Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CRIME NEWS: Will DNA Tests Free Johnnie Lindsey on Friday?

Let's hope Friday is a very, very good day for Johnnie Earl Lindsey.

That's because on Friday morning in the Crowley Courts Building, a judge may well order Mr. Lindsey's release from jail after Johnnie Lindsey's served almost 26 years for a crime he didn't commit.

That's right: they got the wrong guy back in 1981, for the rape of a 28-year-old woman near White Rock Lake. The victim identified Johnnie Lindsey as her rapist based upon six photos; only two photos showed men without shirts on (her rapist was shirtless) and Johnnie was one of those two.

Just one more example of how faulty eyewitness testimony can be.

No one listened to Mr. Lindsey when he argued that it couldn't have been him: he was at work at the time (he pressed pants and things at a commercial laundry and cleaners). Until now.

Thanks to The Innocence Project, Johnnie Lindsey's DNA has been compared to the DNA evidence from the crime scene. DNA has scientifically ruled out Mr. Lindsey as the rapist.

According to the Innocence Project, Johnnie Lindsey will be the 19th man in Dallas County to be cleared of a crime, after being convicted, since 2001.

The Integrity of Johnnie Lindsey

Mr. Lindsey is now 56 years old, setting in a jail cell assumedly relieved that the innocence he's been proclaiming though two jury trials and countless parole hearings has been recognized.

And why wasn't he released on parole long ago? Because of the severity of the crime, and the fact that he would not admit that he was guilty of raping anyone.

Johnnie Lindsay sat in jail since rather than confess to something that he didn't do, in order to gain his freedom. I think that's called integrity in some circles. Imagine that.

Think of it. Think of how long this man held onto his innocence, despite the sacrifice. To give you an idea, back in 1981:

1. Ronald Reagan was President;
2. Dallas was the most popular TV show;
3. "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes won a Grammy as the Record of the Year (that's right, record);
4. Chariots of Fire won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn won Oscars for their acting in On Golden Pond; and
5. Marcus Allen won the Heisman trophy and the Oakland Raiders won the Super Bowl.

Seems cruel and unusual that Mr. Lindsey has to wait until Friday, doesn't it? And, to Mr. Lindsey: good luck to you, sir, and God Bless.



The Innocence Project

Monday, September 15, 2008

CRIME NEWS: Can Casey Anthony Get A Fair Trial and Why We Should Care

Casey Anthony may have never set foot in our fair State of Texas, but what she's experiencing over in Orlando, Florida, is coming into our homes on a daily basis.

And that's good -- because we all need to be watching to see how Casey Anthony's rights are being respected over there in Florida. Because her loss of rights today does impact upon your rights, as well.

Your rights are only as safe as hers are.

What's This Case About?

The bottom line to the case is Casey Anthony's 3 year old daughter, Caylee, has been missing since June and mom Casey didn't report her missing until 31 days later - and then, she tagged onto a 911 call made by her mother, and the little girl's grandmother, Cindy Anthony.

Since that 911 call, Casey Anthony has been charged with child neglect, filing a false statement, and check fraud. She's out on bond in excess of $500,000 and is currently on house arrest in her parents' home, spending her days in the law offices of her attorney, Jose Baez.

What's Her Attorney Been Doing?

1. This past Thursday, Baez filed a motion seeking a court order to stop the prosecution's testing and handling of forensic evidence until the Judge can set rules on how this testing should occur. Baez is arguing that forensic testing can destroy the forensic samples, and he wants the Judge to oversee how this key evidence is tested, as well as what methods are used. Baez also wants a member of his defense team to observe the testing.

Why is Baez requesting all this -- even before his client is charged with anything BASED upon this evidence? He's urging that this court oversight is needed to protect Anthony's right to a fair trial.

Of course, pundits are critical of Baez's motion (just listen over at Nancy Grace) because this type of motion usually isn't filed until the client has been charged with something correlated to the forensic testing. The soil and carpet samples from her car, much less the air (yes, air) from the car's trunk, presumably connect to some type of murder charge - not the current charges that Anthony is facing.

Still, given what Baez has already seen, his motion isn't a surprise ....

2. Baez filed a Motion to Decrease the Half-Million Dollar Bail earlier, and not only was that denied by the trial court but the appellate courts upheld the bond amount. Remember, excessive bail is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution and Casey Anthony is only charged with two things in connection with this bond amount: child neglect and giving false information to the police. This is an extremely high bond for these charges.

3. Baez filed a Motion to suppress audio and video recordings of Casey Anthony communicating with family and friends while at the jail, arguing that releasing this to the press would inhibit his client's ability to get a fair trial. The Motion was denied.

What's At Stake Here?

At the time of this post, not only have the jailhouse communications been released to the media, but there's also 400 pages from the police investigation files (incident reports, etc.) readily available on the web, along with audios of interviews between the detectives and Casey Anthony. Additional charges have been made against her -- more economic charges, for writing bad checks, etc.

At the Anthony home, protesters yell and carry handwritten signs ("BabyKiller") 24/7, and one "blogger" was filmed taking away the Anthonys' trash and later combing through it for "evidence."

The neighbors' lives, as well as the Anthony family's, have to deal with this chaos now -- apparently, the police come only to break up fist fights.

Casey's parents, Cindy and George Anthony, have hired their own criminal defense attorney. Someone has offered Casey over $1,000,000 for her story and someone else has put up a reward of $250,000 for information regarding the whereabouts of little Caylee.

Why This Should Worry You

Every night, CNN devotes two hours to this story since it's all that Nancy Grace follows anymore. FoxNews usually has an hour, unless Greta Von Susteren is covering something about the presidential race.

On the web, an unbelievable amount of the police investigation files are available for anyone to download and read. Countless blogs and forums exist to chat and discuss the latest information as well as the latest rumors.

And what is the common theme here? Judgment. Casey Anthony is being judged on whether or not she did something to her child long before she is ever charged with a crime or made to face a jury.

She has a right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. You have that right, too.

She has a right to be tried fairly, with an unbiased jury who have not made up their minds in advance. You have that right, too.

It is not a question of whether or not Casey Anthony harmed her daughter. It is a question of whether or not the system is being played.

Disrespecting our system of justice is something that should make us all very, very worried.

Good luck, Jose.


OrlandoSentinel.Com (Complete Coverage of Missing Caylee Marie Anthony)

NancyGrace/CNN's Find Caylee Blog

Investigation Discovery -- Full Coverage of the Caylee Anthony Case