This blog does not open links in a new window. Please read about all the cases before opening any links, or use your back arrow to return and complete the strong cases for innocence regarding death row inmates in several states, plus cases of aggrevious excessive sentencing. Story posted at: http://freespeakblog.blogspot.com/ -
Cameron Todd Willingham
PRESSURE MOUNTS on Texas' governor regarding what appears to be the wrongful execution of a young father. Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted for setting fire to his home with his three children inside. The children perished in the fire, and Willingham was charged with arson and murder. At a time when Todd's heart was breaking from the tragic loss of his children, he had to defend himself (unsuccessfully) for murder. He was on death row for over 12 years, which was certainly long enough to determine the cause of a fire. In fact, a determination was made prior to Willingham's execution. An arson report wherein fire investigators determined there was likely no arson was recently made public. Many people are calling for a moratorium on capital punishment in Texas, which holds the record for executions in America. A lawsuit has been filed against Governor Rick Perry in connection with Willingham's 2004 execution. The governor's office reportedly received a fax of the arson report stating that there was likely no arson before Willingham's execution.
The site also has a VIDEO about another executed Texan who was also allegedly innocent.
Governor Perry is campaigning for re-election. He acknowledges no wrongdoing regarding Willingham's execution, despite the professional's report that there was likely no arson. Please the newscast below.
Please be aware that other likely innocent people are on death row. Consider Thomas Arthur who awaits execution in Alabama. His DNA test results were returned in July stating that Arthur was ruled out as contributor for any of the crime scene evidence tested. A judge sealed Arthur's test results, his lawyers were forbidden to disclose his innocence, and the Alabama D.A.'s office reported to Birmingham News in August that a death warrant would be sought for Arthur.
Mainstream media did not report Arthur's DNA results, although the media had closely followed his quest for post-conviction DNA testing for many years. All was silent when the test results came back with Arthur negative as Troy Wicker's murderer. The only exceptions to the silence that I found on the Internet was a report about Arthur's DNA test results from another blogger and myself. This writer had major problems publishing the news about Arthur's DNA test results. Care2 reported a cyberattack on September 1, which was the day I tried to send the news out via ecards. Gmail, which I use for prisoner advocacy, suddenly had an outage. I worked all night long fighting cyberstalkers to get the article published about Arthur's DNA test results on August 31, and it finally made front page news at Care2 News Network. So far, Arthur still breathes. Arthur's daughter posted his DNA test results on her father's website. See more about that drama at this link:
Troy Davis is another condemned man who has substantial evidence of innocence that arrived after his conviction for the murder of Officer MacPhail, a Savannah, Georgia police officer. Despite the fact that seven of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony against Davis in his murder case that had no forensic evidence, the system repeatedly refused to grant Davis a new trial. Millions of people over the world cheered this summer when the Supreme Court ordered that Troy Davis' case would be reviewed again by another Georgia federal judge who will decide whether Davis will finally have his "just day in a fair court" (Davis' words). However, the High Court determined that the judge can only consider new evidence that was not available to Davis' attorney initially. Davis' attorney for his appeals case had 70 other active cases at the time, and it is unlikely that his first state-appointed attorney had the opportunity to adequately defend him on a capital murder charge. The High Court further ruled that Davis' innocence must be proved by the new evidence he presents to the federal judge, despite the fact that Davis has no DNA evidence to present. Davis must do better than prove there is a reasonable doubt of his guilt like other defendants - he has to prove actual innocence. Otherwise, Davis will be executed like Cameron Todd Willingham was.
Just as the media is silent regarding Thomas Arthur's DNA test results indicating innocence, Troy Davis is under a gag order and not allowed to speak with the press.
Alternet recently published the stories of four other men who may be wrongly convicted, including some on death row. The article is at this link: .
Cruel and unusual though it might seem, for a person to be sentenced to die for a crime he or she did not commit is hardly a unique phenomenon in this country. In the past 35 years, no fewer than 138 people have been released from death row after proof of their innocence was discovered -- including eight this year alone.
