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Old 01-05-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
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Cleared after 35 years in jail!

I was totally apalled at the Tim Master's case but this is even more a travesty of justice!

BARTOW, Fla. — James Bain used a cell phone for the first time Thursday, calling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Mobile devices didn't exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field.

Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.

"Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost," said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the Florida Innocence Project, which helped Bain win freedom. "Today is a day of renewal."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34467096...me_and_courts/
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:02 AM   #2
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I was totally apalled at the Tim Master's case but this is even more a travesty of justice!

BARTOW, Fla. — James Bain used a cell phone for the first time Thursday, calling his elderly mother to tell her he had been freed after 35 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.

Mobile devices didn't exist in 1974, the year he was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping a 9-year-old boy and raping him in a nearby field.

Neither did the sophisticated DNA testing that officials more recently used to determine he could not have been the rapist.

"Nothing can replace the years Jamie has lost," said Seth Miller, a lawyer for the Florida Innocence Project, which helped Bain win freedom. "Today is a day of renewal."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34467096...me_and_courts/
I read about this, and I was shocked, that he had spent all those years in jail... Geeze... how would you FEEL?

I really hope he can just get on with his life, although I expect 'jail' would be 'his life' by now... Poor man...
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:03 AM   #3
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This poor man, and his suffering mother.

Why the delay in the DNA testing?

Quite frankly, they really screwed up.

Cheers
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:14 AM   #4
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He should be thankful he was incarcerated in Florida rather than Texas. Jeb Bush was never quick to execute but GWB jr couldn't wait to pull the switch. At least in Florida he was still alive when found innocent.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:56 AM   #5
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Good point. Gawd only knows how many innocents have been executed over the years...

Certainly many witches I guess...but even in modern times many, I'm sure. Justice is not always just.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
Good point. Gawd only knows how many innocents have been executed over the years...

Certainly many witches I guess...but even in modern times many, I'm sure. Justice is not always just.
As a former prosector, however, I can tell you that we do the best we can. I've never worked a death penalty case, but I have sent men to prison for life for sexual offenses. I had a bright-eyed law student ask me a few years ago if I ever felt guilt over that, and my answer was no. If I didn't think that the evidence supported a case, I wouldn't have prosecuted it. As technology changes, so too does the profession. Shows like Law and Order and CSI give the public, and juries, the mistaken impression that you can run DNA tests off in 30 seconds. It could take months for a DNA test to come back from the state crime lab when i was a prosecutor. The "CSI Jury" is part of why I transitioned out of criminal law.

It is easy to be appalled, in hindsight, at a wrongful conviction just so much as the salem witch trials as travesties of injustice. But its also easy to forget that newspapers don't report it when DNA evidence proves that the prosecution and police at the time got it right. That doesn't sell papers, after all. And I don't know the particulars of this trial. It could have been an egregious miscarriage of justice by all involved - the arresting officers, the witnesses, the prosecution, AND the jury. So please, don't take my comments to refer to that particular case.

The Innocence Project was in its infancy when I was in lawschool, and I appreciate the work that they do. It keeps folks in my old job honest. They are largely made up of volunteer attorney's and law students trying to make a difference, and I applaud that. I am always just a little nervous that when one of these cases gets alot of attention that it paints too many in the criminal judicial system with the "crooked" moniker.

Just my view from the other side of the fence.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:31 AM   #7
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This report is from 2009. He's been free for a year now. $1.75 million seems very little for spending the 35 years from age 19 to age 54 in prison.

Here's a more recent case from Texas: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12115208

Cornelius Dupree Jr was in jail for 30 years. He was freed in July last year, and his conviction has now been officially overturned.

Two exceptional cases for the length of time served, but only two of many otherwise similar cases.

All reasons why I'm completely opposed to the death penalty.


[EDIT: I noticed (nine posts later) that this was my 4,000th post on Mobileread. Well, it could have been a lot more trivial, I suppose. I'm pleased with the last sentence.]

Last edited by pdurrant; 01-07-2011 at 05:22 AM. Reason: 4000th post!
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:36 AM   #8
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As a former prosector, however, I can tell you that we do the best we can.
Perhaps I should say that I'm sure that's the case for the vast majority of people involved in prosecutions. I have every sympathy for people doing a difficult and necessary job.

Mistakes are inevitable. People needn't be malicious or incompetent for mistakes to be made. (Although of course, that helps. For an example of incompetence, see http://www.innocenceproject.org/Cont...lter_Swift.php )
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:41 AM   #9
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As a former prosector, however, I can tell you that we do the best we can. ...


