A victim of the Pennsylvania Injustice System
Unless otherwise noted the work on this page is that of
Ralph T. Stokes.
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TEN (10) THINGS MOST MISSED ABOUT THE FREE WORLD?
1. FREEDOM OF BEING ABLE TO GO AND TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT.
2. MY FAMILY FATHER, MOTHER, BROTHERS AND SISTER WHO IS THE YOUNGEST OF
ALL THE CHILDREN. JUST BEING AROUND THEM DAILY AND ALL THE SMALL THINGS
WE THINK THAT'S NOT IMPORTANT. ME BEING THE OLDEST OF THEM AND ME FEELING,
IT WAS MY RESPONSIBILITY TO LOOK OVER THEM.
3. MY MOTHER AND HER COOKING WHO KNEW HOW TO COOK ~VERYTHING JUST THE
WAY I LIKE IT TO THE POINT WHERE IF I WAS EATING SOMEONE ELSE'S COOKING
IF IT WASN'T COOKED THE WAY MY MOTHER COOKED THAN IT WAS COOKED WRONG.
4. GIVING MY GRANDMOTHER A SURPRISE VISIT AND REMEMBERING JUST AS I TURNED
THE CORNER TO HER BLOCK THAT SHE LIVES ON, I COULD SEE HER BEFORE SHE SAW
ME, SITTING ON HER INSIDE PORCH LOOKING OUT IN THE EVENING AS THE SUN WAS
GOING DOWN AND ME REMEMBERING AS I WAS GETTING CLOSER TO HER HOUSE WONDERING
WHAT SHE HAD COOKED FOR DINNER.
5. FAMILY GET TOGETHERS AND COOKOUTS GETTING TOGETHER WITH FAMILY MEMBERS
YOU MAY NOT HAVE SEEN ALL YEAR LONG AND SOME EVEN LONGER AND YOU MAY NOT
SEE AGAIN UNTIL THE NEXT FAMILY GET TOGETHER OR COOKOUT.
6. COMING OUT OF MY HOUSE AND STANDING ON MY FRONT STEPS AND LOOKING BOTH
t WAYS UP AND DOWN THE BLOCK AND SEEING ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN BUSY IN THEIR
PLAYING WITH EACH OTHER AND NOT A WORRY IN THE WORLD.
7. MY BABY SISTER WHO AT THE TIME I WAS ARRESTED WAS ABOUT 1 AND A HALF
YEARS OLD WHO IS NOW 19-YEARS OLD AND ME MISSING OUT ON THIS TIME TO BE
THERE FOR HER LIKE A BIG BROTHER SHOULD. ALSO MY YOUNGEST BROTHER WHO AT
THE TIME OF MY ARREST WAS ONLY 10-YEARS OLD (WOULD'VE TURNED 11 YEARS OLDLATER
THAT YEAR WHO I FELT THAT HE AND I WERE THE CLOSEST OF MY BROTHERS. WHO
ALSO WAS MURDERED THIS YEAR ON MY BIRTHDAY FEBRUARY 8th, 2000.
8. WHENEVER I HAD A PROBLEM OR SOMETHING ON MY MIND AND JUST NEEDED TO
GET AWAY FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS TO BE BY MYSELF, I WOULD TAKE LONG WALKS SOMETIMES
TO THE PARK AND TAKE MY DOG AND BEFORE I KNEW IT WHATEVER PROBLEMS THAT
I HAD ON MY MIND WERE GONE.
9. AT LEAST ONE OR TWO SATURDAYS EVERY MONTH MY MOTHER AND AUNT WOULD
GET TOGETHER EARLY IN THE MORNING TO GO SHOPPING WHICH WOULD TAKE THEM ALL.
DAY LONG TO DO ALL THEIR SHOPPING AND HOW THEY WOULD MAKE ME AND MY COUSIN
GO WITH THEM TO CARRY THE BAGS AND REMEMBERING HOW ME AND MY COUSIN NEVER
WANTED T'O GO WITH THEM BUT THEY MADE US GO ANYWAY, ALSO REMEMBERING AT TIMES
HOW WE USED TO TRY AND HIDE SOME WHERE BUT HOW THEY USED TO ALWAYS FIND
10, WAKING UP EVERY DAY AND NOT THINKING OR WORRYING ABOUT THE DEATH-ROW
AND WHETHER OR NOT I'LL EVER GET OFF OF DEATH-ROW.
CAN YOU HELP IDENTIFY...
WHO ARE YOU?
