Archive for the ‘Constitutional Rights’ Category

The Marshall Project has a new article written by Lorea Gillespie, an investigator with The New England Innocence Project.  She talks about what it takes to hunt down witnesses for a case 23 years old.

As I virtually pass by each house on Google Maps Street View, I grow increasingly disheartened.

I’ve been in Orlando for almost two days now, and I’m worried that I’m not going to find this witness — and this witness is huge. She’s the only person who may have seen the 1989 murder I’m working on.

I’m an investigator with The New England Innocence Project, and we believe that our client, JIMMY1, is innocent, even though he was convicted 23 years ago.

I’ve spent hours driving back and forth across this city, trying dozens of addresses. Each time, I run back to my hotel room, get on the computer, and use my locations program to find more options. I try old neighbors, old roommates, old friends — anyone I can find.

No matter who I talk to, though, no one can help me. “Yeah, so-and-so lived here about a year ago, but I don’t know where she’s at now.”

Another door closes in my face.

Read the rest here.

 

Phil Locke of the Ohio Innocence Project and Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic on how the justice system frequently ignores guilt or innocence, Comment on the Nature and State of the (US) Justice System.

Also a great read, the story of Lorinda Swain who was recently exonerated after spending more than 7 years in jail.  She was freed 6 years after a judge said that there was a “significant probability” she was innocent.

Finally cleared, years after judge first ruled her guilt was dubious…

 

Richard Masterson, 43, was pronounced dead at 6:53 p.m. on Jan. 20th, 25 minutes after being administered lethal injection drugs.

“I’m all right with this,” he said. “Sometimes you have to live and die by the choices you make. I made mine and I’m paying for it.”  He said he was being sent “to a better place.”

He told his loved ones that he loved them and mouthed them a kiss.  His relatives and friends watched the execution at the prison.  The victim’s friends and family did not attend the execution.  Masterson had claimed that the January 2001 strangulation death of Darin Shane Honeycutt was an accident and he had several appeals pending before courts including 4 with the U.S. Supreme Court, but efforts to get him a stay failed.

Texas is the nation’s busiest death penalty state carrying out 28% of last year’s executions.

Masterson testified that the death of Honeycutt, 35, was part of a sex act and was an accident.  The two had met in a bar earlier that evening.  Honeycutt was an entertainer who dressed as a woman for his performances and used the stage name Brandi Houston.

Masterson’s case is full of contradictions.  Court records show that Masterson confessed to police and also in a letter to the Texas Attorney General in 2012, “I meant to kill him.  It was no accident,” he wrote to Greg Abbott.  After the death, Masterson stole Honeycutt’s car and dumped it in Georgia. He was apprehended in Florida a week later with a different stolen car.  That car belonged to a Tampa man who testified that Masterson robbed him after a similar sex episode choking.

Masterson’s attorneys revealed that Harris County’s medical examiner had questionable credentials (more…)