Louisiana death row inmate freed after 15 years – with a little help from DNA

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posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 04:52 PM
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Louisiana death row inmate freed after 15 years – with a little help from DNA


www.guardian.co.uk

Damon Thibodeaux has been proved innocent of a crime for which Louisiana has spent 15 years trying to kill him. In his first interview since being freed, he talks to Ed Pilkington

snip>

"When I read the transcript of the trial for the first time, I thought to myself that the high school mock trial team that I coached of 15- to 17-year-olds would have run rings around the lawyers in that courtroom," said Kaplan. "We put more energy into a $50,000 contract dispute than went into the defense...
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
incaseofinnocence.wordpress.com




posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 04:52 PM
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I love these kind of stories. Mr. Thibodeaux is the 300th prisoner in the US to be exonerated by DNA and the 18th on death row. I await the day that DNA testing is done on someone that has already been executed by the State for there to be a nation-wide moratorium on the death penalty.

Until our severely damaged criminal legal system is repaired, we simply MUST stop all executions.

Here is just another case of detectives and district attorneys ignoring exonerating evidence as well as inept and perhaps corrupted public defenders.



www.guardian.co.uk
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by GrantedBail
 


Good Lord... 300... I had no idea it had become SO many.... So without the DNA evidence, 300 men would have died as innocent men. We have a system based on the idea that it be better 100 men go free than 1 man be wrongly convicted. Yet, DNA doesn't lie. 300 innocent men WOULD have died prisoners.

I think the argument that we have never executed an innocent man in this nation is laughably false. Just outrageous wishful thinking. I am 100% behind the Death Penalty. I'm no softy on the worst of the worst...but geeze... Absolute proof before the Absolute punishment should be the standard to meet. Not "beyond A reasoonable doubt" but to be technical? Beyond ANY reasonable doubt by proof positive. DNA, Video tape of good quality or old fashoined 'Caught red handed'. That should be the min....and after major major system reform.

Granted, you and I think alike here. This madness has to stop until we're sure we don't still have hundreds of DNA provable innocent men sitting on Death Row for things they honestly, provably, didn't do.

edit on 7-12-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: minor correction.



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 05:03 PM
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Wow I'm shocked, how many people before DNA testing got killed because they were wrongly convicted?
It does amaze me in this day and age that the USA still does this barbaric thing.
I hope the guy sues and get millions.



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 05:35 PM
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I have one thing to say. That guy is gonna go back to jail for killing the people who ran those dumb courts.
Lol



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 05:51 PM
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Is death even a good punishment? I mean, if you kill someone right away, they get out instantly of what they've done. Sure they are dead now, but they don't know that once the heart stops beating. Is it too much to house the select few for the rest of their lives in a tiny cell so they have to think about what they've done and live in repressive conditions? Knowing they will never be free again...

1 cent from every American is 3 million dollars. This is enough to house plenty of people convicted on the most heinous crimes. Think of how much money is spent on useless judicial programs. Why not focus on locking away the most heinous prisoners, (actually proving their guilt properly to begin with) and cut some of the senseless justices that send mothers and family people behind bars for years***** for truly no purpose other than to flex judicial might.

At least if there is a wrongful conviction in this system, you didn't kill someone, you ruined their life yes, but killing and innocent person is such a huge injustice that the possibility of error should bar the practice.

As they said in the article:


Not so Steven Kaplan. He cites academic studies that suggest that 2% to 4% of death-row inmates are probably innocent. "If that was the rate of failure of airplanes," he says, "would you fly?"


www.guardian.co.uk...

To put that quote into perspective:


FlightAware has tracked 70,035 arrivals in the last 24 hours.


flightaware.com...

Flight aware has tracked 70,000 flights landing in the last 24 hours. A flight failure rate of 2-4% is 1400-2800 planes crashing. If 2800 planes failed their landings daily, would you fly?
edit on 7-12-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 06:03 PM
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That is very good news for him and a great story. Imagine the feeling of a crime you never committed and being released of all charges. I hope he writes a book of his experiences and how it will change his life for the better.



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by boncho
Is death even a good punishment? I mean, if you kill someone right away, they get out instantly of what they've done. Sure they are dead now, but they don't know that once the heart stops beating. Is it too much to house the select few for the rest of their lives in a tiny cell so they have to think about what they've done and live in repressive conditions? Knowing they will never be free again...

1 cent from every American is 3 million dollars. This is enough to house plenty of people convicted on the most heinous crimes. Think of how much money is spent on useless judicial programs. Why not focus on locking away the most heinous prisoners, (actually proving their guilt properly to begin with) and cut some of the senseless justices that send mothers and family people behind bars for years***** for truly no purpose other than to flex judicial might.

At least if there is a wrongful conviction in this system, you didn't kill someone, you ruined their life yes, but killing and innocent person is such a huge injustice that the possibility of error should bar the practice.

