Truth in Justice Newsletter - January, 2004
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.
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?
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.
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
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Sheila and Doug Berry
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