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Public Enemy Number One

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/19/national/19INMA.html

Ms. Montgomery, who has 25 years' experience as a prosecutor and state lawmaker, emphasized that she had "complete confidence" in the state's convictions of those on death row. But the state, she said, has a responsibility "to continually build faith and trust in our criminal justice system."

 

What an ARROGANT, ignorant, stupid, self serving, egotistical, counterproductive, destructive statement for "Ms. Montgomery" to make.  Barry Scheck notes that "... the number of exonerations [due to tests of DNAfar outnumbers the number of inclusions", which means that her error rate in convictions is PROBABLY higher than 50%.  The Rampart Scandal in Los Angeles has uncovered more than 3,000 cases in which convictions were based on police who LIED, and even this is described by experts as "the tip of the iceberg".  Our own US Attorney General Reno is known to have LIED when she claimed that there was "child abuse" in a peaceful church in Waco, Texas, which she used to justify the government's destruction of the church and frying 82 innocent women, children, and men into crispy critters.  It is now PROVEN that forty four parents were falsely accused, tried, convicted, and/or imprisoned in Wenatchee, Washington.  The taxpayers were bilked out of $8 million to prosecute the owners of the McMartin Pre School by accusing them of 132 acts of child abuse, only to fail to get even ONE conviction (after they spent 8 years in jail).  We have already executed 32 American men who were proven after their execution to be innocent of the crime.  We have a record 2,700 men on death row and the inability of Americans to trust public servants like "Ms. Montgomery" to be doing their jobs properly makes their convictions highly questionable if not completely erroneous.

Since fiminists like her became lawyers and judges, the number of American men behind bars increased ten fold, partly because an American man is 1,000 TIMES more likely to be accused, charged, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for rape than a Japanese or an Italian or a Greek man.  Thanks to people like her, American men now constitute more than a third of the men in the world who are behind bars, even though the US is only 4.5% of the world's population. 

In the face of such overwhelming evidence of the abject incompetence of our public servants, such a statement is proof that this woman CAN NOT ever be trusted again to do her job properly.  To permit her to play ANY role in DNA testing will discredit the results of all DNA testing across the country, no matter what the results are in Ohio.  This is like putting a child in charge of a candy store after you catch the child eating all the candy and not paying for it.  She should NEVER be trusted in any position of power or authority.

 

 

December 19, 2000

 

Access by Inmates to Tests for DNA Gains Ground

By FRANCIS X. CLINES

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Greg Sailor for The New York Times
Betty D. Montgomery, the attorney general of Ohio, in her office.


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OLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 15 — "We are here to find the truth," said Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery of her new program that will offer death row inmates a chance at DNA testing to try to prove their innocence.

Critics of the legal system are already calling the program more of a public relations tease than a substantive appeals option. But the program, the Capital Justice Initiative, is the latest evidence that state officials across the country are taking note of the evolving role of DNA evidence in the appeals of criminal cases as a kind of final chance at freedom for the innocent.

The concept of felons' postconviction access to modern DNA testing is gaining ground in the face of front- page articles about miscarriages of justice in which dozens of inmates have been exonerated in recent years. Laws establishing prisoners' rights to DNA appeals have been passed in California, New York and Illinois, a state that declared a moratorium on capital punishment after an embarrassing string of investigations uncovered condemned inmates who could be proved innocent.

For the 201 inmates on Ohio's death row, the new opportunity to seek DNA redress was announced as an administrative pilot program, not a state law, and it will be firmly controlled by Attorney General Montgomery. Under the program, the state will pay for a death row inmate's requested DNA testing, costing about $1,500, providing crime scene evidence has been credibly protected across the years, something critics say has been routinely ignored by law enforcement officials.

Before agreeing to a test, the state requires that a favorable result for the inmate must be able "by itself" to produce exoneration, a requirement defense lawyers say could hobble a fair appeal in complex cases. These lawyers say the program is hedged with similar qualifications and false hopes.

"If she means it, then I applaud this minor wobbly step in the right direction," said Greg W. Meyers, chief counsel for the death penalty division of the Ohio Public Defender's Office. "But the real deal would first and foremost include legislation ordering the state's 1,000-plus law enforcement agencies to begin protecting and preserving physical evidence."

Mr. Meyers underlined the complaint of defense appeal lawyers nationwide that crucial evidence is too often destroyed or lost for lack of mandated standards.

"As we develop new technology we ought to use it," said Ms. Montgomery, adding that the death row option for DNA tests is the beginning of an effort that she hopes will next extend to rape and burglary cases, two categories often involving crime scene evidence open to DNA testing.

"It's all a resources question," she said. She added that with the state now routinely collecting and cataloging DNA evidence, she would support a statewide standard "but not a mandate" for police departments to preserve evidence indefinitely.

Mr. Meyers, complaining that the tests would be controlled by state crime technicians, said he suspected the attorney general's program was an effort to head off proposed laws to guarantee more substantial rights of inmates to DNA appeals. He said a bill to do this would be offered in the next state legislative session and would cover all prison inmates, not just those on death row.

Ms. Montgomery, who has 25 years' experience as a prosecutor and state lawmaker, emphasized that she had "complete confidence" in the state's convictions of those on death row. But the state, she said, has a responsibility "to continually build faith and trust in our criminal justice system."

Across the nation, 77 convicted criminals have been proved innocent since defense lawyers began concentrating on DNA testing seven years ago. But it is the nine of those who were on death row that have attracted the attention of the public and politicians, said Peter Neufeld, co- director of the Innocence Project, a New York organization offering free legal service in death penalty cases.

"What's interesting is that people are beginning to rethink the whole system of criminal justice," Mr. Neufeld said. He cited an example in Virginia where the recent DNA exoneration of a convicted murderer has caused state authorities to propose the broad liberalization of a much criticized restriction by which felons now have only three weeks after conviction to find and submit court evidence that might exonerate them.

Elizabeth Semel, director of the death penalty representation project of the American Bar Association, emphasized that the "devil is in the details" of the proposals emerging for extending DNA appeals. But politicians' growing attentiveness to the subject, Ms. Semel said, at least means that the public is "responding to new information that there is a far greater number of individuals than ever previously suspected who have been wrongfully convicted of capital and noncapital crimes."