AT THIS MOMENT I HAVE NO IDEA WHO I AM. WHY NOT?
I FEEL AS THOUGH I HAVE LOST MY IDENTITY.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND, MAKE ME UNDERSTAND?
I AM NOT SURE I CAN, BUT I'LL TRY...
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR I SEE THE FACE OF A MAN. THE AGE, STRESS PERMINENT
FROWNS, BUT THOSE ARE SUPPOSE TO BE THE SIGNS OF A MAN THAT HAS LABORED HARD,
THAT WAY IN THE LATTER YEARS OF HIS WISDOM HE CAN RELAX, AND ENJOY UNTIL
THAT IS NOT I...
IS IT ANY CLEARER TO YOU NOW?
PLEASE CONTINUE ON.
AS YOU SEE IT'S REALLY HARD TO EXPLAIN, I AM SORT OF STRUGGLING WITH IT
BUT, BEFORE THIS I USED TO BE ABLE TO SAY, I AM A YOUNG MAN CHILD. WHOSE
GOAL IS TO HAVE A FAMILY, LABOR AND PROVIDE.
FOR A WHILE IT ALL LOOKED PROMISING, MY LABORING WAS GOING WELL... THEN
I FELL IN LOVE, OUT OF LOVE, IN LOVE AGAIN.
MY LIFE HAD IDENTITY DURING THOSE DAYS, MONTHS, YEARS... AT THE DROP OF
A DIME IT WAS ALL TAKEN AWAY FROM ME...
I REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT ME TO SAY!
DON'T GET ANGRY, JUST CONTINUE ON. WHO ARE YOU?
WELL YOU KNOW MY NAME, AND WHERE I WAS BORN, IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING
THAT IS NOT WHAT MAKES YOU WHO YOU ARE. YOU COULD HAVE DIED ON THAT BIRTH
DATE AND NEVER GIVEN A NAME. YOU UNDERSTAND? IT'S NOT WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR.
I AM NO LONGER A MAN LABORING FOR HIS FAMILY. THERE ARE NO FRUITS FROM
MY PAST LABORING.
I ONCE WAS A YOUNG MAN THAT QUICKLY HAD TO BECOME THE BEING THAT I AM
ARE YOU WHO THEY SAY YOU ARE? A COLD HEARTED, NO CONSCIENCE MAN?
NO! I DON"T THINK SO ...I MEAN THAT MAKES ME SOUND DEAD... I AM
AM I DEAD? NO! I AM NOT DEAD!
I SIT FROM DAY TO DAY NIGHT TO NIGHT SEARCHING WITHIN MYSELF FOR ANSWERS
THAT SEEM TO HAVE NO ANSWERS.
I NEED NEW LIFE IN ORDER FOR MY IDENTITY TO RETURN BECAUSE RIGHT NOW,
JUST BEING A MAN WITH A NAME IS NOT ENOUGH.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP... I DID NOT DO ANYTHING..., IN TIME, ALL IN TIME.
TO CHANGE ONE'S INNERSELF
NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE
POSITIVE TO NEGATIVE
CAN ONE JUDGE ANOTHER
HAVE WE ALL NOT FALLEN
SHOULD I DIE?
OR SHOULD YOUR OPINION CHANGE?
Caught up in this world of superficial beings.
Created by statistical powers.
Invisible forces, lay traps in order to keep data.
What's lost in this mental maheim of percentages?
No more sharing
No more support
No more we
Only the superficial us...
Unconsciously we help supply these powers with .the numeral
Data they need to stay in control
We hear and see the percentages through the media.
And we say, “I am not going to become a part of those statistics"
But once we start living we slip into a controlled state.
And before long 20% is now 21%...
I AM A MAN
I wish for the world to know who I am... .
I am a man, taken from the land in which I was
To be a laborer for my loved ones.
Now I sit in a modern made cave. Watching
Age set in. And life passes me by.
My cave sits in a ditch surrounded by hills.
I wish to run to the top of a mountain and.
Scream my name to the world...
"I am Ralph T. Stokes"; "I am Ralph T. Stokes"
Sitting in this cave I sometimes forget I am a man.
The cold air that blows upon me day and night
It makes me feel like an animal...
I am a man, I am a man; this I must repeat to
Myself, in order to keep my sanity.
I seek 1ife - I seek a renewed spirit, I seek peace...
The world is a beautiful place... I never got a
Chance to live in it...
