It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
As it is, new evidence can release a man, but can't imprison a man already tried.
Originally posted by charles1952
How do we create a system that doesn't make mistakes? We can't. Yet, there must be a system for defining guilt and innocence. Do you have a system significantly different from the current one in mind? I'm assuming that you're basically OK with the current sytem, and only object to the use of death as a punishment option.
Am I correct so far?
Willingham had a lot of excuses for the fire, Fogg recalled, including that a stranger entered the house and set the fire, that the 2-year-old started it, that a ceiling fan or squirrels in the attic caused an electrical short, or the gas space heaters in the children’s bedroom sparked it.
The investigators searched for electrical shorts, but found none; the gas-powered space heaters were off because the family’s gas supply had been cut off at the meter; and “we didn’t find a ceiling fan. Willingham said there was one, but we didn’t find any signs of one,” Fogg said.
Evidence of accelerants was found, but Willingham had an excuse for that, too. Willingham told investigators he poured cologne on the children’s floor “because the babies liked the smell,” he blamed a kerosene lamp for any accelerant in the hallway, and said spilled charcoal-lighter fluid happened while he was grilling, Fogg recalled.
Fogg agreed that there was a damaged bottle of charcoal lighter fluid on the other end of the porch away from the door, but the grill was in the side yard not on the porch when firefighters arrived. Fogg remembered four empty bottles of charcoal lighter were found just outside the front door.
For Hensley, the most damning evidence came from Willingham, who told officers that 2-year-old Amber woke him up. Firefighters later found her in his bed, with burns on the soles of her feet. Yet, Willingham didn’t take the girl with him when he fled, nor did he receive burns walking down that same hallway, Hensley pointed out.
Willingham was taken to the hospital where doctors did a blood-gas analysis on him, a standard test for someone who’s been inside a burning house.
“He had no more (carbon monoxide) than somebody who had just smoked a cigarette,” Hensley said.
From his seat at the defense table, attorney David Martin’s job was to fight tooth and nail for Willingham. Once it was over, though, Martin became convinced his client was guilty. He dismisses the Beyler report as propaganda from anti-death penalty supporters.
“The Innocence Project is an absolute farce,” Martin said. “It’s a bunch of hype, in my opinion.”
The defense team couldn’t locate an arson expert back then willing to say the house fire was accidental.
“We never could find anybody that contradicted Vasquez,” Martin said.
Our system is the best we've got. Death should be taken off of the table though in most cases. Without strong video, audio, or DNA evidence too much is left up to conjecture.
Assume the death penalty is eliminated and we go to life without parole, do we re-investigate each of those crimes?
Will the re-investigations be available only for the rich or socially favored?
If the courts say there must be irrefutable physical proof, then why bother having a trial?
Willingham was executed 22 years after his conviction. Is there a time limit on re-investigations?
Why is there such a strong desire for the death penalty?