Man who spent 22 years on death row is cleared

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    man who spent 22 years on death row is cleared

    • new evidence prompts judge to drop murder charges against paul house
    • house, of tennessee, spent 22 years on death row for murder of carolyn muncey
    • house, who uses a wheelchair, was released on bail in 2007
    • new dna testing helped raise doubts

    by bill mears
    cnn supreme court producer

    washington (cnn) -- a former death row inmate in tennessee has been cleared of murder, three years after the supreme court raised repeated questions about his conviction.

    state prosecutors on tuesday asked a judge to drop all charges against paul house, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in 1986. special judge jon blackwood accepted the request.
    house had been scheduled to be executed next month for the 1985 murder of carolyn muncey. he had been on death row for 22 years but was released on bail last year. he has multiple sclerosis and must use a wheelchair.

    the high court ruled in june 2006 that house was entitled to a new hearing.

    "although the issue is closed, we conclude that this is the rare case where -- had the jury heard all the conflicting testimony -- it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack reasonable doubt," wrote justice anthony kennedy for the 5-3 majority.

    house's appeal was championed by the innocence project, affiliated with the cardozo school of law in new york.

    "in the three years since the u.s. supreme court stepped into this case and sent it back to the trial court, substantial additional dna testing and further investigation have shown that he is innocent," said peter neufeld, the group's co-director. "each time a layer of this case was peeled away, it revealed more evidence of paul house's innocence."...


    find this article at:
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/crime/05/12/...ion/index.html


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    2008 cable news network
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    the unfortunate case when humans are involved: there are times when an innocent person is found guilty or a guilty person is found innocent.



    justice being blind is not always so good...



    i find the innocence project most intriguing i wonder what their ratio is…
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    What if the guy only had a short time to appeal? He would have been "fried" a long time ago. In my State we had a very similar case where someone was released after serving 17 years. Everyone had been complain that the guy had too many appeals and that it was unfair to the family of the victim to delay execution. DNA cleared the guy! Apparently he was in a different town when the rape/murder happened! Someone else had going away with it for 17 years. Meanwhile this guy was on death row.
  6. 0
    Quote from dnp2004
    What if the guy only had a short time to appeal? He would have been "fried" a long time ago. In my State we had a very similar case where someone was released after serving 17 years. Everyone had been complain that the guy had too many appeals and that it was unfair to the family of the victim to delay execution. DNA cleared the guy! Apparently he was in a different town when the rape/murder happened! Someone else had going away with it for 17 years. Meanwhile this guy was on death row.
    this has happened.....perhaps not so short an appeal but incomplete, cant remember the state....south east somewhere.......and dont you love the prosecutors fall back position, that he was guilty but didnt act alone, thereby explaining the other DNA? that was also involved, i believe, in the other case i am thinking of......not "i am sorry for all the time you have lost" nope, your guilty because we cant admit we were wrong!
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    I think these people should be compensated at least $1,000,000 per year of false incarceration. The prosecutor should be automatically disbarred. In the case of a false execution, the executioner should be charged with at least 2nd degree murder.
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    But the executioner did not convict him, a jury of his peers did. You would have to charge all 12 with whatever you charge the executioner with, and the judge, and presecutor, etc.

    I think this situation is so sad for this guy. So many years wasted. This is one reason I am against the death penalty. One innocent life taken, or wasted as in this case, is one too many.
  9. 0
    Quote from Purple_Scrubs
    But the executioner did not convict him, a jury of his peers did. You would have to charge all 12 with whatever you charge the executioner with, and the judge, and presecutor, etc.

    I think this situation is so sad for this guy. So many years wasted. This is one reason I am against the death penalty. One innocent life taken, or wasted as in this case, is one too many.
    Sorry, I was speaking about theoretical cases. I find prosecutors and to a lessor extent judges, are the biggest problems in cases like these. I was also speaking about what should be done with an executioner who kills a person who is later discovered to be innocent. As with war criminals, you can't use the excuse "I was just following orders". It did not work during Nuremberg and it really should not work now.
  10. 0
    Quote from dnp2004
    i think these people should be compensated at least $1,000,000 per year of false incarceration. the prosecutor should be automatically disbarred. in the case of a false execution, the executioner should be charged with at least 2nd degree murder.
    good topic i am surprised it has not been moved though.

    theoretically :-)

    - $1,000,000 per false incarceration: we all pay

    -the prosecutor should be automatically disbarred. only disbarred? sometimes the prosecutor is elected or he/she is hired by elected officials and those elected officials were elected by the citizens; so the citizens are accomplice. in a lot of states murder charges apply to the accomplice just as if he/she were the one who committed the murder. so lock everyone up?

    - in the case of a false execution, the executioner should be charged with at least 2nd degree murder. the executioner is usually selected by a state employee who was placed in that position by another state employee (usually the warden) who was selected by another state employee (commissioner) who was put in place by an elected official (usually the governor). so again an elected official placed in that position by the citizens so the citizens are accomplices. lock everyone up?

    if prosecutory misdeeds can be proven or even defensive misdeeds can be proven than:
    - $1,000,000 from the individual not the state.
    - punishment equal to what they were seeking.

    again: i find the innocence project most intriguing i wonder what their ratio is…
    i also wonder what the percentage of cases they have had overturned are:
    - related to police / prosecution misdeeds
    - related to police / prosecution mistakes
    - related to defense misdeeds
    - related to defense mistakes
    - jury mistakes
    - judge mistakes

    also what if the innocence project gets it wrong and gets someone released that was guilty???
    do they get to pay the $1,000,000 to the victims family?


    ...an executioner who kills a person who is later discovered to be innocent. what about the judge he directed for the sentence to be given out? if one wants to look at it another way: what about the judge, jury, defense , prosecution that by some means allows the guilty to go free and life is lost. are all the parties involved responsible?
    - pay $1,000,000 to the victims family
    - throw all the parties involved into jail?

    death vs life in prison???
    kill a convicted person and risk killing an innocent?
    sentence a convicted person to life and pay room/board, medical fees, future legal expenses, lawsuits, risk to employees, population because the can/do escape. also expose that convicted person to murder (innocent or not) because life behind bars is life behind bars.

    locking up a person is out of sight out of mind for a lot of people but all across the country millions is not billions are going down the drain and well as people lives.

    so: death sentences are not the solution, buildings with razor wire are not the solution but what is?

    when a crime is committed; do we blame the moms and the dads? do we blame the society (each other)? do we blame the individual?


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