NEWS: Texas May Have Executed an Innocent Man

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posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 10:23 AM
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Recent evidence uncovered by an in-depth investigation by the Houston Chronicle appears to clear Ruben Cantu of the homicide conviction that resulted in his execution in 1993, at the age of 26. Cantu was 17 when he was arrested for capital murder, in an incident that allegedly took place during a botched robbery.
 



www.chron.com
Four days after a Bexar County jury delivered its verdict, Cantu wrote this letter to the residents of San Antonio: "My name is Ruben M. Cantu and I am only 18 years old. I got to the 9th grade and I have been framed in a capital murder case."

A dozen years after his execution, a Houston Chronicle investigation suggests that Cantu, a former special-ed student who grew up in a tough neighborhood on the south side of San Antonio, was likely telling the truth.

Cantu's long-silent co-defendant, David Garza, just 15 when the two boys allegedly committed a murder-robbery together, has signed a sworn affidavit saying he allowed his friend to be falsely accused, though Cantu wasn't with him the night of the killing.

And the lone eyewitness, the man who survived the shooting, has recanted. He told the Chronicle he's sure that the person who shot him was not Cantu, but he felt pressured by police to identify the boy as the killer. Juan Moreno, an illegal immigrant at the time of the shooting, said his damning in-court identification was based on his fear of authorities and police interest in Cantu.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This teenager was basically railroaded by the D.A. - though he had no criminal history, he was unfairly depicted as being a thief, gangster, thug, and general low life, and in a large part, this caused him to be convicted, sentenced, and executed - though he was innocent of the charges against him.

How many other innocent people may have been executed in America?

This report from 2003 sheds some light on the subject:


Since 1973, 111 people waiting execution on death row have been released because they are actually innocent. That means 111 could have been wrongly executed in our names. How many of the nearly 900 executed during these years have been innocent?


Capital punishment has its pros and cons, but the execution of innocent civilians by the state is a pretty serious "con" that should be given the weight it deserves in consideration of sentencing those who maintain their innocence.

Considering capital punishment as a sentence for only confessed killers would probably have the adverse reaction of reducing the number of confessions among killers, but there has to be some kind of compromise.

Related News Links:
news.independent.co.uk
www.washingtonpost.com
www.guardian.co.uk
159.54.227.3

[edit on 11/22/2005 by Zipdot]




posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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That is exactly why we canned it here in the UK. Too many cases cropped up where the was resonable doubt, or worse, proof of innocence.

I would rather spend 20 years of my life in Jail for a crime I didn't commit to be later proved innocent, than be executed.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 10:56 AM
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why would his friend lie that he was with him when he committed the crime. that really sucked big time.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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He was no friend. To let his "mate" go to the chair for something he didn't do is evil.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 11:29 AM
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If it was known 100% that someone committed a malicious murder I'd be 100% for the death penalty. If someone robbed a store/home and shot someone in the process. I say send 'em to the chair. But until we can guarantee that we wouldn't be executing an innocent person, I'm not so sure where I stand on the death penalty.

[edit on 11/22/2005 by DiabolusFireDragon]



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 11:34 AM
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So, under what circumstances can you be 100% certain that someone is guilty of something? Video can be misinterpreted, false confessions appear from time to time, and witness testimony is notoriously inaccurate...

What's the solution?

EDIT:


Garza did not testify. Moreno agreed to testify as he was in the United States illegally at the time and faced all kinds of trouble if he did not play along.

It is not uncommon across the United States for death penalty cases to be constructed on the testimony of criminals or convicts, who may be susceptible to dishonesty and manipulation by police or prison guards. Prosecutors will tend to argue obstinately for the guilt of the defendant even when new evidence points the other way. But in the Cantu case the prosecuting lawyer has told the Chronicle he made a mistake in bringing a capital case in the first place.


[edit on 11/22/2005 by Zipdot]



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 11:39 AM
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What's the solution? Stop killing people!

