FOOD FOR THOUGHT
is a series of articles that will appear on this webpage periodically, mostly speaking out about the death penalty, other injustices in our legal system, things effecting America and how America’s program effects our global community in general. It is written by a railroaded, wrongfully convicted person (R. Fisher) that has been in various PA prisons, on death row, since 1988 and is currently on the row, Waynesburg, PA. UNTIL NEXT TIME, PEACE! Robert Fisher
FOOD FOR THOUGHTS #1
On a regular base we are constantly reminded of the morally, reprehensible flaws and outright injustices in our legal system. DNA techniques and testing has exonerated numerous prisoners across this nation. Some were condemned to die and many after serving 20 or 30 years in prison. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Commonsense should come into play and allow you to understand that all those people that have been proven innocent of the charges against them were tried and convicted by a so-called jury of their peers, in courtrooms all over this country. They were supposed to be given due to process of law and everything else to get a fair and just verdict. All of their constitutional rights were supposed to be protected, etc. etc. etc.
Now, just think about it for a moment, there are hundreds of prisoners on death row awaiting execution and many more that have been sentenced to life in prison or a bunch of years for crimes that DNA was not an issue and didn’t play a major part or no part of their conviction. Most on the row and in the general prison population aren’t convicted of rape, so most of the time DNA doesn’t come into play to expose the crookedness and other injustices that took place. How many others without the safe guard of DNA will die in prison or be executed by the same state that railroaded them. Our system is supposed to be the best in the world and so good, etc. etc. but DNA techniques and testing have proven that our system isn’t that good after all, anytime people are released from prison after being locked up for the best years of their life something is seriously wrong.
Even after these miscarriages of justice have been exposed business still goes on as usual. The Penna. Courts have been dominated for years with overzealous prosecutors like Roger King, Jack McMann of Philly, Bruce Castor of Montgomery County Castelle (Currently Pa. Supreme Court Justice) just to name a few, judges like Albert Sabo of Philly and Samuel Salus of Montgomery County also just to name a couple that used every crooked trick in the book to deny due process and any resemblance of fair play.
It would be a joke if the situation wasn’t so serious on how the current U.S. Supreme Court is ignoring some basic concepts of law such as “stare Decesis”, “actual Innocence” etc. etc. following an extreme right-wing agenda. A few years back Justices Scalia & Thomas stated in a dissenting opinion words to the effect that it would be alright to execute an innocent person, as a matter of law, if he had a constitutional unflawed trial. In other words even if he was innocent and the victim suddenly appeared and you presented it to the court under “Newly Discovered Evidence” it still wouldn’t matter. Kill him or her anyway. That’s crazy.
If a person had a so-called constitutionally unflawed trial even if they are actually proven innocent they can be executed, that doesn’t make sense. This is what we are working with here in this so-called best legal system in the world. It’s not getting any better, Alito & Roberts have recently been added to the U.S. Supreme Court, two more right-wing extremist. What’s more disturbing about this whole matter is there isn’t any public outcry, so this crap is allowed to continue, business as usual!!!
FOOD FOR THOUGHTS #2
For a country dead set on putting people on death row and executing them, plus filling their jails and prisons to the brim with no other remedy in sight, they need to seriously clean up their act and least make the process appear to be fair. Too often a prosecutor sacrifices justice for a courtroom victory. The amount of major convictions, especially death penalty convictions allows them to further their political careers, moving up the ladder running for attorney general, governor, congressman and then maybe even president. Some of the crooked stuff done along the way gets overlooked. Recently, there was a news report about a police officer that pushed a mentally retarded guy through a plate-glass window. Immediately soon after the spin came out to justify it. It couldn’t be covered up because it was caught on video. I’m not going to spend this time bashing police officers because most cops try to do their job properly, and some are good people, but just as you can’t paint them all with a broad brush in regard to the bad conduct of a few, you also can’t say they are all good and do their job as they should.
Here lately, there have been a raise in police brutality and abuse cases across the nation. One of the reasons for this is because of the large percentage of the Klan and other hate groups infiltrating our police forces and prison systems. Back in the day, the Klan operated under their hoods in their customary white costumes, but nowadays they’ve changed up wearing regular police & prison uniforms, so they can put their thing down on a daily basis, backed up by the entire police force, city, county and other officials on up the chain of the governor, that’s crazy, but real and you’d better believe it.