No one ever shook my hand
No one ever looked at me as a man
No one ever gave me a grain of sand
But that’s alright
No one ever invited me inside
No one ever offered me a ride
No one ever took my side
But that’s alright
No one ever helped me in school
No one ever offered me a stool
No one ever told me the rules
But that’s alright
No one ever gave me the time
No one ever offered me a dime
No one ever paid me any mind
But that’s alright
No one ever called me a friend
No one ever asked "How I been?"
No one ever took me in
But that’s alright
No one ever offered me a bone
No one ever cosigned me a loan
No one ever told me I'd end up alone
But like I said, that’s alright!
“I AM 40 YEARS OF AGE. 5'11 IN HEIGHT, DARK SKINNED AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE.
INTEREST ...R&B AND JAZZ MUSIC … I ENJOY READING VERY ENLIGHTENING BOOKS.
(BOOKS FOR THE SOUL)
I ENJOY SPORTS SUCH AS FOOTBALL, BASEBALL, BASKETBALL, HOCKEY AND HAVE
RECENTLY BECOME INTERESTED IN SOCCER.
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A LOVER OF ANIMALS, A QUALITY OF LIFE THAT I LEARNED
'TO APPRECIATE FROM A VERY YOUNG CHILD. I AM CARING, UNDERSTANDING, VERY
OPEN MINDED, AND MOST OF ALL HONEST.
IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE SEEKING UNCONDITIONAL FRIENDSHIP, THAT CAN
ALLOW ME TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THEIR EYES, CONTACT ME BY E-MAIL
OR AT THE ADDRESS LISTED BELOW:
NOTE: THIS MANNER OF MAN IS CURRENTLY IN THE LAST ROUND OF HIS FIGHT...
IF YOU SO DESIRE TO READ MORE GO TO:
THE LAST ROUND
MR. RALPH T. STOKES (#AY-9034)
175 -PROGRESS DRIVE
WAYNESBURG, PENNSYLVANIA 15370-8090 (U.S.A.)
TO ATTEMPT TO FATHOM THE ENORMOUS INJUSTICE RALPH TRENT STOKES EXPERIENCED
IN HIS STORY THE LAST ROUND YOU ONLY HAVE TO READ THE TWO YEAR STUDY
ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT RELEASED BY THE DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER IN
WASHINGTON, D.C. THE REPORT IS TITLED, "THE DEATH PENALTY IN BLACK AND
WHITE WHO LIVES WHO DIES, WHO DECIDES". LOCATED AT:
AND WAS COMPILED BY UNIVERSITY OF IOWA LAW PROFESSOR DAVID BALDUS AND
STATISTICIAN GEORGE WOODWORTH, WHAT THEY FOUND WAS SHOCKING. THEY EXAMINED
A TOTAL OF 667 MURDER CASES OF PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA FROM 1983 TO 1993
(STOKES' CASE AMONG THEM) AND OF THE 520 BLACK DEFENDANTS AND 147 WHITE DEFENDANTS
NINETY FIVE OF THE BLACK DEFENDANTS WERE SENTENCED TO DEATH IN STARK CONTRAST
TO ONLY 19 DEATH SENTENCED WHITE DEFENDANTS. A BLACK DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH
MURDER IS ALMOST FOUR TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GET THE DEATH PENALTY IN PHILLY
THAN A WHITE DEFENDANT, NO MATTER HOW HEINOUS THE MURDER IS. THE CHANCES OF
A POOR BLACK DEFENDANT GOING TO DEATH ROW FROM PHILADELPHIA IS FAR GREATER
THAN DEFENDANTS IN MOST STATES IN THE DEEP SOUTH. THESE FINDINGS SHOULD SHOCK
ANYONE'S SENSE OF JUSTICE. SUPPORT RALPH T. STOKES! WRITE RALPH T. STOKES
DIRECTLY OR E-MAIL HIM!
THE LAST ROUND
You don't have to be a boxing aficionado to understand the celebrity status
Smokin' Joe Frazier enjoys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and around the
world. Millions of fight fans and those who simply wanted to witness history
in its making could never forget the memorable fights between Smokin' Joe
and Muhammad Ali" the Greatest. There were three bloody wars between them-the
most spectacular fight being "The Thriller in Manila", and one that is forever
etched into the annals of boxing history. Years after he'd retired, ~Joe
Frazier opened several businesses in and around Philadelphia. One such establishment
was "Joe Frazier's Restaurant”, which catered to an up scale clientele.