This is one reason I'm against the death penalty. All too often, innocent people are convicted. You can let them out of jail, but you cannot bring them back to life.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 11:40 AM
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So, under what circumstances can you be 100% certain that someone is guilty of something? Video can be misinterpreted, false confessions appear from time to time, and witness testimony is notoriously inaccurate...



Exactly! Therein lies the quagmire. So until this can be figured out, I'm not so sure where I stand.
I might add that executing an innocent person is the only problem that I have with the death penality.



[edit on 11/22/2005 by DiabolusFireDragon]



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:17 PM
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I look at it real simple like. If this guy was executed unjustly, and I believe he was, God will make it up to him.

The death penalty serves more than one purpose. Not only does it rid the world of a lot of evil scumbags, it saves the taxpayers money. We can't afford to send these sickos to prison for the rest of their lives.

Peace



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:28 PM
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Thats ok as long as there actually is a God......

If not, wether there be something else or not, it is an awful waste of a young life.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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Here are some more headlines you could have posted, all of which happen far more often, (some daily) than the execution of an innocent man:

Innocent Bystander Shot By Drug Traffickers

Innocent Pedestrian Run Over By Speeding Car Thief

Innocent Girl Abducted, Raped, and Murdered by Local Pervert

Innocent Cement Contractor Crushed by Collapsing Wall

People tend to blow cases like this out of proportion in order to try and create a moral imperative against the death penalty. The death penalty is a service to the people of the state. It is a service which is consistently asked for by the people. The chances of being wrongly convicted are there, but so is the chance that a plane will crash into your car during the morning commute. That does not mean that you should stop driving to work. Death of innocents in and of itself is not the sole determining factor in decision making. When a boy is drafted into the military only to be killed while in transport to the combat zone, is he not also an "innocent"? Yet his death is a direct result of procuring the freedom and justice that the citizens of the state require.

Now, if you are saying that a convicted rapist/killer who has confessed, has matching DNA evidence, and many eye-witnesses should NOT be executed just because some people may be or may have been wrongly executed in the past, then I say that you are incapable of rational thought.

However, if your argument is based on religious or just plain moral reprehensiveness of public execution, then that is your view, and I respect that.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:46 PM
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That last line should say "religion" instead of "religious. Oh, and the "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" argument doesn't work on athiests. My atheism leads me to a deep respect of the life that is here and now. However, preservation of any and all life, just for the sake of it, is nonsense.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:53 PM
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I think spending the rest of your life getting gang raped is a much worse fate than being executed. Plus it costs more to execute someone than to have them spend the rest of their life in prison and capital punishment has yet to show it's effectiveness as a deterrent.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 12:55 PM
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Although this is a very unfortunate circumstance, I am not surprised. Keep in mind that Texas has actually executed mentally challenged individuals -- people whose mental capabilities were comparable to young children. Yes, Texas is a "trigger happy" state whose finger seems to twitch with surprising regularity on the switch for the electric chair.

Personally, I am in favor of the death penalty but only in certain cases. For instance, when somebody kills someone in front of a number of unrelated witnesses then great. We have no need to support a miscreant who would commit a clear case of murder. However, when there is ANY doubt whatsoever, then that is another case altogether. Regardless, Texas seems to have what I would regard as a less then stringent criteria for



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by Informatu
Here are some more headlines you could have posted, all of which happen far more often, (some daily) than the execution of an innocent man:

Innocent Bystander Shot By Drug Traffickers
Innocent Pedestrian Run Over By Speeding Car Thief
Innocent Girl Abducted, Raped, and Murdered by Local Pervert
Innocent Cement Contractor Crushed by Collapsing Wall


Yeah, but these incidents are not deliberated by the state for a number of years before the state in its wisdom sees fit to commit to an act of homicide.


Originally posted by Informatu
People tend to blow cases like this out of proportion in order to try and create a moral imperative against the death penalty.


The offhand slaughter of an innocent after a completely unjust prosecution and conviction doesn't NEED to be "blown out of proportion." The case speaks for itself.