As they said in the article:


Not so Steven Kaplan. He cites academic studies that suggest that 2% to 4% of death-row inmates are probably innocent. "If that was the rate of failure of airplanes," he says, "would you fly?"


www.guardian.co.uk...

To put that quote into perspective:


FlightAware has tracked 70,035 arrivals in the last 24 hours.


flightaware.com...

Flight aware has tracked 70,000 flights landing in the last 24 hours. A flight failure rate of 2-4% is 1400-2800 planes crashing. If 2800 planes failed their landings daily, would you fly?
edit on 7-12-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)
In the case of cold murder? Death isn't just a good punishment, it's the only one. Take another life? You have yours taken from you. Sounds fair to me... That is absolute in the case of killing a cop. Not because they're cops and that makes their life special. Thats never been the reasoning. If someone is willing to kill a cop though, that means there is NO line and NO taboo that person will not break at that point. They've become rabid dogs that need put down.

The problem, as the thread points out tho....If they aren't caught in the act or video tape witness (eye witness is great to confirm....worthless to identify IMO) then we can't know they did it. That may be okay for life in prison? but even I agree, as a Death Penalty supporter.....we can't execute people while we KNOW the system has innocent men in the cells.



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 08:49 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000


Thats never been the reasoning. If someone is willing to kill a cop though, that means there is NO line and NO taboo that person will not break at that point. They've become rabid dogs that need put down.

 


This doesn't make sense at all. Number 1, a person that is dead doesn't know they are dead or think of any consequences, they do not have to go through anything to face their actions. Yep, for a split second you get them back by killing them... whoop-di-doo

Number 2, what does being a police officer have anything to do with anything. A police officer and severe punishment for offences committed against them are done to set examples and to put fear into people's psyche. As they are officers of the state, and the state punishes more severely because it takes it as direct action against itself. Which is unjust and unfair to its citizens.

There is no moral justice in it, and if it were based on that, criminal actions against babies or the elderly would always received far greater punishment than someone who did something against a police officer. And if it was a moral issue, it would be corrupt police officers receiving extreme sentences (when they break it) since they are sworn to uphold the law.

How can you punish people more severely for committing crimes against police when police themselves have shown no respect for the law, or remorse for their actions.

(Please note I am not condoning any criminal behaviour against police and I am absolutely not saying that all officers of the law break it)

However, in the case of this story, it is alleged that the officers involved in this investigation not only abused their authority, may have committed torture, and pressured an innocent man to confess. After that, it is alleged they obstructed justice by hiding elements of his innocent.

In this case, the maximum punishment available, should go to the officers that were sworn to uphold the law, but miserably failed it. And in their callous actions, left a killer on the street while the public believed the crime had been solved. Allowing someone to commit more murder with no worry about being caught for the original.
edit on 7-12-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-12-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-12-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-12-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 09:10 PM
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reply to post by boncho
 

You misread my meaning entirely. Some DO see it as vengeance, punishment or just all around payback. That has never carried water with me on Death. What's the logic? Punishment....how? So they can be better Souls in the afterlife? lol...

I am for execution of murderers because once that line is crossed to take a human life outside of self defense or war, the crossing it a second time isn't the earth changing move it was the first. It's just doing something again. Nothing all that more meaningful on the moral or spiritual level. Whatever damage was done to your Soul? Was done the first murder. I think many killers even know that on some level, which makes them infinitely more dangerous.......and why executing and not warehousing them is the best, IMO.

The idea isn't to get revenge at all..it is to coldly, efficiently and effectively remove them from this world forever, lest they do it AGAIN to someone else.

Under our system, we even house non-violent offenders with attitudes right along side lifer's and killers. So they DO actually pose an ongoing threat to the well being and lives of others..even in prison...for the rest of their lives. All the more reason to END them just as soon as practical. Now...we're back to standards of proof and evidence to meet before that can be said with confidence, of course.

__

I bring up cops because it is one of the only lines in civilized society that is, almost universally, seen as crossing lines no one can tolerate. It's not about a man wearing a police uniform. It's not about that man having the authority of a Police Officer. It's about the killer's perspective. There is NOTHING more Anti-social and more removed FROM society a person can do than to wantonly murder a member of that society charged with keeping peace and order. When THAT murder has been committed wantonly, then every human being that offender ever comes in contact with again, for the rest of their lives, is in grave danger IMO.

Why for cops? Like I said above...If you'll kill the people Society has chosen to appoint to protect us, then NO member of society will pose a serious hang up to kill for the same guy. Hence...... it's a death penalty requirement that stands above all others..and noted for that reason.



