Dorina Lisson, my Aussie human rights activist friend, sent me the following e-mail with a link to a four-page article describing flaws in the trial and conviction of Jermaine Wright who has been roosting on Delaware’s death row for 20 Years:
Death sentence overturned
Delaware man Jermaine Wright, who has spent 20 years on death row could be freed
Superior Court Judge John A. Parkins Jr. overturned the conviction and death sentence of Jermaine Wright. Parkins said he had ”no confidence” in the evidence against Wright, despite a videotaped confession.
Laurie L. Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said; “It should make everyone stop and gasp that a man could come so close to being put to death when there were so many problems with his conviction. Bells and sirens should go off for the criminal justice system, that such stunning turnarounds are happening more and more in cases like this one, cases that are 10, 15 or 20 years old. This is probably why we are seeing that juries are less and less willing to give the death penalty. We are seeing how easy it is to get it wrong.”
Here is how I responded to Dorina:
You’ve done it. You’ve succeeded in getting me to switch to your side. I am now unalterably opposed to the death penalty. How could I do otherwise with so many innocent victims of a corrupt criminal justice system sitting on death row or serving life terms in prison. I’m sick to my stomach for my past stance. It’s all I can do to keep from puking.
But wait a minute, I must be out of my mind. I just got through reading all four pages of the linked article and while the investigation obviously had flaws, there is nothing in the story that proves this scumbag is innocent. On the other hand, there is his confession. The fact that he changed the details several times does not mean the confession is invalid.
As for being under the influence of heroin during his interrogation, that should not invalidate the confession either. When I was a cop I dealt with many heroin addicts and when I was a California parole agent, I had a special case load of only heroin addicts. I have dealt with many addicts under the influence and believe me when I tell you that they can be completely rational at the time. The fact that Wright ate slips of paper and curled up in a fetal position during the interrogation is not indicative of someone under the influence of heroin, but it is indicative of someone putting on an act.
So I hate to disappoint you, but I’m switching back to my old self as a committed advocate for the death penalty.