Now we got police forces out of control, prosecutors more concerned with courtroom victories than justice and a legal system that ignores all of this continuing to lock people up, often without due process and still sending people to death row. Prosecutors that are trying to execute people while at the same time are withholding evidence favourable to the defense, knowingly using perjured testimony, denying blacks and other minorities from serving as juries and a host of other low-down crooked tactics in order to get a conviction and sentence of death.
It’s sad, but many of the average people in the community is so naïve, thinking police and prosecutors do the right thing and won’t plant evidence, use perjured testimony or any of the other things I’ve mentioned, but it will continue until these chumps are charged with attempted murder for trying to execute someone. It’ll take a strong measure like that to get them to play fair. A while back there was a prosecutor in Philly that gave classes & seminars to other prosecutors in Philly and the surrounding counties, on how to keep blacks and other minorities off the juries. This isn’t a sporting event where you high five a team mate for making a good play, this is serious business where a person is on trial for his or her life or lost liberty forever, or a bunch of years. This is a dispectable act that not only depraves the defendant of his or her constitutional right to a fair trial that satisfies the constitution but it also discriminates against the excluded juror and undermines public confidence in our system of justice. How can you say that any race of people is unfit to serve on a jury? That’s not only insulting but stupid and disgraceful to say the least.
On top of all the things I’ve mentioned so far, these chumps are still trying to speed up these executions. In April of 1996 congress passed a law (AEDPA) Anti-Terrorism and effective Death Penalty Act, in an effort to speed up executions and at the same time and first time preclude the federal courts from considering on collateral review a vast range of important constitutional challenges, barring the vindication of personal constitutional rights. Now, the “Great Writ” (Habeas Corpus) lost most of its power and teeth and can no longer be the final safe guard it has always been for life, liberty and justice for all people in this country.
FOOD FOR THOUGHTS #3
It cannot be overemphasized that our prisons are full of poor whites and people of color. That’s another reason the death penalty continues to be an appalling part of our legal system for too many. At a time when our economy is about to collapse, jobs are non-existent, some of the so-called middle class are now eligible for food stamps, we continue the costly operation of the death penalty, out of pure vengeance and political gain. That’s a sick society and the bad and insane part about it is that this notion is concocted by a few on the far right, establishing fear in the minds of the public warehousing such a large portion of society in prison and executing the undesirable element of society, yes, the poor whites & people of color that I mentioned earlier, while the rest of society follows a path like a lamb doomed to slaughter!!!
Since I read the true story written by one of the most successful author’s of modern day literature, “John Grisham” a while back, I’ve been encouraging everyone I talk to in regard to the death penalty and the injustices in our legal system in general to read this book. Grisham, being a former lawyer, familiar with our legal system was shocked himself when given an insight into the craziness of our legal system. Although the book is basically about one man’s ordeal (Ron Williamson) it gets into the story of two others and were interrelated, railroaded & wrongfully convicted, not only because of the stunts by the prosecution but also because of technicalities involved with rules of court, etc. anyway, the two others (Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot) are doing life and can’t get relief due to time limits etc. for litigating. In this so-called best legal system in the world several states have specifics in their statue that won’t allow new evidence of innocence or facts to be presented that they were railroaded & wrongfully convicted because of these technical time limit barriers. Many states won’t allow anything presented after one year. So now the U.S. Supreme Court Scalia stated and joined by Clarence Thomas that it’s alright to execute an innocent person, as a matter of law, if they had a constitutionally unflawed trial, is more appalling, if it can get any more appalling. Hundreds of people in this country, including the one’s mentioned from Oklahoma in Grisham’s book will rot in prison doing a life sentence and others will continue to be executed. Ron Williamson, the actual person that was the innocent man still had to spend 11 years of mental torture, to an already tortured mind, on death row, before the charges were dismissed in April of 1999.
What makes Scalia and Thomas (two of the most right-wing extremist on the bench) statement so idiotic and appalling is their inability to understand that if a person stands trial and the prosecutor engages in fabricating evidence, withholding exculpatory evidence and all the other crookedness that I’ve mentioned previously, how can they even fix their mouth’s to say, as a matter of law, the defendant had a constitutionally unflawed trial and if it’s a capital case that’s it’s alright to execute them? That’s crazy!!!
