by Darcia Helle

Justice Blackmun: Rather than continue to coddle the Courts delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved and the need for regulation eviscerated, I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.

ell18We like to say that “Justice is blind”, but justice is decided upon and meted out by people, and people are not flawless, unbiased machines. To ensure fairness, we have trials with lawyers and a “jury of our peers”. On the surface, this seems to offer an even balance for the accused and the accuser. The jury hears all the facts and no one person gets to decide a person’s fate. The letter of the law and justice prevails. An ideal system when it works. The problem is that the very same laws meant to protect the innocent sometimes hurt them instead. Jurors do not get to hear all the evidence, and what they do hear is interpreted by lawyers with an agenda. Sometimes those lawyers want to get at the truth. Sometimes they just want to win. Judges sit at the top of this legal pyramid, complete with their own very human preconceptions, ideals, and biases. In the hands of the lawyers and judges, the law is surprisingly easy to either bend or hold rigid.

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compiled by Patrick H. Moore

On February 6, 1943, the famed film actor Errol Flynn, after a month-long trial, was acquitted of the rapes and statutory rapes of Peggy Satterlee and Betty Hansen. The jury deliberated for 13 hours before returning with their unanimous not guilty verdict. According to Trove, Flynn, who had been uncharacteristically subdued throughout the lengthy ordeal, shouted gleefully upon hearing the good news:

Gosh! I feel like whooping!

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by Jared Keever

It didn’t take much, just a morning news story.

I was back in the Midwest visiting family for the holidays. We were all in my parents’ living room, getting ready to leave the house for the day. The television was on. I had other things on my mind but the story caught my ear. A Pennsylvania college student, 21-year-old Shane Montgomery, had gone missing.

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commentary by Patrick H. Moore

Regular readers of All Things Crime Blog are probably aware that we have the habit of occasionally posting Karla Homolka articles, some of which are fairly extensive. On a Wednesday morning in July, as I blearily crawled to my computer and logged onto the blog, I noticed that our “Karla” posts were going through the roof. When this happens, it generally means that the criminal in question is “in the news”.

I wondered if perhaps some disaster had befallen Karla, but when I googled her name, I discovered that the disaster had befallen (or rather may befall) yet another Paul Bernardo victim.

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compiled by Patrick H. Moore

It’s no secret that serial killers often masquerade as everyday good citizens. To some degree, Alaska’s most prolific serial killer, ‘Butcher Baker’ Robert Hansen, did precisely that. Hansen, who confessed to murdering 17 women and raping 30, mostly in the Alaskan wilderness, died last Thursday at Alaska Regional Hospital after being in declining health for the past year. During his life as a free man, prior to his conviction in 1984, the Butcher Baker ran a bakery in Anchorage, Alaska and lived across town with his wife and children who had no idea that Dad was a deranged rapist/serial killer.

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by Bob Couttie

Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in England, in 1955. The last man to be executed is a coin toss between Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans who were simultaneously dispatched on 13 August 1964. But for a quirk of timing it would have been Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, the Moors Murderers.

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compiled by Patrick H. Moore

 

Exhibit I:

In 2000, Brandi Blackbear was a student at Union Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She wrote horror stories in the style of Stephen King, dressed in a slightly Goth-like way, and was not afraid to be herself, or to stand up to bullying by popular kids. Brandi’s otherness engendered hostility toward her from certain groups among her school’s culture. False stories of threats of violence were circulated, and the combination of her writing and the authorities’ natural hyper-awareness following the Columbine massacre led to her being suspended. When some of her fellow students later saw her checking out a book on world religions, including Wicca (as research for her stories), they immediately branded her a witch, and eventually accused her of casting a spell that made a teacher sick. Fear of her spread through much of the school, and she was suspended for a second time.

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by BJW Nashe

Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s roller coaster ride during the past decade — through the ups and downs of running a business, surviving a hurricane disaster, enduring injustice, and achieving fame — came to a screeching halt in July 2012 when he was arrested for assaulting his ex-wife, Kathy Zeitoun, and then charged with plotting to have her murdered.

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by Patrick H. Moore

The list of radio and television personalities who have had their lives cut short by murder includes Bob Crane, the incredibly popular Los Angeles morning radio personality, circa 1960, and the star of “Hogan’s Heroes.” Crane was bludgeoned to death in a Scottsdale, Arizona hotel room in 1978, a crime that remains unsolved to this day.

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by BJW Nashe

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen’s death-trip punk romance culminated in her murder in October, 1978, followed by his death from a heroin overdose in early 1979. For thirty years, the prevailing view held that Sid, the troubled Sex Pistols’ bassist, was the one who fatally stabbed Nancy in their room at Manhattan’s infamous Chelsea Hotel. In 2009, a documentary film called Who Killed Nancy? was released, which drew upon “new evidence” to show that Vicious was most likely innocent of the murder. Several news outlets followed up with stories questioning the established version of events. The main point was that Sid was too incapacitated from drugs to kill anyone on the night of Nancy’s death, so comatose from the massive dose of sedatives (30 Tuinals) he had gobbled that he couldn’t even lift a knife, let alone stab anyone.

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