Truth in Justice Newsletter - January, 2004

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Darryl Hunt
At Last -- Darryl Hunt has been Released!
Landmark Series (including updates) from the Winston-Salem, NC Journal

Murder, Race, Justice
The State of North Carolina v. Darryl Hunt

INNOCENCE AND THE DEATH PENALTY

WHEN DNA MEETS DEATH ROW

A May, 2003 Gallup poll showed that 73% of Americans believe at least one innocent person has been executed within the past five years -- yet 60% of those polled think the death penalty is applied fairly.  Small wonder, then, there is such resistance to DNA testing that would answer that question as to two already-executed men who proclaimed their innocence to the end.
Lethal Injection Chamber

TWEAKING THE DEATH MACHINE

When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Delma Banks -- a case distinguished by unchecked prosecutorial misconduct, manufactured evidence and suborned perjury -- even conservative justices made clear how appalled they were.

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY

Death sentences are continuing their descent in the United States, according to a Washington, D.C.-based group that shows numbers falling by more than 50 percent over the last five years. The national trend is reflected in California, where James Anderson, chair of the California District Attorneys' Association's committee on the death penalty, says he has witnessed "creeping doubt" among jurors. One reason for juror unease: DNA exonerations.



POLICE/PROSECUTOR MISCONDUCT

Oklahoma:  Why was Kenneth Trentadue, picked up for a parole violation in Oklahoma City, beaten to death in a cell at the Federal Transfer Center?  Why were the FBI and the Justice Department so insistent that his death was suicide?  Why has the federal government worked so hard to maintain a coverup?  Columnist Paul Craig Roberts examines this disturbing case.  The Trentadue Coverup

Wisconsin:  More than 18 months ago credible allegations were reported to the FBI that then-Winnebago County DA Joe Paulus had engaged in a pattern of misconduct in office that included, among other things, taking bribes to fix cases and tampering with official court records to conceal his own criminal activity.   U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic -- brother of Paulus' best friend and former Deputy DA Vince Biskupic -- has now announced his office is recusing itself and turning over the case to federal prosecutors in Washington, DC.  Did it really take 18 months for the US Attorney to figure out there is a conflict?  Why the Delay?
FALSE CHILD ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

FITNESS TO PRACTICE

UK:  The cot death expert at the centre of a series of high profile cases against women accused of killing their babies is to face a professional conduct committee.  Sir Roy Meadow invented "Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome", a theory that has punished grieving parents and destroyed families on both sides of the Atlantic.  His pseudoscience continues to thrive in the US, but in the UK, authorities are questioning his fitness to practice medicine.


NO ACCOUNTABILITY

In November, 2003, Pennsylvania voters voted to deny criminal defendants the right to confront their accusers in court.  They probably felt there would be no cost to themselves.  But if we let witnesses avoid accountability in criminal proceedings, we all will pay a high price, eventually.


INNOCENCE PROJECTS

Innocence Projects provide representation and/or investigative assistance to prison inmates who claim to be innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. There is now at least one innocence project serving each state except Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota. Most of these innocence projects are new and overwhelmed with applications, so waiting time between application and acceptance is long. Wrongfully convicted persons should not be dissuaded from applying to Innocence Projects because of this, but should have realistic expectations regarding acceptance and time lags.  Check the list for the innocence project in your area; we update it regularly.


LINKS

The links pages at Truth in Justice are frequently updated.  Be sure to check them for resources, "must" reading, websites of inmates with compelling innocence claims and more.  Start at http://truthinjustice.org/links.htm

SITE SEARCH ENGINE

There are now over 800 pages at Truth in Justice.  The site search engine on the main page can make it faster and easier to find what you seek.

And remember, YOU can make a difference!

Sheila and Doug Berry



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