Primary Day

There's a reason to celebrate today here in North Carolina. It's Primary Day!

I didn't get up early enough to vote this morning but I'm happy anyway. Why, you ask. Well, it's actually simple. This marks, if not the end, at least a dramatic lessening of political commercials on TV. They get very annoying after a while!

In other political thoughts, this past Sunday, on CBS's 60 Minutes, there was a segment on people who were falsely convicted in Texas. The focus was on Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade who was a top prosecutor for more than 30 years.

It was the late Henry Wade, a Texas legend, who ran the district attorney's office from 1951 to 1987. He was famous for prosecuting Jack Ruby in the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald as well as being the defendant in "Roe v. Wade."

In the program it was made quite clear that as a DA, Wade often went the extra mile in getting his convictions. That extra mile apparently included fabricating evidence, not complying with discovery laws and often concealing exculpatory evidence. All very naughty.

Michelle Moore and Jeff Blackburn are lawyers for The Innocence Project of Texas, a nonprofit group investigating wrongful prosecutions. According to Moore, "Prosecute at all costs, it doesn't matter what they have as far as evidence. But if they've got anything that could tie this person into the case, then they were going to pursue the case against that person, even if it meant that they overlooked other suspects in a crime."

"Dallas got a reputation as the hardest, roughest county in the state. This was the one county that you did not wanna get accused of a crime in, because in this county, if you got charged with a crime you were likely gonna go to prison," Blackburn adds.

Anyway, the reason I mention all this is because the problem keeps cropping up. Here in the RTP area we had a nasty case 2 years ago in which the Durham DA, Mike Nifong, tried to railroad a number of Duke University Lacrosse players despite having clear evidence of their innocence. He's been disbarred as a result of his gross misconduct. Too bad tar & feathering is out of vogue. He deserves it. But as long as prosecutors are evaluated purely on conviction rate this sort of misconduct will keep occurring. I'm a little short on alternatives tho.

An interesting thing popped up when I was looking up references for this post. According to this PBS site, Bush jr wasn't responsible for all those Texas executions. While he did gather up some political hay for his death penalty stance, the executions were completely out of his hands. In Texas, governors aren't given clemency powers. Who knew?

Comments

tiff said…
governors in tx have almost NO power, so using that to make political hay is a naughty thing to do...

And didn't we in NC just let a few dudes on death row go for legal reasons? I heard one man yesterday say that after 10 years on death row he had a ot of catching up to do. I can only imagine.
rosemary said…
I remember the Duke fiasco....I am sick of the TV political ads too....we get the east coast stations on TV so I will be getting the results soon.
kenju said…
You DIDN'T vote??? Shame on you, Dave!
utenzi said…
It might be unfortunate, but I am shameless, Judy.

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