Originally posted by Informatu
When a boy is drafted into the military only to be killed while in transport to the combat zone, is he not also an "innocent"? Yet his death is a direct result of procuring the freedom and justice that the citizens of the state require.


The two cases are incomparable, obviously. The state deliberated on the fate of this innocent young teenager and eventually decided to purposely kill him.


Originally posted by Informatu
Now, if you are saying that a convicted rapist/killer who has confessed, has matching DNA evidence, and many eye-witnesses should NOT be executed just because some people may be or may have been wrongly executed in the past, then I say that you are incapable of rational thought.


For starters, ever since Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 in 1977, the "death penalty" has not been applied in rape cases because this punishment was found to be unconstitutional in that the punishment did not fit the crime.

Secondly, I know some very rational people who disagree with the death penalty for various reasons.


Originally posted by Informatu
However, if your argument is based on religious or just plain moral reprehensiveness of public execution, then that is your view, and I respect that.


As opposed to what? You say that someone who thinks an obvious offender shouldn't be put to death is irrational, and then you add the moral and religious qualifiers.

People in the thread have been saying that even with DNA evidence, a confession, and a lot of witnesses, someone can still be innocent.

(For those who don't click on links, those that I have provided are examples of faulty DNA evidence, false confessions, and faulty witness testimony.)

Zip



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 01:20 PM
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However, preservation of any and all life, just for the sake of it, is nonsense.


Nonsense eh ? Put your self in that kids place in the last few moments of his life
he knew he was innocent,can you imagin the fear and fustration?If an innocent person dies then the system dont work, all it takes is one.I'm just glad I live in a civilised country.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by Dr Love
I look at it real simple like. If this guy was executed unjustly, and I believe he was, God will make it up to him.


"Real simple like" indeed.


The death penalty serves more than one purpose. Not only does it rid the world of a lot of evil scumbags, it saves the taxpayers money. We can't afford to send these sickos to prison for the rest of their lives.


Actually if you look into it the cost of executing someone is significantly greater than the cost of keeping them locked up for life.


Originally posted by informatu
People tend to blow cases like this out of proportion in order to try and create a moral imperative against the death penalty.


If you're going to talk about "moral imperative" don't you think it's a little bit hypocritical to say that we're should punish murder with execution?


The death penalty is a service to the people of the state.


I think it's a holdover from a more savage and uncivilized era, not so much a service to the people of the state than a way to murder someone with the law on your side.


It is a service which is consistently asked for by the people.


I'll give you that. If any of my family members were murdered or raped I would want to kill the person who did it, anyone would. But should we as a society allow individuals to seek retribution by asking an eye for an eye? If you think that their retribution is justified, do you think that we should allow the victim's family members to personally carry out the execution? I mean they've got this great public beheading system in Saudi Arabia that we could consider adopting...


The chances of being wrongly convicted are there, but so is the chance that a plane will crash into your car during the morning commute. That does not mean that you should stop driving to work. Death of innocents in and of itself is not the sole determining factor in decision making.


When you get on a plane or you get into your car you are taking an acceptable risk. I don't know if you can make the analogy that taking the risk of dieing in a plane or car crash is the same is taking the risk of executing an innocent person. Unless of course to you wrongfully executing someone is an acceptable risk. I just hope for your sake that you are never wrongfully charged with murder.


When a boy is drafted into the military only to be killed while in transport to the combat zone, is he not also an "innocent"? Yet his death is a direct result of procuring the freedom and justice that the citizens of the state require.


Do you think that the soldiers dieing in Iraq are procuring justice and freedom for American citizens?

[edit on 22-11-2005 by ShakyaHeir]



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by Zipdot

Yeah, but these incidents are not deliberated by the state for a number of years before the state in its wisdom sees fit to commit to an act of homicide.


My point exactly, death happens, and not everyone gets the benefit of having their peers decide when and how it should happen, and/or if it is deserved.