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 09:24 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000


It's about the killer's perspective. There is NOTHING more Anti-social and more removed FROM society a person can do than to wantonly murder a member of that society charged with keeping peace and order. When THAT murder has been committed wantonly, then every human being that offender ever comes in contact with again, for the rest of their lives, is in grave danger IMO.

Why for cops? Like I said above...If you'll kill the people Society has chosen to appoint to protect us, then NO member of society will pose a serious hang up to kill for the same guy. Hence...... it's a death penalty requirement that stands above all others..and noted for that reason.


 


I agree with you to a point. But I think you are missing the fundamentals of law and exactly why it was created. It was not for "law and order" so much as it was a constitution to give rights to people.

And in that, murder used to be a punishment for many things that violated people's rights. Although, under the old system it was up to people to prosecute crimes against them. The victims, were actually the prosecutors.

I touched on it in this post.

And this one as well.



posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 09:56 PM
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Originally posted by GrantedBail


I love these kind of stories. Mr. Thibodeaux is the 300th prisoner in the US to be exonerated by DNA and the 18th on death row. I await the day that DNA testing is done on someone that has already been executed by the State for there to be a nation-wide moratorium on the death penalty.


300th? holy #.. I agree with you. Something isn't working properly thats for sure.


Until our severely damaged criminal legal system is repaired, we simply MUST stop all executions.


If the legal system cannot be 100% sure when dealing with someone accused of a criminal act, the death penalty shouldn't be an option.


Here is just another case of detectives and district attorneys ignoring exonerating evidence as well as inept and perhaps corrupted public defenders.


The sad thing is the guy has lost 15 years of his life for being innocent. You cannot get those years back and one would think he is entitled to a lawsuit of his own.



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 06:19 AM
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reply to post by GrantedBail
 


I can only say, of the subject of this mans being freed by DNA testing, that this ought to give hope to people in similar situations all throughout the western world (I say that because access to DNA testing is not uniform in the east, nor for that matter is due process the standard there).

However, on the very fact of his previous and bogus conviction, there is much to say. The man was convicted of a murder that he did not commit, and a rape that NEVER HAPPENED! I cannot even begin to understand how a system which presents itself as a function of Justice, can allow such a miscarriage to occur.

Let us consider the crimes in thier order of severity, as to sentence. First, the rape issue. To prove that a rape has been committed, one must prove that it has occurred. The first step in such a matter, wether the victim is dead or alive, is a vaginal examination, performed by a nurse or doctor, to confirm wether there is bruising or tearing in or around the genital region of the victim, and so that any visible evidence that might be left, like fibres, hair and so on, can be recovered. Also, the genitals will be swabbed, so that any microscopic material deposited inside the victim, or around the genital area can be recovered.

When confronted with the fact that not only was there no evidence to connect the convicted man to a possible rape, but that also there was no evidence that rape, or indeed any sexual intercourse had been enacted, the prosecution should have reconsidered thier approach, and dropped that charge, and for that matter the jury should have returned a not guilty verdict on the rape issue, if the prosecutors had been so willfully stupid as to continue with it.

On the subject of the murder aspect of this innocent mans conviction, there can only be one conclusion one can draw. The whole case was a bloody disgrace from start to finish. There was no evidence what so ever, that could conclusively point toward the convicted man as the culprit for this crime, so the police badgered the poor fellow for two days or near as makes no difference, until he just told them what they wanted to hear.

In any criminal case, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a defendant is guilty of the crime of which they are being accused.In this case, I fail to understand, despite the confession, how ANY jury, capable of tying thier own shoes in the morning, and controlling thier saliva glands to some degree to prevent drooling, could have convicted this man, based on the total lack of physical evidence that can of been bought forward.

It is clear that not only was this man not responsible for the death of the victim in this case, but that there can have been no physical evidence bought in his trial, for none existed!

No fingerprints linking convict to crime. No DNA linking convict to crime. No marks upon the convict, to link him to his alleged victim, or any wound upon her person. No case then, surely? I am aware that this case was bought some time ago, but it was not that long ago that one can excuse the jury thier part in this bloody outrage. How anyone can consider themselves fit to perform such an important task as to decide a mans fate, based on the evidence put before them, when they have not the merest capacity to assess that evidence is beyond me.

edit on 8-12-2012 by TrueBrit because: Spelling and grammar issue. Sorry folks!



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 06:22 AM
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So I guess he is a millionaire as well now. 15 years, at about a couple hundred grand a year of false imprisonment.

Is that not true for all sates?



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 06:58 AM
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reply to post by GrantedBail
 


Well said, it is the reason I am against the death penalty. It's a damn shame it often takes decades for innocence to be brought to light though. Imagine rotting away in prison, while knowing you didn't do the crime. It must be a horrible experience for sure.

