Posts Tagged ‘physical evidence’

Judge Says 1944 Execution Of 14-Year-Old Boy Was Wrong

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

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More than 70 years after South Carolina sent a 14-year-old black boy to the electric chair in the killings of two white girls in a segregated mill town, a judge threw out the conviction, saying the state committed a great injustice.

George Stinney was arrested, convicted of murder in a one-day trial and executed in 1944 – all in the span of about three months and without an appeal. The speed in which the state meted out justice against the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century was shocking and extremely unfair, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote in her ruling Wednesday.

“I can think of no greater injustice,” Mullen wrote.

The girls, ages 7 and 11, were beaten badly in the head with an iron railroad spike in the town of Alcolu in Clarendon County, about 45 miles southeast of Columbia, authorities said. A search by dozens of people found their bodies several hours later.

Investigators arrested Stinney, saying witnesses saw him with the girls as they picked flowers. He was kept away from his parents, and authorities later said he confessed.

His supporters said he was a small, frail boy so scared that he said whatever he thought would make the authorities happy. They said there was no physical evidence linking him to the deaths. His executioners noted the electric chair straps didn’t fit him, and an electrode was too big for his leg.

During a two-day hearing in January, Mullen heard from Stinney’s surviving brother and sisters, someone involved in the search and experts who questioned the autopsy findings and Stinney’s confession. Most of the evidence from the original trial was gone and almost all the witnesses were dead.

It took Mullen nearly four times as long to issue her ruling as it took in 1944 to go from arrest to execution.

Stinney’s case has long been whispered in civil rights circles in South Carolina as an example of how a black person could be railroaded by a justice system during the Jim Crow era where the investigators, prosecutors and juries were all white.

The case received renewed attention because of a crusade by textile inspector and school board member George Frierson. Armed with a binder full of newspaper articles and other evidence, he and a law firm believed the teen represented everything that was wrong with South Carolina during the era of segregation.

Frierson said he heard about the judge’s decision from a co-worker. He had to attend a school board meeting later in the day, so the news hadn’t sunk in yet.

“When I get home, I’m going to get on my knees and thank the Lord Almighty for being so good and making sure justice prevailed,” Frierson said.

Attorneys argued that Stinney should get a new trial, but Mullen went a step further by vacating Stinney’s conviction. Her 29-page order included references to the 1931 Scottsboro Boys case in Alabama, where nine black teens were convicted of raping two white women. Eight of them were sentenced to death.

The convictions were eventually overturned before the teens went to the death chamber and the charges were dropped. Mullen noted Stinney did not even get the consideration of an appeal.

The judge was careful to say her ruling doesn’t apply to other families who felt their relatives were discriminated against.

“The extraordinary circumstances discussed herein simply do not apply in most cases,” Mullen wrote.

Chris Brown And Drake Fight At WIP In NYC (Video)

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Brown has given a statement to NYPD investigators about the scuffle that left him with a gash on his chin and seriously injured one of his bodyguards, Big Pat. Unnamed law enforcement sources told the site that Brown’s celebrity lawyer, Mark Geragos, has handed over unspecified “physical evidence” that allegedly implicates Drake in the fight.

One of the rappers hanging with Drake that night, Meek Mill, has denied reports that he set the fight off by tossing a bottle at Brown’s group. Drake has also said he had nothing to do with the melee, issuing a statement on Thursday that read, “Drake did not participate in any wrongdoing of any kind last night at W.i.P. He was on his way out of the club when the altercation began. [Drake] did not engage in any activity which resulted in injury to person or damage to property.”

TMZ added that Geragos presented evidence to the NYPD on Thursday that allegedly showed that Drake and Meek were the aggressors, just hours after Breezy spoke to cops. Police say neither Brown nor Drake are currently suspects in the case and the Brown is being treated as a “witness and a victim.” And while Drake has reportedly been “cooperating” with investigators and his representatives have had conversations with police, it was unclear at press time if the rapper had been involved in any direct talks with detectives.

Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader who is also a teacher indicted for sex with high school student

Friday, March 30th, 2012

OVINGTON, Ohio – A Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader faces prison time after being indicted by a grand jury Thursday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a teenage student while teaching at an Ohio high school, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The Kenton County grand jury in Covington, just south of Cincinnati, indicted Sarah Jones on first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts. Each charge carries up to five years in prison, if Jones is found guilty.

Cheryl Jones, the cheerleader’s mother, was indicted on a charge of tampering with physical evidence related to her daughter’s case.

The lawyer representing the mother and daughter, Charles T. Lester Jr., said both women will plead not guilty.

“Sarah has maintained her innocence. The indictment of her mother is completely baseless,” Lester said in a statement to the Enquirer.

Sarah Jones resigned from her post at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Ohio, last November, after five years teaching English. She was 26 at the time.

The cheerleader appeared on a number of national TV shows in 2009 after launching a legal campaign against website The Dirty.com, which had posted pictures of her with comments saying she had had sex with Bengals players and had two sexually transmitted infections.

In January, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman found that TheDirty.com was not shielded from liability, a decision that the website has appealed to the sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, the Enquirer reported.