Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Is this Standard being met?

This is a reprint from the April 15, 2006 Constant Contact Newsletter.  Though it's not about Scott's case, it certainly speaks to the prevalent public attitude that contributes to wrongful convictions.  Time after time, when various aspects of the State's case have been proven to be wrong, people don't change their minds about Scott's innocence, they just change their theory on how he did it and thus got away with it.
Ray Krone was sentenced to death after being convicted for the 1991 killing of Kim Ancona, a bartender at a Phoenix lounge where he played darts. His conviction was based largely on expert testimony that supposedly matched his teeth with bite marks found on the victim.
That first conviction was overturned on technicality, including the failure of prosecutors to disclose that another dental expert said the bite marks did not match. A second trial resulted in a new conviction. But this time the judge refused to impose the death penalty, saying there were questions about whether Krone was the real killer.
Finally, in April 2002, Krone was freed through DNA evidence. He asked a question that haunts those who are concerned about the rising toll of wrongful convictions.
"I didn't do it, so how could there be unquestionable evidence that I did?"
His question demands an answer -- from those 24 Jurors and from the American people.
Whether we like it or not, the buck for these wrongful convictions stops with the jurors, fellow Americans. I fear that to most Americans, beyond reasonable doubt means the defendant is guilty if there is any doubt at all this he or she is innocent -- just the opposite of what it's supposed to be.
This attitude is not only unconstitutional, it is highly immoral. It's an attitude that must change.

2 comments:

The guy next door said...

Thank you for the post...I was recently trying to express to a friend why this case and others like it are all to common.

Burkey said...

Yes.