Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Just another snippet on the death sentence issue...


When Jason Jones was arrested in a fatal shooting in the Bronx in May, he told the police that he had been nowhere near the scene. He said he had left work, ridden the bus with some co-workers and cashed his paycheck, and later had taken a subway to see his girlfriend.

Federal prosecutors charged Mr. Jones and his older brother, Corey, in the shooting, saying they had killed the victim because he had been a government witness in drug and gun cases.

Both men could face the death penalty if the government decides to seek it.

But in recent weeks, the case has taken an extraordinary turn — because of Jason Jones’s MetroCard.

Months after the arrests, a retired detective working for Mr. Jones’s lawyers drove to a city jail located on a barge moored in the East River in the South Bronx, where Mr. Jones had been held after his arrest, and retrieved his wallet. The MetroCard was still inside.

Mr. Jones’s lawyers then asked New York City Transit to use the card to trace his movements the night of the shooting. The results supported his account, showing that the card had been used on a bus, and later on a subway roughly five miles from the shooting, just as he had described.

With that, and a photograph snapped of Mr. Jones, 26, as he cashed his paycheck, his lawyers argued that it was impossible for him to have committed the crime. Both brothers have been released on bond for now, an unusual step in a federal murder case, while prosecutors say they are continuing to investigate.

- New York Times.

Makes you think, no?

Now, it is the nature of prosecutors that once they have made an arrest then they defend that position valiantly, even if it means the death of an innocent person. The term is cognitive dissonance and the thought patterns go along the lines of (1) I am a decent person and (2) No decent person would arrest an innocent man. Therefore, as I am a decent man, the accused must really be guilty after all; we just haven't proved it yet.

Do not be surprised if the prosecutors start arguing that the accused hired a look alike to travel on the transport and collect his paycheck.


  1. I know if someone killed someone I loved, even my dog, in a cruel and needless way, I'd want them dead. Which is precisely why I think the death penalty is wrong. I think we have to progress beyond a justice system that is based on emotion and vengeance, which, as you say, gives the illusion of comforting the remaining victims but doesn't, and risks irreversible miscarriages of justice.

    I can quite see though, that no Australian government would take the trouble or make itself unpopular by actively opposing the Indonesian executions.

    I don't think keeping intractably, pathologically evil people in prison, where others have to take responsibility of guarding and caring for them is a very attractive solution either, but it seems to be all we've got. A pity they can't be spirited away to another dimension really, which I suppose when we believed in Heaven and Hell was what we thought we were doing.

  2. Interesting new concept for me: cognitive dissonance. I've just been reading up about it. I like to learn something new before breakfast - thanks!

  3. Wow the Metro card saves him..but the thought of a prosecutor will do all he ca to prove an innocent man guilty is something that really bothers me. Law procedures are as ugly as crime itself.

  4. What is that saying? Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted...? Or something like that. When you consider the death penalty on the table, it takes on completely new meaning. Scary.

  5. This particular entry makes me sick to my stomach. And it reminds me of John Grisham's The Innocent Man.

    Even if the man is freed in the end, can they replace all the time that he spent inside a cell? Could they erase the emotional trauma of being incarcerated for something he didn't do?

    These people should rot in hell.

  6. This need for vengance is a primitive feeling. I think the victims who learn to forgive get more sleep & peace than those who seek or mete out the vengance.
    Lucy's comments..I think her way.


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