DNA Saves An Innocent Man. Aren't You Ashamed?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Psychoblues, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    It seems to be happening everyday now. DNA saves innocent people. How many other innocents must suffer for the over zealousness and misguided judgements of District Attorneys, Sheriffs, Deputy's and Policemen where DNA is not a factor? Think about it, children.

    By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer
    Thu Jan 3, 6:25 PM ET



    DALLAS - Three times during his nearly 27 years in prison, Charles Chatman went before a parole board and refused to admit he was a rapist. His steadfastness was vindicated Thursday, when a judge released him because of new DNA evidence showing he indeed wasn't. The release of Chatman, 47, added to Dallas County's nationally unmatched number of wrongfully convicted inmates.

    "Every time I'd go to parole, they'd want a description of the crime or my version of the crime," Chatman said. "I don't have a version of the crime. I never committed the crime. I never will admit to doing this crime that I know I didn't do."

    District Judge John Creuzot, whom defense lawyers credited with shepherding Chatman's case for exoneration through the legal system, recommended that Texas' Court of Criminal Appeals find Chatman not guilty. With several relatives dabbing at their eyes with tissues and cheering, Chatman was released.

    "I really can't tell you how I feel," said his aunt, Ethel Barley. "But I can tell you it is a different feeling than I have had in a long time, just to be holding his own hand."

    Before the crime is officially cleared from Chatman's record, the appeals court must accept the recommendation or the governor must grant a pardon. Either step is considered a formality after Creuzot's ruling.

    Chatman became the 15th inmate from Dallas County since 2001 to be freed by DNA testing. He served more time than any of the other inmates, four of whom were in court Thursday to show their support.

    Dallas has freed more inmates after DNA testing than any other county nationwide, said Natalie Roetzel of the Innocence Project of Texas. Texas leads the country in prisoners freed by DNA testing, releasing at least 30 wrongfully convicted inmates since 2001, according to the Innocence Project.

    One of the biggest reasons for the large number of exonerations is the crime lab used by Dallas County, which accounts for about half the state's DNA cases. Unlike many jurisdictions, the lab used by police and prosecutors retains biological evidence, meaning DNA testing is a viable option for decades-old crimes.

    District Attorney Craig Watkins also attributes the exonerations to a past culture of overly aggressive prosecutors seeking convictions at any cost. Watkins has started a program in which law students, supervised by the Innocence Project of Texas, are reviewing about 450 cases in which convicts have requested DNA testing to prove their innocence.

    "It is time we stop kidding ourselves in believing that what happened in Dallas is somehow unique," said Jeff Blackburn, the founder of the Innocence Project of Texas. "What happened in Dallas is common. This is Texas."

    The hearing attracted a standing-room-only crowd that included Watkins, who was greeted warmly by two wrongly convicted Dallas men who have since won their freedom. Also there was state Rep. Terri Hodge, a member of the criminal jurisprudence committee, who promised unspecified reforms when the Legislature convenes in 2009.

    Chatman was 20 when the victim, a young woman in her 20s, picked him from a lineup. Chatman said he lived five houses down from the victim for 13 years but never knew her.

    She identified him in court as the attacker, and serology tests showed that the type of blood found at the crime scene matched that of Chatman — along with 40 percent of other black males.

    Chatman said he was working at the time of the assault, an alibi supported by his sister, who was also his employer. Nevertheless, Chatman was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1981 and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

    Chatman said he believes his race led to his arrest and conviction. The jury, he said, had one black member.

    "I was convicted because a black man committed a crime against a white woman," Chatman said. "And I was available."

    Chatman said he wants to work with the Innocence Project of Texas to support other people exonerated or wrongly convicted.

    "I believe that there are hundreds, and I know of two or three personally that very well could be sitting in this seat if they had the support and they had the backing that I have," Chatman said. "My No. 1 interest is trying to help people who have been in the situation I am ,,,,,,,,,

    More: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080103/ap_on_re_us/dna_exoneration;_ylt=Ah715fu6T8qMnk4loEwp_WoDW7oF

    I know that life ain't fair, but is this justified in any way?
     
  2. 82Marine89
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    82Marine89 Member

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    Everyday now? DNA not only saves innocent people, it puts the guilty ones in jail. As for 'overzealous' prosecutors, we have juries that have to be convinced before the person is found guilty. Think Duke Lacrosse. Think about it.
     
  3. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    OK. I thought about it.


    You are easily convinced and would gladly send an innocent person to prison or to death. Are you trying to be funny on this subject?
     
  4. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    Yet another lefty lacking perspective. Very easy to be appalled and dismayed in hindsight isn't it?

    Given that there was no DNA technology available when he was convicted, what exactley do you propose should have been done almost thirty years ago? There is never going to be an error free justice system.

    You of course know the particulars of the case right? You know he was convicted by an overzealous prosecutor some thirty years ago, right?
     
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  5. maineman
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    maineman BANNED

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    what can be done in retrospect is to throw the woman in jail who incorrectly fingered him out of a photo lineup. that would be just.
     
  6. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    Oh come on MM. One, it isn't illegal to make an accidental incorrect identification. Two, courts don't throw people in jail based on that alone. Three, you don't even know if that's what happened. You know and I know our justice system is never going to get it right 100% of the time. Is it unfortunate this happened? Yes. I just want to know how anyone thinks, given the circumstances (which we know almost nothing about) some thirty years ago, we're suppossed to be expressing this ridiculous shock and indignation over this.
     
  7. maineman
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    maineman BANNED

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    1. how do you know it was accidental?

    2. I know that...I only suggested that would be a just resolution.

    3. he was picked out of a photo lineup by a woman who lived five doors down from him. that was the state's case. she sent him to jail for a quarter of a century. what does she do now? say..."my bad" and call it square?

    4. and it is for this very reason that I am certain that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. Given the experiences in Illinois just a few years ago where DNA exonerated a score of death row inmates, you have to be sucking on the koolaid pretty fucking hard to not accept the fact that the likelihood that we have, in this country, executed innocent men before. Being killed for a crime that one did not commit is the ultimate cruel and unusual punishment, wouldn't you agree?
     
  8. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    As long as YOU are not charged or convicted of anything, that's cool perspective, right?

    I thought so. You are so shallow, B'80.
     
  9. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Talk about spin.:rolleyes:

    I'm glad the man was exonerated. No, I don't feel ashamed. No one should.

    This isn't a case of rushing anyone to the gallows as you would have others believe. It required DNA evidence to prove this man innocent. DNA evidence was not available when he was originally convicted. He was convicted by a jury based on the evidence presented at the time.

    You are trying to condemn the legal process THEN based on information available NOW, but not available then. WAY uncool.
     
  10. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Could you point out specifically what he said that equates to your response?
     

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