Another guy in Oklahoma (Calvin L. Scott) was convicted of rape, served 20 years out of a 25 year sentence, then was exonerated and released due to DNA testing, a subject previously discussed in a prior “Food for thoughts” article.
As I often mention, when prosecutors fabricate evidence, withhold evidence and all the other rotten, crooked tricks they use, they should be charged, prosecuted and sent to prison, too often they are not, but that’s the only kind of language these chumps understand, until this happens this stuff will continue. Those chumps are so arrogant the majority of the time when they get caught, they won’t even admit their wrong, they simply aren’t capable of this…
At the end of Grisham’s book “The Innocent Man” he wrote: “The journey also exposed me to the world of wrongful convictions, something that I, even as a lawyer, had never spent much time thinking about. This is not a problem peculiar to Oklahoma, far from it, wrongful convictions occur every month, in every state in this country and the reasons are varied and the same—bad police work, junk science, faulty eyewitness identifications, bad defense lawyers, and lazy and arrogant prosecutors.” Author’s note from “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham…
FOOD FOR THOUGHTS #4
One of the more disturbing things that I continue to read in opinions from the courts ist hat there was error in a specific issue, but the error was harmless. Often they refer this to a federal constitutional error. I firmly believe that in a first degree murder case, where the sentence will be death or life without the possibility of parole, any error of substance requires a reversal of that conviction. The U.S. courts are patterned after the old English courts, which constantly followed that rule. It’s only common sense, that when the penalty is so grave and the stakes are so high, you can’t mess around ignoring constitutional protections designed to protect the individual from overreaching by the powerful state. The prosecution and often co-signed by trial judges that are mostly mere extensions of the prosecution, normally try to excuse and justify these harmless-error decisions by stating that the evidence was overwhelming or/and there were tons of convincing and unchallenged evidence presented to the jury, that this evidence was harmless. That’s crazy!!!
“As a matter of law” in a capital or LWOP case, how can any error of substance reasonably be considered to be harmless? It’s well established in their own laws, rules of court and most importantly our constitution, etc. that reviewing courts aren’t to take over the job of deciding facts of the case, which is supposed to be the sole function of the trial jury. It’s simply not their job. They aren’t capable of getting into the minds of the jury that decided the case, to come up with a conclusion the tainted evidence can be deemed harmless, to do this they would be engaging in the function of the trial jury, considering what facts to apply to guilt or innocence. This defeats the whole purpose of the constitutional protection that the jury that hears the case, watches the witness testify, accesses demeanor, etc. should be the ones to decide what evidence to consider, what evidence to disregard, which witness is credible etc. etc. etc. There is no way to figure out, often years later on down the line, if the tainted evidence played any part in their decision. So, how can any fundamental fairness be guaranteed by the Due Process Clauses of the 5th & 14th Amendment???
In a capital case or any 1st degree murder case, how can reasonable person say errors of constitutional violation be unimportant or insignificant and doesn’t require reversal of the conviction? I mean, we’re talking about executing someone or sending them to prison for the rest of their lives. How can we pick and chose, arbitrarily what may have contributed to the jury’s decision to convict. In most cases where it is shown that there was a violation in jury selection, for purposeful discrimination, the conviction gets overturned, even without having to show any prejudices to the defendant, which is right and how it should be, but this also should apply to all errors of substance. The constitution requires this particular standard, straight up and down, unequlvalently!!! Well established in a long line of cases involving a variety of constitutional claims, the courts normally don’t accept this harmless error stuff. The defendant is always entitled to a fair trial free of constitutional infirmity. Courts aren’t even supposed to indulge in assessments of prejudice involved. It borders on the side of stupid to try to figure out if any prejudice resulted when it has been clearly established that the conviction may have rested on a constitutionally impermissible ground.
Intensify the Struggle!!!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #5
At a time when we as a civilized society should be trying to find ways to end this deeply flawed and irreversibly wrong application of the death penalty, some members of congress are attempting to find ways to expand its application. That’s crazy, but real. Last summer, July 9th, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a well established opponent of hate crimes legislation, tried to put his thing down. He has accumulated countless hours of speeches, sermons and outright ravings on the congressional floor, arguing against allowing any kind of hate crime legislation bill to pass, but in an effort to derail President Obama and the Democrats National Defense Authorization, Act s. 1930 (a bill making it a federal crime to assault somebody because of their sex or gender identity). Sen. Sessions is just one of the right-wing extremist in the Republican party wasting tax payers time and money playing daily & deadly games in congress, rather then conducting the meaningful work necessary to run this country. He of all people introduced that amendment to the bill that would have made perpetrators of hate crimes eligible for execution, making mockery of the system and his on-going beliefs.
