“California may be about to execute an innocent man.”
That’s the view of five federal judges in a case involving Kevin Cooper, a black man who faces lethal injection next year for supposedly murdering a white family. The judges argue compellingly that he was framed by police.
Cooper’s impending execution is so outrageous that it has produced a mutiny among these federal circuit court judges, distinguished jurists just one notch below the U.S. Supreme Court. But the judicial process has run out for Cooper. Now it’s up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to decide whether to commute Cooper’s sentence before leaving office. . . .
This case is a travesty. It underscores the central pitfall of capital punishment: No system is fail-safe. How can we be about to execute a man when even some of America’s leading judges believe he has been framed?
Lanny Davis, who was the White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, is representing Cooper pro bono. He laments: “The media and the bar have gone deaf and silent on Kevin Cooper. My simple theory: heinous brutal murder of white family and black convict. Simple as that.”
That’s a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system. Governor Schwarzenegger, are you listening?
See the entire New York Times article here.
The City Project’s Executive Director and Counsel, Robert Garcia, has represented men on Death Row in Georgia, Florida and Mississippi. He is also a former federal prosecutor, an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. With the Committee on Civil Rights of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, he published a report on the Death Penalty in 1984. ”The death penalty has no place in the American criminal justice system.” New York City Bar Association, The Committee on Civil Rights, May 1984. See the Association’s exhibit ”The Ultimate Penalty” at www.abcny.org.