Saturday, January 14, 2006

Just Deserts

Xavier Thoughts

This made the news earlier this week and I was too busy to comment on it. In 1981, Roger Coleman raped his sister-in-law and mudered her. The wife of his brother. A family member.

He said he was innocent. He claimed his innocence all the way to the execution.

DNA tests last week proved beyond a shadow of a doubt. Proved to an absolute, medical certainty, that Roger Coleman raped and murdered the sister of his brother, then, he lied about it.

For a long time, Roger Coleman was a favored son of the nutcases who want the death penalty abolished. Those nutcases favor repealing the death penalty because of the chance that an innocent person might be executed, and they thought they had an example with Roger Coleman. They were wrong, wrong, wrong.

We don't judge people in the United States. We judge evidence. Every person convicted by a jury is convicted on the evidence at the time. If the evidence is against you, you are found guilty.

Yes, there are innocent people in US prisons, and both prosecutors and defense attorney's make every effort to see that the innocent don't go to jail. The Innocence Project has done remarkable work in the past several years, freeing those wrongfully accused, through new scientific tests that might not have been available at the time of their original conviction. I applaud their work. However.

Roger Coleman didn't deserve clemency. He lied to everyone, including his family. He said he was innocent. The good people of Virginia convicted him based on the best evidence they had at the time. In what is a remarkable aspect of the case, they finalized his conviction just 11 years later. Turns out they were right.

Ole Tookie Williams from California last year. He said he was rehabilitated, although he never admitted killing the people he killed. Tookie lied by omission, and nutcases tried to have him reprieved.

Death Row inmates lie. They lie to the people that love them most. They lie to the people who try to save them. They adjust to the prison setting and try to wiggle out of their offenses, knowing that every day they are alive is a victory for them. They cast blame and deceit into every corner of the prison system. They lie to their families, they lie to each other, they lie to prison officials. They lie to you.

Roger Coleman did it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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