On a warm spring day in 1882, two men burst into the restaurant with guns
drawn and announced a hold up. When it was over three victims lay dead from
gunshot wounds. The brutal murders, which had tragically occurred in an establishment
owned by the city's most beloved resident-sent shock waves ripping through
the community. The police scoured the city in search of the killers.
Young Ralph Trent Stokes, a 19, year old black male. Who was once a restaurant
worker at Frazier’s soon learned that he was the central focus of the investigation.
There was word on the street that the police were going to kill him on sight.
Fear seized him because in the city of Philadelphia, the racist police murder
young black men with impunity. Stokes knew he had absolutely nothing to do
with this vicious crime-so he immediately called his attorney and went down
to the police station. A guilty man would have taken flight-like the actual
triggermen in this case', Donald "Razor" Jackson and Eric Burley, who court
records show-made a hurried hegira to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and New
York City, shortly after the murders.
Stokes told the cadre of homicide detectives that interrogated him he
knew absolutely nothing about the crime, that there was nothing he could
proffer. They assailed him with a fusillade of verbal obscenities and leading
questions, and he answered them the best he could. The cops' angry interrogation
resounded off the grimy, graffiti-scared walls of the holding cell with
the fury of viscous attack dogs howling in the night. But they had no legal
reason to hold the young f suspect simply because he'd once been an employee
of Joe Frazier’s-so they" begrudgingly released him.
He emerged from the police station, a proud and happy young man, thinking
it was over. He didn't know the reputation and careers of the Philadelphia
homicide detectives, assigned to this case, were on the line. And he didn't
know they all were under enormous pressure from the District Attorney's Office
to quickly make an arrest in this case-and Stokes' euphoria was short-lived-on
the basis of a statement from one of the actual culprits-the police stormed
his home, and tore it apart in search of evidence linking him to this crime-but
did not find a single shred or anything that could vaguely inculpatate him.
They arrested him anyway, and in spite of the absence of evidence-Stokes
was charged with triple murder.
News of the arrest dominated the front page of local newspapers for months,
and it was customary for the nightly news anchors to lead in with titillating
details about the Joe Frazier restaurant case. Before the commencement of
his, trial, the private attorney, who had accompanied Stokes to the police
station, abandoned him and the court appointed a pitifully inept attorney
to represent the defendant.
Defense lawyer Malcolm Waldron confided to his client that he hadn't handled
a criminal case-particularly a capital case of this magnitude-in twenty years!
He'd only litigated a hand full of insurance cases-and the complexities of
affirmative defense and trial strategies were unfamiliar and inauspicious
terrains, he did no investigation, and he called no witnesses who could have
established the defendant’s whereabouts at the time of the offense. This
was crucial to counter the maliciously false accusations by his now co-defendant
who seized upon the opportunity to testify against Stokes. In exchange for
a life sentence, and another, who was given little or no jail time, they
were eager to be the prosecutions star witness. They would do or say anything.
co-defendant was allowed unsupervised sexual liaisons with his wife in
an upscale hotel. He was supplied with
illegal drugs and other amenities readily available to pampered snitches.
They both pled guilty well before trial, Confessing their guilt well before
trial, confessing their guilt to escape death-but they weren't sentenced
until Stokes was found guilty.
The trial was a farce, an alleged eye witness told the police that on
the day of the murders he couldn't identify anyone, for how could he? They
had on ski- masks; he told them, masks that covered their entire face-and
it was impossible to proffer an accurate description as to the weight, height,
or facial features. He couldn't even tell whether the robbers were black or
white. His story changed once he got on the stand. Oh, yes that was him he
swore. He was able to see his eyeballs through the two small holes in the
black ski-mask. Yeah, he was positive in his identification of the defendant,
he was, "the shortest one". This
witness told the police three different stories of what occurred that
day-and it was clear that the final version was meticulously tailored to
fit the prosecutions twisted scheme. The state utilized unspeakable tactics
in insuring a conviction and forgoing signatures on statements inculpatating
the witness, Donald Blackson, was cross-examined by defense attorney Malcolm
Waldron about this egregious misconduct:
Waldron: "Do you have Commonwealth's exhibit number 34 in front
Waldron: "Did I ask you whether or not they were your signatures
on page 1,2,3,4 and 5"?
Waldron: "And what did you tell me about your signatures"?
Blackson: "That it didn't look like my handwriting".
Here, a prosecution witness admitted under oath that he hadn't even endorsed
the statement accusing a man of being involved in a triple murder that inevitably
sent him to death row.
