals?

Democracy has limits: You aren't supposed to be able to vote to discriminate, but hey, you can vote to execute. What gives?
posted by ewkpates at 4:58 AM on February 6, 2004


taxi: The higher standard is the mandatory appeals process for death penalty cases.

ewk: By and far, humans are a bloodlusting, vengeful species.
posted by mischief at 6:49 AM on February 6, 2004


A human life is at stake.

I hear violins...

Exactly when did human life garner so much value?
posted by a3matrix at 9:39 AM on February 6, 2004


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