In cases like that, I think they should be well compensated for the time they spent, in my opinion.
edit on Sat, 08 Dec 2012 06:59:55 -0600 by TKDRL because: punctuation



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 08:18 AM
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Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
Good Lord... 300... I had no idea it had become SO many.... So without the DNA evidence, 300 men would have died as innocent men. We have a system based on the idea that it be better 100 men go free than 1 man be wrongly convicted. Yet, DNA doesn't lie. 300 innocent men WOULD have died prisoners.

I don't know if that's what you are saying (I sometimes get confused
), but it was "only" 18 that were sentenced to death.

That, obviously, doesn't mean that being wrongly imprisoned even for one day is not bad enough.


I am 100% behind the Death Penalty. I'm no softy on the worst of the worst...but geeze... Absolute proof before the Absolute punishment should be the standard to meet. Not "beyond A reasoonable doubt" but to be technical? Beyond ANY reasonable doubt by proof positive. DNA, Video tape of good quality or old fashoined 'Caught red handed'. That should be the min....and after major major system reform.

I'm against the death penalty, and one of the reasons is that convicts find it harder to live in prison than to be killed, at least according to the 310 Italian prisoners that wanted the death sentence instead of life in prison.

Another thing that I find worrying in this story is that it took the lawyers 12 years to free the man.



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 08:29 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


If you read the article carefully, it says that three hundred people have been freed from prison based on DNA evidence, and of those three hundred, eighteen were death row inmates. Its a disgrace none the less I will grant you, but lets be accurate in our cogitations on this matter. There has been more than enough ambiguity and incorrectness surrounding such matters already



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 08:30 AM
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Dismantle it. Dismantle the whole damn thing.

The cost of dealing out "justice" (if you can call it that) is too damn high and it gets higher every year.

Think back on all the people who have died in cells or by capitol punishment due to weak science, bigoted ideals, fear and paranoia, an irrational drive for vengeance.

The numbers must be astronomical.

The justice system is the last bastion for ignorance driven mob rule. When paired with government corruption you are pretty much guaranteed to be railroaded. There is no such thing as a fair trial. All trials are unfair by design given the imperfections of man and mans creations.

Excusing it as "the best we can do" is ridiculous. If the best you can do is murder people or lock people up or otherwise destroy the lives and futures of your fellow man then stop #ing doing it!
edit on 8-12-2012 by thisguyrighthere because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 08:35 AM
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Originally posted by GrantedBail

Louisiana death row inmate freed after 15 years – with a little help from DNA


www.guardian.co.uk

Damon Thibodeaux has been proved innocent of a crime for which Louisiana has spent 15 years trying to kill him. In his first interview since being freed, he talks to Ed Pilkington

snip>

"When I read the transcript of the trial for the first time, I thought to myself that the high school mock trial team that I coached of 15- to 17-year-olds would have run rings around the lawyers in that courtroom," said Kaplan. "We put more energy into a $50,000 contract dispute than went into the defense...
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
incaseofinnocence.wordpress.com



posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 09:14 AM
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reply to post by SeventhSin
 


Well fellow ATS'ers I have a little perspective on the death penalty that most folks don't have. I am currently employed at the State of Texas as a S.O.R.T. operator that just happens be in the same regional district as the Huntsville State Penitentiary where I am often called to escort the condemned to their end. In fact, I've attended over 12 this year so far. In some of the more recent execution occurring last year I was there when we executed one Lawrence Russell Brewer who was one of the animals that dragged to death a retarded black man in Jasper, Texas. The man I speak of is not the typical inmate but there are plenty like him that, once convicted, make it there life to do anything to hurt another human being, albeit, another guard or inmate. This same thing happens when they get life, inmates become dangerous and increasingly shed their regard for human life seeing that their only hope for life is one in the existence in the state's care and that has limited vantage from the perspective on the condemn. Brewer tried on many occasions to hurt black guards, mainly female because of the type of animal he is, and was very successful once causing one guard to retire permanently from her injuries.
So I ask you, the death penalty has been reserved for the elite of the elite criminal and the fail safe of 7 judicial reviews have been placed on each death case by the Federal Judicial System making it possible for many of the cases that did not keep the high level of scrutiny to maintain the death penalty to be converted to life; moreover, sometimes to a paroled inmate. The "broken system" works very well at this level from the type of attorney that handles these cases to the type of care the state takes insuring these cases are legit. All and all, many folks will never truly understand what the death penalty stands for because the sides that I see are not ever publicized due to the left media run at ending this through their agenda based efforts. Funny-thing, when Brewer was being escorted into his cell he actually threatened me saying his (Arian Circle Gang) Peckerwood brothers would do me in the end. I told him "your going to be strapped on that gurney by 6:00PM and dead by 6:15, if your beaten to a pulp and bloody or nice and clean looking you'll be dead either way, I would hope you choose the beaten and bloody route so your momma's last vision of you is an honest one." That's why I do what I do folks.





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