Anyways, Sen. Sessions efforts didn’t work and his amendment got shot down and the assault bill did get signed into law, without the death penalty added to it, but it shows the extent these clowns will go to promote their right-wing agenda!!!
People need to get serious and pay attention to what’s going on and more importantly get out to vote, especially with the ongoing appointments to the courts…Periodic appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court and just as importantly the appointments to the federal circuit courts that decide a whole lot more cases and issues then the U.S. Supreme Court that gets to select which cases to take on. Just imagine if a Republican had been in office during Pres. Obama’s tour and got to select the last appointment that Justice Sotomayor got and would be appointing this up-coming Justice to replace Justice Stevens. Two more right-wing extremist to go along with recently appointed by Alito & Roberts, joining Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy. This would be disastrous for this country. It’s ironic how quick people seem to forget. Obama hasn’t even been in office for two years and as everyone knows was left with a collapsing economy, Wall St. and numerous financial institutions were a total wreck. Unemployment was at an all time high and on & on, but all of a sudden the “Tea Party” emerges filled with plenty of disgruntled Republicans and some Independents that have caught a sudden case of loss of memory, forgetting the last disastrous eight years of G.W. Bush and that incompetent administration. Where was the “Tea Party” people during the Bush’s tour? Where was the outrage we see now? Where was all the hollering about taxes and spending. Why didn’t they demand that the wars were paid for, instead of adding to the deficit, that they are now all of a sudden complaining about? These chumps seem to have a very selective memory, Politics!!!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #6
Most of the countries that continue to use the death penalty, including the U.S. are some of the most repressive nations in the world. The countries we join normally put their thing down in plain view. In the U.S. it’s done in a more disguised and concealed manner. The D.P. is used as a tool for law enforcement, the courts and the extreme element of our society against poor whites and people of color. Yes, I’ve talked about this before class & race always plays a part in the decision to ask for the D.P. and coming to the conclusion if the defendant deserves to live or die. The race of the victim also plays a part. Just recently 24 March 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court had to intervene and give a Texas death row prisoner (Hank Skinner) a stay of execution, but only to decide if he was right to have his DNA tested. I mean the so-called best judicial system in the world has to argue whether a condemned person can get a test that will prove his guilt or innocence!!! They’d rather execute him not knowing if he is the right person. That’s bad enough but it should matter if the real rapist and killer is still on the streets. The defense has been asking for the test for 15 years and even said a private funded DNA test could be arranged so it wouldn’t cost the state anything. The prosecutor is still fighting tooth and nail to deny this test. That’s crazy. What kind of sick society are we working with. How can we as a nation have confidence in our criminal justice system when we hear about stunts like this. We all should be outraged. In a society that claims to value individual life & liberty, but for whom??? It appears that concept is only for a chosen few!!!
Class & Race unfortunately come into play too often in the everyday dealings in our criminal justice system. Just recently, a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger) put himself in position to be accused of another crime, similar to the one he was accused of a year or so ago, (tree jumping) forcing himself on a woman in a sexual manner. He wasn’t charged even if he was is presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law. The only reason why I’m mentioning this is because the reason the D.A. (Fred Bright) from a small Georgia town, said he didn’t charge Ben with the case was because he didn’t have enough evidence to bring the charges, which is how it’s supposed to be, but my problem is that logic isn’t used across the board. In this case the person accused is not only a NFL superstar, but also a “Rich white Dude”. Is class and race a factor??? I wonder if a poor white person or person of color would get the same consideration.