Then who did? His pitiful inept attorney should have asked. It became
clear that the evidence against the defendant was deliberately fabricated.
Waldron: "Did I ask you whether you had a conversation with Mr.
Stokes about the incident referred to in that statement?”
Blackson: "Yes" '
Waldron: "About the things you said in that statement/and, did
you tell me that, "I don't remember whether I talked to him?"
Blackson: "That's what I told you, that I didn't remember. Yes"
Waldron: "Now, you were asked here today if you remembered a conversation
on March 11, 1982. Isn't it a fact that you don't know whether you had a
conversation with the defendant?"
Blackson: "Well, I went over my testimony, and from my testimony,
it said that I had talked to the defendant on the day of the murders.
Waldron: "Well, do you really remember that, to be true now?"
Any reasonable man or woman could deduce, from this portion of the trial
transcript-that this witness' testimony was not only patently manufactured,
but perjurious. He was merely one player out of a sickening sequence of tainted
witnesses for the prosecution-like Philadelphia homicide detective Robert
Kane, who was under state and federal investigation for police corruption
and tampering with evidence. Detective Kane testified that he was the central
figure at the scene of the crime, who collected, and preserved crucial physical
evidence. Introduced positional photographs and body charts of the victims.
He was allowed, (without any objections from attorney)-to testify about the
ballistic evidence concerning bullets that were in no way connected to the
crime-though the jury was told they were. Kane swore under oath that this
observations of the crime scene and the critical evidence he'd collected
there undeniably established the defendant's guilt-but documentary proof,
recorded in police log books, clearly contradicts this ridiculous assertion-because
he was somewhere else at the time, and his presence at the crime scene would
have been physically impossible.
Stokes was barely 19 years old-one of the youngest defendants to be sentenced
to death in the state of Pennsylvania at the time. In a hellacious battle
for his young life, the state was a formidable opponent-and without a competent
attorney-it was no contest. There are no screaming crowds of supporters,
no strict referees issuing stern warning against the states illegal tactics.
This is biggest fight.
This is the last round.
Mr. Ralph Stokes has been a prisoner of the Commonwealth for 21½
years... and throughout his appeal process the Philadelphia court-appointed
attorney system, repeatedly appointed attorney's that have no interest in
the case. Half of Mr. Stokes trial has never been transcribed and not one
of his past attorney's looked into this very important fact, but submitted
a "so .called appeal". How can an attorney file an appeal without a complete
record, secondly how can an appeal court make a decision without a complete
record??? Mr. Stokes needs the help and support and attorney or attorneys
that are not into playing "one hand washes the other with the Phila., D.A.'s
office"... This is why Mr. Stokes is reaching out to the unbiased citizens
of the productive society that he was taken away from. To learn more about
the court-appointed attorney system go to: abcnews.com crime and punishment
aired 2-3-00 ...Mr. Stokes also said that he would like to encourage those
who see this article to distribute leaflets (even if it is copies of the
article) in support of his campaign for justice. You might also recommend
to people that they forward the article and news about the brother to any
friends/subscriber groups that could also put his plea on their web site
and link to many others sites thought appropriate. He would also like to
encourage those who are able to get abolitionist and anti- death penalty
newspapers & magazines to publish his plea to please do so to help spread
the word of this horrific injustice.
Lastly, after all the years that Mr. Stokes has been incarcerated he still
does not have sufficient funds to hire a competent attorney, your contributions
are both welcome and needed. So please do send whatever small monetary gift
in the form of money-orders and those outside the U.S. please remit international
money-orders to help Mr. Stokes hire a competent attorney. It does not have
to be very much every little bit helps.
P.S. Please do read the following article on a study done by, Professor
James S. Liebman, of the Columbia University School of Law titled, "A Broken
System: Error Rates in Capital Crime".
© Copyright 2003 Ralph Stokes
"ARTICLE FROM THE BNA, INC. CRIMINAL LAW REPORTS"
ERROR RATE IN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT SYSTEM IS AT "EPIDEMIC
PROPORTIONS" STUDY CHARGES A REPORT RELEASED JUNE 12, BY THE JUSTICE PROJECT, A WASHINGTON, D.C.
-BASED ORGANIZATION, CHARGED THAT "SERIOUS ERROR-SUBSTANTIALLY UNDERMINING
THE RELIABILITY OF CAPITAL VERDICTS-HAS REAC.HED EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS THROUGHOUT
OUR DEATH PENALTY SYSTEM. "THE REPORT IS BASED ON A STUDY CONDUCTED BY PROFESSOR
JAMES S. LIEBMAN, OF THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, OF 5,760 CAPITAL
SENTENCES THAT WERE REVIEWED BY COURTS BETWEEN 1973 AND 1995.