Not disputing that at all. The law may be imperfect (like science) but it is the best tool we have.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:11 AM   #10
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I recently did jury duty... It was a rape case... From the evidence I could not find him guilty, but the other 11 jurors did... We had to continue to deliberate the next day, because I wouldn't/couldn't change my mind... The next day I had another 4 jurors with me, but not the other 7...

I don't know if he had to be re-trialed.

The funny thing was - People took it personally - some of them wouldn't even look at me, they were so offended... Oh.. well... you can't help bad luck...



Quote:
Originally Posted by astrangerhere View Post
As a former prosector, however, I can tell you that we do the best we can. I've never worked a death penalty case, but I have sent men to prison for life for sexual offenses. I had a bright-eyed law student ask me a few years ago if I ever felt guilt over that, and my answer was no. If I didn't think that the evidence supported a case, I wouldn't have prosecuted it. As technology changes, so too does the profession. Shows like Law and Order and CSI give the public, and juries, the mistaken impression that you can run DNA tests off in 30 seconds. It could take months for a DNA test to come back from the state crime lab when i was a prosecutor. The "CSI Jury" is part of why I transitioned out of criminal law.

It is easy to be appalled, in hindsight, at a wrongful conviction just so much as the salem witch trials as travesties of injustice. But its also easy to forget that newspapers don't report it when DNA evidence proves that the prosecution and police at the time got it right. That doesn't sell papers, after all. And I don't know the particulars of this trial. It could have been an egregious miscarriage of justice by all involved - the arresting officers, the witnesses, the prosecution, AND the jury. So please, don't take my comments to refer to that particular case.

The Innocence Project was in its infancy when I was in lawschool, and I appreciate the work that they do. It keeps folks in my old job honest. They are largely made up of volunteer attorney's and law students trying to make a difference, and I applaud that. I am always just a little nervous that when one of these cases gets alot of attention that it paints too many in the criminal judicial system with the "crooked" moniker.

Just my view from the other side of the fence.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:23 AM   #11
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$1.75 million seems very little for spending the 35 years from age 19 to age 54 in prison.
Indeed, and this is why I had the following idea a long time ago:

People who go to jail should start earning a special "jail income" from day 1, paid by the state, at the level of, say, a high-ranking company officer. The money is deposited every month onto a special bank account, like a salary, but held in escrow. This "salary" gets appraised every year the inmate stays in prison, like an employee's would.

When the inmate gets out of jail, they "lose their job" so to speak, but the money accrued during their time in the pokey remains in escrow. When they die, the money is paid back to the state.

If they are retried and found not guilty later on, they get to keep the income for the rest of their life (or they get it back if they were already out of jail), and the money in escrow is released to them.

This would achieve 3 things:

- The state would have a powerful incentive to get the judicial system to serve justice fast;

- The longer someone stays in the slammer for nothing, the more money they'd have to make up for lost years when they get out. It wouldn't ever replace the lost years, but it'd be better than nothing;

- Someone who's innocent but strongly believes they'll be free again some day view the time they spend in jail as a kind of a job, perhaps easing their predicament from a psychological point of view.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:16 AM   #12
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I recently did jury duty... It was a rape case... From the evidence I could not find him guilty, but the other 11 jurors did... We had to continue to deliberate the next day, because I wouldn't/couldn't change my mind... The next day I had another 4 jurors with me, but not the other 7...

I don't know if he had to be re-trialed.

The funny thing was - People took it personally - some of them wouldn't even look at me, they were so offended... Oh.. well... you can't help bad luck...
Peer pressure and opinions/beliefs is quite amazing.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:37 AM   #13
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Peer pressure and opinions/beliefs is quite amazing.
Its why many law schools offer entire classes on jury selection.
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:50 AM   #14
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And why so much time is spent in "profiling" and selecting the jury before the trial ever starts.....

Almost like cheating in a way. Seems to me maybe that part of the legal process needs some changes...
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:56 AM   #15
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And why so much time is spent in "profiling" and selecting the jury before the trial ever starts.....

Almost like cheating in a way. Seems to me maybe that part of the legal process needs some changes...
I actually never "profiled" a jury pool. That really only happens in massive corporate cases and criminal cases involving famous folks. Jury consultation is as expensive as hell, and often does little good. The bottom line is that you can guess how someone will think based on age, race, gender and profession, but at the end of the day, its still always a crapshoot.
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