The warden of Angola prison, Burl Cain, has spoken out in forthright terms against a system that mandates punishment without any chance of rehabilitation. If I'm a successful warden and I do my job and we correct the deviant behaviour, then we should have a parole hearing. I need to keep predators in these big old prisons, not dying old men.
Description of Innocence Cases
The toll is not confined to the state level: most of those non-violent inmates held on life without parole sentences were given their punishments by the federal government. More than 2, of the 3, individuals tracked down on these sentences by the ACLU are being held in the federal system.
Until the early s, life without parole sentences were virtually unknown. The UK is one of only two countries in Europe that still metes out the penalty at all, and even then only in 49 cases of murder. Even within America's starkly racially-charged penal system, the disparities in non-violent life without parole are stunning. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 2. Again, the offences involved can be startlingly petty. Drugs are present in the background of Timothy Jackson's case too.
Paradoxically, like many of the other prisoners on similar penalties, the first time he was offered drug treatment was after he had already been condemned to spend the rest of his life in jail. The ACLU concludes that it does not have to be this way — suitable alternatives are readily at hand, including shorter prison terms and the provision of drug treatment and mental health services.
The organisation calls on Congress, the Obama administration and state legislatures to end the imposition of mandatory life without parole for non-violent offenders and to require re-sentencing hearings for all those already caught in this judicial black hole. The following year, in , the state's supreme court gave a final ruling. Foley had been in prison for more than 11 years. His claim for compensation from the state Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board was subsequently denied because the Board found that he did not prove his innocence and did not prove that he did not intentionally contribute to his arrest or conviction.
Just as prosecutorial misconduct includes a variety of errors attributed to prosecutors, IAC includes a variety of errors attributed to defense counsel. Because claims of ineffective assistance can encompass almost anything that occurs during or before trial, our classification has the impact of attributing certain errors to defense counsel when in reality they may have been committed by more than one actor or part of the criminal justice system.
For example, some of the IAC cases in this sample were caused because the defense attorney did not pursue a motion regarding a Fourth Amendment violation committed by the police. The initial mistake was made by the police, who failed to comply with the Fourth Amendment. As a matter of the judicial record, however, the proximate error justifying reversal was the ineffectiveness of defense counsel in failing to object to the erroneous search, and therefore we have classified it as ineffective assistance of counsel.
Wainwright, , U. Washington, U. Washington, at Two witnesses at a nearby liquor store identified twentyyear-old DeAndre Maurice Howard from a photographic lineup administered by the police. One of the eyewitnesses later recanted her identification. Howard pleaded not guilty and went to trial in He was found guilty of murder after a six-day trial, and sentenced to 75 years to life in state prison.
Two years later, the surviving victim of the shooting gave a sworn statement that Mr. Howard was not the shooter, and stated further that had he been called at trial he would have testified that Mr. Howard was not the shooter. Howard filed numerous appeals and habeas petitions, all of which were denied until , when the court held that Mr. Howard was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claim that his trial attorney was ineffective because he failed to interview or call the surviving victim as a witness.
After listening to testimony at the hearing, the court reversed Mr. In , after a nine-day jury trial, Mr. Howard was found not guilty on all charges and released the same day. He spent 11 years in custody. In , twenty-eight-year-old Kelvin Wiley was arrested and charged with burglary and assault of his former girlfriend in San Diego County.
The former girlfriend testified that Mr. Wiley entered her apartment in a rage, hit her repeatedly with a wrench and strangled her with a belt until she lost consciousness. She also said that he attacked her because she tried to break off their relationship. Wiley testified that he had been at his apartment at the time of the crime. His landlord testified that he saw Mr.
Wiley enter or exit his apartment on the day in question. Wiley testified that it was he who had broken off the relationship and since that time she had been following him and harassing him. On the night before the attack he had declined a dinner invitation from her and accidentally ran into her at a restaurant while he was having dinner with a friend.
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He returned home to find an obscene note on his door. Wiley was convicted of battery with serious bodily injury and sentenced to four years in prison. He subsequently alleged ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to interview several key witnesses, including neighbors who saw the ex-girlfriend leave her home in the morning and who saw another man banging on her door shouting to be let in. The court found that Mr. When two young infant girls under her care had multiple medical ailments requiring major medical interventions, she was referred to Child Protective Services and eventually was prosecuted for child abuse.
Her trial took place in May of Both had problems feeding and breathing, and issues with their bowel movements. Both had tubes placed into their stomachs for feeding. One of the girls had 24 hospitalizations, 13 ER visits, and outpatient visits. Both of the babies ended up being removed from Ms. The prosecution argued that Ms. Eldridge had Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome whereby she would lie about the ailments of children in her care in order to get attention from doctors and medical personnel.
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The defense was able to exclude mention of Munchausen-by-proxy but the prosecution was still able to argue that Ms. In , at age 43, Ms. Eldridge was found guilty of child abuse and was sentenced to three years in state prison. Eldridge filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that her attorney had been ineffective. Her trial attorney had failed to call witnesses who could have confirmed that the babies were genuinely ill, and had failed to call a medical expert on Ms.
The defense attorney had consulted with a doctor on the case, but had given the doctor only a limited portion of the medical records that had been prepared by the prosecution. The doctor was never hired as an expert witness and was not provided adequate or complete medical records to form a solid medical opinion.
The doctor stated that after reviewing the complete medical files, he would have testified that there were likely medical explanations other than abuse and that the symptoms described were consistent with the medical histories of the two children. He further stated that the issues suffered by the two girls were possibly the result of side effects of medications given by the doctors and that there were several instances of medical mistake. Finally, Ms. Eldridge but had been rejected, and that he had a history of making sexual advances to patients and hospital staff. From time to time, convictions are overturned because the conduct that has been proved does not fit the definition of the crime charged or is determined by a court not to be criminal conduct.
In addition, convictions can be overturned when it is determined that the prosecution proceeded in violation of the double jeopardy clause in the Constitution or brought the case after the end of the statute of limitations. There is an obvious complexity that accompanies this sort of retrospective assessment of error, as there may well be instances where the good faith pursuit of a criminal case that ends up being unsuccessful is a reasoned and appropriate decision.
At the same time, not only is it the obligation of the prosecutor to review all the evidence and proceed only when the evidence warrants it, but it is an obligation given specifically to the prosecutor in his or her sole discretion, and one with tremendous negative downstream implications for those charged whether or not the individual is ultimately exonerated.
In addition, the selection of which charges to bring for conduct that a prosecutor believes in good faith to be criminal can be a substantial and complex undertaking, and the decision regarding what to charge may be based upon information known to the prosecutor or believed to be true that is either excluded from evidence or subsequently found to be false. Virginia, U. The California state standard is articulated in People v. Johnson, 26 Cal.
Likewise, a court finding of insufficient evidence may indicate that the prosecutor misjudged or overestimated the value and strength of the evidence against the defendant to an unreasonable extent, as subsequently determined by an objective observer the court. Next to his body were three different size posts that were part of a turnstile unit typically found in grocery or retail stores.
It was believed that the murder weapon was the three-foot post. In , five years after the murder, the police matched some fingerprints on the alleged murder weapon to year-old Melvin Mikes. Although no other prints were found in the shop and there was no evidence that placed Mr.
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Mikes at the shop on the day of the crime, Mr. Mikes was charged with first-degree murder and robbery. He pleaded not guilty and went to trial. The fingerprints found on the post were the only piece of evidence linking Mr.