Darrell Lomax, California Death Row Inmate
ANOTHER CONDEMNED MAN who has a strong case of innocence is Darrell Lomax, who is on California's death row. California has not executed anyone in many years, but made an announcement that executions will soon resume there. Darrell's story and evidence are presented in this article:
There are numerous other cases of likely innocent people on death row across America. Part of the reason is because the mentally ill and juveniles are especially likely to sign false confessions, because they are easily intimidated. Jeffrey Wood awaits execution in Texas, a mentally ill man who was very young when a robber induced him to drive with him to the store. Jeff was instructed to wait in the truck for Daniel Reneau, who went into the store, robbed and shot the manager. Jeff had no knowledge that a robbery/murder was taking place. Nevertheless, Jeff is on Texas' death row under the Law of Parties. He was treated for mental illness after his arrest to get him trial-ready. Jeff's attorneys reported that their client refused to allow them to vigorously defend him. Jeff requested to defend himself, but the judge refused. He insisted on dictating to his attorneys, however, how the case should be handled. Since he was declared mentally sound, his attorneys were limited. The actual shooter in the case has already been executed by the State of Texas.
Andre Thomas was ruled "crazy, but sane under Texas law," by a judge this year after the mentally ill man ate his left eye. Thomas ate his right eye while awaiting trial several years ago after killing his wife and children and walking around with their hearts in his pocket. Now poor Andre is blind, "crazy," and awaiting a Texas execution. (The judge used the word "crazy," not this writer.) Andre Thomas' petition is below:
There are many more inmates who were excessively sentenced due to mandatory sentencing laws and three-strikes laws (that disallow judges using their own discretion). Consider the case of Jeremy Smith. He is a young man who was schizophrenic from childhood. He allegedly hit another mental patient in his mental hospital, and was induced to sign a plea bargain for EIGHT YEARS imprisonment in California, a state that its governor reports is practically breaking under the weight of its prison costs. While in prison, he allegedly made "terrorist threats" to a guard and was further charged for that, which may substantially lengthen his sentence. California is paying at least $70,000 per year to punish the sick young man in a solitary confinement prison hole 23 hours per day. Gov. Schwarzenegger's efforts to effect prison reform are reportedly hampered by members of the state legislature.
California had to send its senior citizens IOU's rather than live checks this year, but no cost is spared to imprison mental patients like Jeremy who do not deserve to be punished for having a disability. No one can be punished or rehabilitated into a state of good mental health. See Jeremy's petition below:
Wrongful convictions will undoubtedly continue to happen, because much can go wrong with evidence and witnesses between the time a defendant is arrested and brought to trial, sometimes years later. However, wrongful convictions can be reduced by increasing the amount of money states spend for public defenders. Saving innocent people from prison or execution is not only humane and just, it also saves taxpayers a good deal of money in an economy where every dollar counts. It is more financially prudent to increase spending for indigent defense to accomplish real justice than to have to pay over $50,000 per year per innocent inmate who is sentenced to many years in prison due to inadequate representation. Wrongful convictions are substantially more expensive than the cost for upgrading public defenders' budgets.
The USDOJ has made several grants recently to curtail wrongful convictions and to stop prisons' revolving door for mentally dysfunctional people. Regarding the shocking propensity courts have to ignore evidence of innocence that arrives after conviction, Attorney General Holder made it clear that real justice must take precedence over procedure.
Excessive sentencing is also unnecessarily cruel and expensive. Yet, in Mississippi, two sisters were given life sentences for the theft of $11, and they, too, have a strong case for innocence - the Scott Sisters. Many people believe Gladys and Jamie Scott were wrongly convicted just as they assert, but even if they are guilty, life sentences for $11 with no one physically harmed seems to be excessive sentencing. They have already been imprisoned for around 15 years. Mississippi taxpayers are sentenced right along with the women, because taxpayers must foot the bill.
The petition for the Scott Sisters is at the link below:
California inmate, Jeremy Smith, has been schizophrenic since childhood. He was arrested for hitting another mental patient in a mental health facility. He caused no lasting damage. That act of aggression from Jeremy, a sick young man, has already costed California taxpayers over $70,000 per year, because Jeremy is isolated in the "hole," which is solitary confinement. His mom reports that Jeremy was sentenced for EIGHT YEARS.