I’ve seen and heard tons of times how a prosecutor would have little evidence, but came to the conclusion that he or she would allow the jury to decide. When defense lawyers ask for a judgement of acquittal after the prosecution has presented their case because the state hasn’t proved their case, judge after judge normally says he’ll let the jury decide or he doesn’t want to take it out of the juries hands or words to that effect. Most of the time overzealous prosecutors seem to always have enough evidence to bring charges against all of the lower class defendants, but as I’ve mentioned Class & Race definitely play a part!!! That same amount of evidence that the D.A. said wasn’t enough to go forward with in Ben Roethlisberger’s case, would have become overwhelming evidence if it had been a poor white or person of color with a gas station job, instead of a rich white dude and a jury in that tiny town Georgia would have convicted the, just like plenty of other poor white and people of color are rotten away in prisons down that way, as we speak!!! We have to question the fairness of this best judicial system in the world.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #7
The naive average Joe citizen is paying the price, as usual in higher taxes and unnecessary stress fort he dog 6 phony show created by law makers and the extreme right, spreading fear into the hearts and minds of all law abiding citizens so they can appear to be tuff on crime and continue to get elected over and over again. In this state the Pa. Dept. of corrections (D.O.C.) and the state board of probation & parole (BPP) are in a behind the scenes power struggle and prisoners are caught in the middle. That’s only a fraction of the people that are benefiting from an industry in the business of locking up human beings. Yes, profiting from the $50 billion per year prison industry!!! Dozens of companies compete to sell private health care systems, pharmacy plans, commissary services and surveillance systems. Telecommunication like Sprint, At & T, Nec, Global Tel Link, etc. etc. to make quick dollar on phone contracts that overcharge prisoners and their families generating an estimated $1 billion a year, at least.
Getting back to the power struggle between the D.O.C. and the B.P.P. (parole board). The D.O.C. gets about $30,000 a year per state inmate to house, maintain and secure. The B.P.P. only gets about $3,000 a year to monitor each parolee, but they jam prisoners for minor technical violations. About half the parole violators are sent back for minor technicalities like being late or missing a scheduled appointment with the parole officer or smoking a joint (marijuana). Whenever questioned about sending people back for minor stuff they come up with something to the effect of trying to avoid another incident like that of “Mudman” (Robert Mudman Simon) a parolee who killed a Jersey cop soon after being released on parole in 1995. I mean the prison doors are literally revolving, a real thriving business!!!
A few years back the U.S. Supreme Court decided it was wrong to execute juveniles in a case Roper v. Simmons 125 S.ct. 1183 and around the same time decided against executing mentally retarded in the case Atkins v. Virginia 122 S.ct. 2242 but still haven’t decided if it’s alright to sentence a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole (JLWOP) but a decision on that should come down later this year (2010). They heard oral arguments earlier this year. That shouldn’t even be hard to decide, it’s wrong. The U.S. is the only country in the world that sentences juveniles to life without any possibility of parole. That’s crazy and this state (Penna) accounts for over 500 of them, 20% of all juvenile lifers in the country. Most people recognize that a child’s mind is still developing and they can’t or shouldn’t be accountable for adult decisions until their minds develop and mature. Common sense should dictate that a person at the age of 17 and under should have a chance for parole somewhere down the line and not be locked up until death for a mistake. What kind of society and criminal justice system are we working with??? As mentioned previously, locking human beings up is a business, a much rewarding & profitable business. They even formed an organization to overlook the prison business in this country originally called the National Prison Association but renamed “The American Correction Association”. They have certification courses online for prisons and jail employees. They also have an accreditation process that claims to instill transparency & accountability which earns them a discount on prison liability insurance. They have classes and seminars on how to make it harder to sue prisons and give different prisons accreditation credits, which they claim will be a stronger defense against litigation. Unfortunately, some of the same prisons that are recently accredited, get sued anyway, and some of the juries aren’t impressed with the fact that the facility had been accredited and awarded sizable damages!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #8