MAJOR FINDINGS: FROM STATISTICS ON THE NUMBER OF CAPITAL SENTENCES
OVERTURNED IN STATE POST-CONVICTION PROCEEDINGS, AND FEDERAL HABEAS CORPUS
PROCEEDINGS, THE REPORT DECLARED THAT DURING THE PERIOD IT STUDIED, "THE
OVERALL ERROR-RATE IN OUR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT SYSTEM WAS 68%". IN OTHER WORDS,
OUT OF.EVERY 100 CAPITAL SENTENCES, 68 WERE OVERTURNED BECAUSE OF ERROR THAT
SUBSTANTIALLY UNDERMINDED THE RELIABILITY OF THE GUILT FINDING OR DEATH SENTENCE.
FURTHERMORE, AN EXAMINATION OF 301 CASES IN WHICH DEATH SENTENCES WERE OVERTURNED
IN STATE POST-CONVICTION PROCEEDINGS SHOWED THAT 82 PERCENT WERE REPLACED
ON RETRIAL BY A LESSER SENTENCE OR NO SENTENCE AT ALL.
THE MOST COMMON ERRORS, ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, WERE "EGREGIOUSLY INCOMPETENT
DEFENSE LAWYERING", "PROSECUTORIAL SUPPRESSION OF EVIDENCE THAT THE DEFENDANT
IS INNOCENT OR DOES NOT DESERVE THE DEATH PENALTY", AND ERRORS IN JURY INSTRUCTIONS.
HIGH ERROR RATES ARE NOT LIMITED TO A FEW STATES; ON THE CONTRARY, THE REPORT
SAID THEY ARE GEOGRAPHICALLY DISPERSED. NOR ARE THEY A NEW PHENOMENON.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT FINDING, ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, IS THAT STATE JUDGES,
RATHER THAN FEDERAL JUDGES SITTING IN HABEAS, ARE THE "MOST IMPORTANT LINE
OF DEFENSE AGAINST ERRONEOUS DEATH SENTENCES.”OF THE CAPITAL SENTENCES THROWN
OUT DURING THE STUDY PERIOD, 90 PERCENT WERE OVERTURNED BY STATE COURTS.
THE INFORMATION IN THE REPORT INCLUDES STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWNS OF REVERSAL
RATES AND COMPARISONS OF THE RATES FOR STATES AND FEDERAL COURTS.
IMPLICATIONS: WHEN THE HIGH COST OF CAPITAL PROCEEDINGS ARE CONSIDERED
IN LIGHT OF THE HIGH ERROR RATE, "IT IS HARD TO ESCAPE THE CONCLUSION THAT
LARGE AMOUNTS OF RESOURCES ARE BEING WASTED ON CASES THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE
BEEN CAPITAL IN THE FIRST PLACE", THE REPORT SAID, "PUBLIC FAITH IN THE COURTS
AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS ANOTHER CASUALTY OF HIGH CAPITAL ERROR
RATES", IT ADDS.
THE REPORT COUNTED 87 INMATES WHO HAVE BEEN RELEASED FROM DEATH-ROW "AS
FACTUALLY OR LEGALLY INNOCENT". WHEN A CONDEMNED INMATE TURNS OUT TO BE
INNOCENT, THE REPORT NOTED, THERE ARE INCALCULABLE COST TO THE INMATES,
TO THE FAMILY OF THE VICTIM, TO PERSONS AT RISK FROM THE REAL PERPETRATOR,
TO THE PUBLIC'S CONFIDENCE IN LAW AND LEGAL INSTITUTIONS, AND IF THE MISTAKE
IS NEVER CAUGHT, TO THE WRONGLY EXECUTED FUTURE REASEARCH. THE AUTHORS OF
THE REPORT PLAN TO CONTINUE THEIR RESEARCH, FOCUSING ON THREE QUESTIONS:
* WHETHER AN UPSIDE IN EXECUTIONS IN THE LAST YEAR THEY STUDIED REFLECTS
CHANGES IN THE SYSTEM'S PROPENSITY FOR ERROR.
* WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE HIGH RATES OF SERIOUS ERROR IN THE CAPITAL JUDGEMENTS,
* WHAT POLICY RESPONSES ARE CALLED FOR BY THE PROBLEMS IN THE SYSTEM?