Allegedly, Jeremy said some things to a prison guard that were not nice. Now he faces additional sentencing for making "terrorist threats." This is how a simple battery on the part of a mentally ill person can easily turn into life in prison - SOMETHING YOU, THE TAXPAYERS, FINANCE - the criminalization of mental illness. Please pray for Jeremy and his mom, Care2 member, Gina. Pray for all mentally ill people in dark, 9' 6' cells today, where they are usually naked and always alone. Pray for our officials who allow this to continue.
Charges/Dispositions CountTypeCodeSectionCharge DescriptionCharge DispositionDisposition Date 001 F PC 422 THREATEN WITH INTENT TO TERRORIZE 002 F PC 76(A)(1) THREATEN/ETC CERTAIN STATE OFFICIALS/JUDGES/ETC
Sentence Information ** n/a - no convicted charges **
Scheduled Hearings Notes: 1. For Metropolitan Division cases: If the Div/Dept is 1-17, A-K or T then the Div/Dept is your courtroom number. If the Div/Dept is other than those listed in the previous sentence see the information desk near the escalator for your courtroom number. 2. If a defendant has more than one hearing scheduled for the same date and time, he or she should appear on the felony case first. 3. Calendars for each court may periodically change as court schedules are modified by court personnel. Persons viewing the court calendar assume full responsibility for appearing at the proper date and time and at the proper court irrespective of the information contained herein.
Hearing Date/TimeHearing LocationDiv/DeptHearing Type 09/10/2009, 08:30AM Metro Division - 1415 Truxtun CC HEARING ON REPORT: PC 1368-1370 10/15/2009, 08:30AM Metro Division - 1415 Truxtun CC HEARING ON REPORT - PC 1368 11/25/2009, 09:00AM Metro Division - 1415 Truxtun RH READINESS 12/07/2009, 09:00AM Metro Division - 1415 Truxtun 01 JURY TRIAL
Aliases Defendant nameSMITH, JEREMY Aliases SMITH, JEROMY
JAIL IS THE LAST THING THAT MENTAL PATIENTS NEED, AND TOO OFTEN, IT IS THE VERY LAST THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join our effort to decriminalize mental illness. No one deserves to be punished for having a disability.
Gina, Jeremy's mom, informed me that Jeremy is in danger of having his prison term lengthened because he made a terrorist threat to a guard. Jeremy's case shows the prison profittering game - arrest mental patients and withhold their meds - then wait for them to do something to add more time to their sentences. This provides an excuse to bill taxpayers FOREVER to criminalize mental illness in someone like Jeremy, a schizophrenic. Can California really afford to keep paying over $50,000 per year per mental patient to incarcerate thousands of people for being sick? I suppose it can - all California has to do is close some more parks and schools and reduce services to the elderly and needy.
The sin is not only against Jeremy, but against California taxpayers. If this sick young man gets a THIRD STRIKE because he talked bad to a guard, taxpayers could pay $3 million over the course of Jeremy's lifetime to imprison him for being sick. It is time for taxpayers to demand Assisted Outpatient Treatment programs in every state. While YOUR services are being cut, prison profiteers improve their portfolios and many sick people like Jeremy Smith suffer. See Jeremy Smith's closed petition and read some of the responses at this link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/JusticeForJeremy
When California and other states get serious about saving money without sacrificing public services and programs, they should decriminalize mental illness and repeal the death penalty. Those two changes will save billions off state budgets, restore hundreds of thousands of mental patients to wholesome living, promote humane treatment for psychiatric patients, and restore justice.
************* Please note that I did not publish the news below, and neither would I have chosen the photo. However, it may be useful for you to read the comments at the article.