The politicians are on the news daily with stuff that is better the best sitcoms, then we have Gloria Alderige, a lawyer on TV regularly representing the women that have affairs with famous people or politicians, anyone that can afford her high rates. Gloria is a pitbull that gets big settlement from the git-go most of the time, without even going to court. Ain’t nobody trying to mess with “Gang-War Gloria”. She’s a beast and the best in the game! Anyway, some of that stuff on the news is pretty comical. I mean outright amusing. Like a while back the married congressman that claims he isn’t gay but was caught red-handed in a sting, doing the “footsy move” in an airport bathroom stall. They said he didn’t the “standard foot-touching move” in the stall next to another dude, to attempt to pick up the dude for sexual activity. He was one of many that had his wife of a bunch of years, come to the platform while he denied the despicable act using her for family support or whatever!!! It seems every other day somebody is having some kind of affair, either gay or straight and much too often it’s one of our congress people. These are the same chumps that try to be so tuff on crime for re-election purposes. Nowadays, to be fair or not be in favor of the death penalty is equated to being soft on crime. To be trying to find ways for peaceful solutions and to be one not wanting to hurry war is considered soft. If you aren’t trying to police the world, dictating how the world community should act in a variety of situations is equated to being soft, but some of the main war hawks, mostly in the Republican party didn’t even serve in the military…
I’m normally pretty hard on G.W. Bush, but at least did he serve in the military, although he did pull some strings and other stunts to avoid combat and some say he came up missing for a period when he was suppose to report to duty for the Nam, but Dick Cheney Bush’s vice president at the time was the biggest war hawk in Washington. He used every trick in the book to successfully avoid the military. That chump had at least four detriments that kept him out of the service, but he was all too eager to send children of the average class American to harms ways. O.K. some may say the U.S. military is all volunteer now, which it is, so the people serving can’t complain about going to war etc., but those same people in that frame of mind fail to realize and mention that the military is also disproportionally made up of blacks and other minorities, that do the bulk of the fighting. Most of them are in the military as a source of income because of the lack of jobs and the sluggish economy that has forced many to join the military to survive. As you know, the military provides a source of income, educational benefits and training in various fields while in there and upon their return from active duty and an opportunity to honorably serve their country. I’m sure most of them didn’t expect or count on serving two or three tours in Iraq & Afghanistan etc.. Many coming home with lost limbs and many more that are damaged mentally which society will pay a price for years to come! I’m speaking first hand in this regard, as a combat Vietnam vet, wounded in action and still effecting some aspects of my life to this day, over 40 years later.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #9
The American Bar Association has been about the fairness & accuracy in the way the death penalty is administered for over 30 years and called for a nationwide moratorium on executions in 1997. They found serious flaws in the system hindering due process across the board for everyone and trying to minimize the risk that innocent people don’t get executed. Now, that may make some concerned citizens feel better, but the majority of the findings and recommendations have been ignored or fallen on deaf ears. In this state (Pennsylvania) would get an “F” if graded upon the changes made from the recommendations in the report. Penna. Has failed to comply or only partially complied with most of the recommendations of its shortcomings. Things as simple as providing an adequate funding for indigent capital case defendants. Throughout the state, from county to county the measured funding varies but none are enough for a proper defense against the ultimate penalty. Capital cases are routinely denied proper expert & investigative resources and on and on…
Pa. is only partially in compliance with the specialized training and experience required by defense lawyers statewide and there is no state funding for indigent defense services (each county is responsible). The funding is inadequate for experts and investigators, plus Pa. law does not even require or guarantee the appointment of two attorneys at all stages of the proceedings or a mitigation specialist. That’s crazy, and the least that should be required when a person is facing the maximum penalty allowed in our judicial system.The attorneys assigned to capital cases are paid mere peanuts. They should at least be paid as much as the district attorneys, but they aren’t and then they have depend on the trial judge to handle compensation, so they normally tend to try to stay on the good side of the judge during the proceedings. Many of the attorneys assigned are from small law firms, barely getting by, so there are no resources and the need to depend on the peanuts they get from the court to represent the capital case. The amount of money allowed to pay an investigator is so small you can’t get decent investigator and there isn’t much that ends up getting investigated. It’s a shame! But that’s how they roll in this state.
These chumps want to continue to create a façade to fool the public into thinking capital defendants receive a fair trial & appeal process, but all along it’s only a ruse, designed to put on a “Dog & pony show” while they railroad capital defendants using every crooked, unsavoury trick in the book in order to get a conviction and sentence of death. These chumps continue this process of “faking fairness” every step of the way during the appeal process through the court system and on up to the Governor’s desk, where he is suppose to independently review the case before signing a death warrant, however that process has also become a joke, at least the part about the Governor reviewing each case before signing off on it.