The offhand slaughter of an innocent after a completely unjust prosecution and conviction doesn't NEED to be "blown out of proportion." The case speaks for itself.


First of all, slaughter is hardly the appropriate word for a controlled execution.

slaughter

n 1: the killing of animals (as for food) 2: a sound defeat [syn: thrashing, walloping, debacle, drubbing, trouncing, whipping] 3: the savage and excessive killing of many people [syn: massacre, mass murder, carnage, butchery] v 1: kill (animals) usually for food consumption; "They slaughtered their only goat to survive the winter" [syn: butcher] 2: kill a large number of people indiscriminately; "The Hutus massacred the Tutsis in Rwanda" [syn: massacre, mow down]

Secondly, the article does not say that the youth was innocent. It says that he MAY have been innocent, and then points to several reasons why that appears likely.

Thirdly, no it doesn't need to be blown out of proportion, but it is. Your post betrays your emotional involvement from its start.


Originally posted by Informatu
When a boy is drafted into the military only to be killed while in transport to the combat zone, is he not also an "innocent"? Yet his death is a direct result of procuring the freedom and justice that the citizens of the state require.



The two cases are incomparable, obviously. The state deliberated on the fate of this innocent young teenager and eventually decided to purposely kill him.


Obviously? The state also deliberates on whether to go to war, and sometimes purposely decide to send purposefully drafted youth to the front lines, where they may be killed, purposely.



For starters, ever since Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 in 1977, the "death penalty" has not been applied in rape cases because this punishment was found to be unconstitutional in that the punishment did not fit the crime.

Secondly, I know some very rational people who disagree with the death penalty for various reasons.


I'm afraid my own post was unclear in the way I wrote rapist/killers. I meant those two as combined, not an either or. I will try to be more clear in future.


Originally posted by Informatu
However, if your argument is based on religious or just plain moral reprehensiveness of public execution, then that is your view, and I respect that.



As opposed to what? You say that someone who thinks an obvious offender shouldn't be put to death is irrational, and then you add the moral and religious qualifiers.


I don't say that I agree with their view, I said that I respect it. It is a respectable statement to say that the death-penalty does not jibe with your religious or moral worldview. My point is that using the ACCIDENTAL execution of an innocent as the argument for banning its practice is nonsense. Perhaps we should also ban air travel since planes crash occaisionally?

ShakyaHeir,

Your Saudi Arabian execution is a strawman argument. We do not execute "heretics" or "loose women" here in the US of A. The means of execution has little to do with the argument for or against capital punishment.

Is it civilized to lock people away for 30-40 years with no hope of ever living a decent life? How do you deal with uncivilized and brutal acts of crime? PS you may want to look up murder. Lawful execution is not murder by definition.

Yes, death by traveling is an acceptable risk. And for many people, the chance that an innocent person may be executed is an acceptable risk, if it means that we are also allowed to rid society of its most horrible and violent criminals.

Do you not see the hypocrisy in asking mercy for those who give none?

I also hope, for my sake, that I am never wrongly accused of murder. However, I consider that another "acceptable risk," since I am not known to frequent the wrong place, at the wrong time, and accidentally slip into victims pools of blood, and whoops, have no alibi.

As for the American war in Iraq, I think we can leave that discussion off of this thread. You may think you know what I would say about that matter, but you are probably wrong. You should know better than to try baiting poeple however.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 03:07 PM
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Frankly, once the appeals process is exhausted, I'd rather have death than life in prison. To me, life in prison is a fate worse than death.



posted on Nov, 22 2005 @ 03:35 PM
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Funny how God is brought into this. Seems that true believers would be against the death penalty (right to life). But sadly it is now right to "only what we deem worthy" of life.

People who are anti abortion and pro death penalty are hypocrites. Death is death and letting God sort them out is insane. Just because you believe in God does not make it so, it is your belief and the truth, well no one knows for sure.

The state decided to murder someone, it is still murder. If you truly believe in God murder is a sin, the executioners are committing murder and hopefully God treats them as such. If there is a God.





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