The governor wants to kick 90 percent of the low-income elderly, blind and disabled clients out of the In Home Supportive Services Program, despite the fact that IHSS saves California taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
JUNE 2009 UPDATE- Jeremy faces additional charges for making terrorist threats to a guard! This is what happens to mentally ill people who are criminalized. They keep getting additional time added to keep them longer and continue billing taxpayers. Again, the prosecutor offered this sick young man the opportunity to sign a PLEA DEAL on the new charge although his mother holds his power of attorney and his signature should not be counted on legal papers! PLEASE HELP JEREMY! DON'T WATCH HIM DIE IN PRISON FOR BEING SICK.
GINA CRIES HERSELF TO SLEEP most nights and spends her off days trying to get our justice system to do justice for her son, Jeremy. Jeremy Smith suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and has an IQ between 50 and 70. Gina has her son's power of attorney, but when Jeremy was charged with a crime, the prosecutor talked Jeremy into signing a plea deal sentencing him to eight years in prison. His crime? He hit another patient at a mental hospital, but caused no lasting injury.
The sad truth is that sick U.S. citizens like Jeremy are used to boost profits for private prisons. Each inmate in the general prison population costs taxpayers up to $50,000 per year to warehouse, although 2/3 of them are non-violent offenders. Prison labor programs frequently use inmates to manufacture goods prison owners sell, and private prison stocks are traded on Wall Street. Mentally ill and dying inmates are even more lucrative for private prison owners. Taxpayers pay up to $100,000 per year, per patient to warehouse acute mental patients, usually under cruel living conditions, often without adequate medical or psychiatric care. Approximately 1.25 million inmates suffer mental illness, mostly as a result of closing mental hospitals and reducing services in communities.
Jeremy has been in prison before for hitting someone. In fact, Jeremy spent FOUR YEARS in "the hole," a space no larger than a closet where he lived naked in solitary confinement 23 hours per day. When released from the hole, Jeremy had lost about 60 pounds, was too weak to stand on his own, and could not speak a complete sentence. Jeremy was so malnourished and traumatized after his torture that Gina thought he might die.
After being stabilized in the mental hospital, Jeremy was transferred to a facility nearer to his mother. As the new kid on the block, Jeremy was targeted by aggressive psychiatric patients. Jeremy again hit someone, and that is why Jeremy is again back in prison suffering in"the hole" where he has been for a year now. Gina has not heard directly from Jeremy in six months, and the prison refuses to allow her to see her sick son. A prison doctor reported to Gina in March 2009 that Jeremy is deteriorating, but psychiatric treatment is denied.
JUNE 2009 UPDATE- Jeremy faces additional charges for making terrorist threats to a guard! This is what happens to mentally ill people who are criminalized. They keep getting additional time added to keep them longer and continue billing taxpayers. Again, the prosecutor offers this sick young man the opportunity to sign a PLEA DEAL on the new charge. Please help Jeremy.
Seven inmates reportedly died in this year in California prisons from tooth decay. Infection from their rotten teeth entered their bloodstreams and killed them. Gina knows that Jeremy is unlikely to receive proper psychiatric treatment while imprisoned.
1. The undersigned petitioners demand that the plea bargain Jeremy Smith signed that was used to condemn him to eight years in prison must be revoked because of his borderline retardation and acute mental illness. The power of attorney Gina has for her son must be fully honored.
2. We demand that mentally ill people be treated as hospital inpatients, not prison inmates. Sick people cannot be punished into a state of mental health.
3. We demand that since taxpayers are charged significantly more for the care of sick inmates, they must actually receive health care. Torture is not a part of their sentencing.
Thank you. ************** NOTE:PETITIONERS, please record the number beside your signature and check back frequently to see how support grows for Jeremy. Decriminalizing mental illness is a human rights effort that could reduce profit margins for some.
You can contact Jeremy's mother by email at: email@example.com ~ If you can assist Gina and Jeremy in addition to supporting this petition by endorsing it and sending it to your friends and online groups, please let her know. This family is counting on YOU.
JAIL IS THE LAST THING MENTAL PATIENTS NEED ... AND TOO OFTEN, JAIL IS THE LAST THING THEY EXPERIENCE. Please join us in our quest to decriminalize mental illness in America. No one should be punished for having a disability
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