While our governor Ed Rendell was running his campaign for the Gov. election, he assured all the abolitionist groups and everyone else concerned about the D.P. that things would be done differently. He promised that he would look into and review each case before signing a death warrant. Although the abolitionist groups wanted him to have a moratorium stopping all executions until the major flaws were fixed, he wouldn’t agree to that, but re-assured them that the process would not be as it was in the past. Well, that goes to show you how people talk prior to an election and after they get into office. Ed Rendell won the elction, took office around the 20th of January of that year (2003) and signed my death warrant about 15 days later on the 5th of Feb. 2003. I was the first warrant he ever signed in his life, but if you notice he didn’t do anything different. 15 days after taking office didn’t even give him the time to move furniture around in his office, let alone review a death penalty case and sign a warrant, which he did, so it was business as usual!!! That chump couldn’t wait he got the power over life and death, signing death warrants, etc. Yes, politics as usual and the defendants get jerked around as always and the public gets fooled into thinking there is a fair & just process, forgetting we are working with overzealous prosecutors that continue to get convictions and sentences by any means necessary. Many trial judges continue to co-sign these activities because they are mere extensions of the prosecution and we can’t forget the appellant courts that normally just rubber-stamp what jumped-off.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #10
This so-called civilized society with its self-consuming vengeance mind-set continues to stumble on, using the death penalty. In Pennsylvania, the randomly haphazard system of selection of who gets charged with a capital case and who doesn’t, often depends on how sadistic the presiding judge happens to be, working with the prosecutor. Often prosecutors in PA shop around to get the worst judges available, THE HANGING JUDGES. In PA. most of the capital cases come from Philadelphia and Albert Sabo (now deceased) deemed the deadliest judge in PA. history. No judge in America, in modern times matches his record for giving death sentences and almost all of them have been young black men. Roger King (assist. District attorney) was his sidekick in many of those cases. It’s a blessing that both of these clowns are no longer involved in the prosecution of capital cases. Sabo died a few years back and King retired in 2008, but not before their blood thirsty appetite was filled. Right now, many are still suffering, on the row, from their unsavoury acts.
Some say, Roger King is a racist. Yes, he’s black, but hates not only his own blackness, but all black people in general. He made a career of prosecuting the guilty and the innocent alike, but mostly poor blacks, with little evidence and he used every unconstitutional practice available. It’s ironic of his racist attitude because he grew up in the middle of the civil-rights movement, deep in the south (Tuscaloosa, Alabama). It’s great this chump has retired, but he played a major role in tons of death penalty cases in Phila. Actually railroading dozens of prisoners to death row, but there are many more crooked prosecutors out there that are twisting laws and denying people in this state any resemblance of fair legal proceeding. King had aspirations of becoming a judge, but this dude was so rotten, people in the community of Phila. Wouldn’t support such an action, because although he did send some people to prison that deserved to be there, a bunch of innocent people also got caught up in the mix!!! That chump didn’t care anything about the innocent that got jammed, as long as he steady filled his score card with victories. In the majority of King’s cases that he prosecuted, there was a pattern of withholding / suppressing evidence by him and his office. Some of the evidence was crucial eyewitness testimony that had a bearing on the outcome of the case. Often the evidence withheld was overwhelming, convincing evidence that someone other then the person accused and on trial was, in fact the real killer. This shocks my mind, it insults the very system the prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges, as officers of the court, are sworn to uphold. That chump (Roger King) should have been tried, convicted and sent to prison instead of being allowed to retire.
In a 1995 Phila. Daily News article. Lynn Abraham, King’s boss at the time and D.A. of Phila. Praised him as “The Hank Aaron & Babe Ruth of homicide prosecutors, responsible for sending more killers to death row than anyone else in the history of Pennsylvania”; however they failed to mention anything about falsely accused innocent people that got railroaded because of his rotten, crooked, slimy low down tactics used mostly against poor black defendants!!! In August 2004, the Phila. Inquirer Newspaper reported the D.A.’s office in Phila., acted in “Bad Faith” pressing a groundless pre-trial appeal while the defendants remained in jail. (Just one of many of Roger King’s unsavoury operations) Later that year they (suspects) were released from prison after waiting six years to go to trial. That’s crazy. This is the kind of low-down slimy stuff this chump engages in and we all should be outraged & appalled! It’s especially disturbing that the courts have ignored his conduct. The integrity of our whole judicial system is on the line. There should be a congressional investigation into all of Roger King’s cases, especially the capital cases. Such conduct is reprehensible in an ordinary case, but where a person’s life is at stake, it’s beyond reprehension!!!
Robert Fisher #AS-1738
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370