Friday, January 18, 2008

Crooks & Liars

I am currently reading a book by John Grisham called "The Innocent Man." It's about two men who were wrongfully convicted on murder in a small Oklahoma town. One of them was sentenced to death. It is the only non-fiction courtroom drama Grisham has ever written. And I am rivited.

I have seen the very things written about in this book play out in courtrooms all over Alabama. Not the murder stuff....but the way police lie when they testify, how prosecutors withhold evidence from the defendant, how judges look the other way when people's rights are clearly being violated and when an indigent defendant's legal representation is clearly inadequate and how jail house snitches are used.

I guess the jail house snitching is probably what gets me the most. There is a news story in today's Birmingham News about that very thing.

County jail inmate emerges as possible witness in trial for slaying of Fairfield officer

A surprise witness surfaced Thursday who is expected to testify Demetrius Jackson Jr., accused of killing one police officer and wounding another, has made incriminating statements since he has been in the Jefferson County Jail.

Jackson, of Fairfield, is on trial in the Bessemer Division of Jefferson County Circuit Court, charged with killing Fairfield Officer Mary Smith and the attempted murder of Officer Erick Burpo. The shootings happened when the two officers answered a call about suspicious persons.

Inmate Runyan Richardson wrote Assistant District Attorney Ted Mills a letter - which Mills received Wednesday - saying he had information to help the prosecutors' case.

Outside the jury's presence, Richardson testified he had made no deals in exchange for his testimony.

Circuit Judge Teresa Petelos stopped the questioning, and asked Richardson if he had any pending cases. Court records show Richardson has robbery and assault charges pending in Birmingham.

Apparently, this guys word that "he's not guilty of assault and robbery" wasn't good enough to keep him out of jail, but now that he claims to have 'heard something'about the shooting of a cop he's suddenly an honest feller whose word is as good as gold. If he has charges pending then you know the prosecution is going to cut a deal with him to testify against Jackson Jr. in the killing of a Fairfield police officer. Hmmmm....

Here's another thing and I know I will take some shit for saying it.....but I'm gonna say it anyway. First, this isn't a drug related case as far as I am aware.

But, I get so sick and tired of every time a cop gets killed in a drug raid everybody bawls, and carries on and acts like they never expected it and like every cop is a fucking hero. You should expect to be shot at when you go Rambo-ing into someones house at 3 a.m. with flash bang grenades, yelling and screaming and waking up children and dogs and not identifying yourself as a cop. If a cop gets killed during a drug raid then a death penalty is almost a given for the person who fired the gun. No matter that the cops didn't identify themselves and had the wrong house. No matter if you were doing what any parent would do to try and protect your family when you thought you had an intruder.

Yet, when cops raid the wrong house looking for weed and kill innocent people they get away with it. They also get away with it when they raid the right house and kill somebody. They justify it by saying "There was a small amount of marijuana in the house." They kill people over something that can't kill you and something that isn't even punishable by the death penalty. They get to be judge and jury. And generally they get promoted instead of prosecuted. They find ways to justify shit like this.

It makes me so sick that they get away with it. Complete immunity from their actions. If all life is precious, then someone who gets killed for smoking pot is as precious as the cop who occasionally takes a bullet when he/she goes charging into someone's home in the wee dawn hours. I don't see why people get so upset about cops getting killed....wasn't dodging bullets in the fucking job description?

Note: I don't advocate or condone killing of drug users or cops. There are other ways to work out conflict. This case, as far as I know, isn't drug related. I am sorry that Officer Smith lost her life. I know she has a family that loved her and needed her. I am using this story to mainly illustrate the critical imbalance in how justice is doled out using snitches who cannot be trusted and how cops get away with murder of citizens but citizen's get the death penalty for killing cops.


Anonymous said...

--- The practice of issuing no-knock warrants,
based upon the testimony of a snitch,
(usually providing info of dubious validity),
resulting in terrrifying / deadly plain-clothes raids against innocent people, has got to stop!

--- I also find it saddening / horrifying hearing about other innocent victims of this so-called 'Drug War',
such as a certain Cessna plane carrying missionaries that was mistakenly shot down as a 'trafficker' by the Peruvian Air Force in 2001,
(based upon questionable info provided by the U.S.).

ShadowDancer said...

I find your blog most refreshing. Consideringthe topic it is still eloquently stated. I have lived much of the same although I have actually been involved as victim and not as esquire. Unfortunately, my granddaughters' murderer received only 3 yrs-they botched so much it was beyond belief. There is much more but I would prefer you contact me through myspace privately and I could give you actual cases-in the news-federal and state...If I had not lived it I would not believe it myself.

Take care ShadowDancer