Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Death penalty under scrutiny; (Part Four): Rodricus Crawford: Louisiana: Powerful, disturbing article by accomplished writer Rachel Aviv: "Revenge Killing: Race and the death penalty in a Louisiana parish." ..."After reading the police reports, he decided to seek the death penalty. Cox told me that in the past forty years he had never prosecuted a man between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six who grew up in a nuclear family. “Not one,” he said. He believes that the “destruction of the nuclear family and a tremendously high illegitimate birth rate” have brought about an “epidemic of child-killings” in the parish. At the time that he learned of Crawford’s case, he was prosecuting another young black man accused of killing his infant. After the man was sentenced to life without parole, rather than death, Cox told a local TV station, “I take it as a failure that I was unable to convince the jury to kill him.” The New Yorker; (Must, Must Read. HL);


STORY: "Revenge killing: Race and the death penalty in a Louisiana parish," by Rachel Aviv, published by the New Yorker in the July 6, 2015 issue;  (Rachel Aviv joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2013. She has written about criminal justice, psychiatry, education, foster care, and homelessness, among other subjects. In 2010, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. Her writing on mental health was awarded a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship, an Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and an American Psychoanalytic Association Award for Excellence in Journalism. Her writing is collected in “The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010” and “The Best American Science Writing 2012.”)

GIST: "A week after his son turned one, Rodricus Crawford woke up a few minutes before 7 A.M. on the left side of his bed. His son was sleeping on the right side, facing the door. Crawford, who was twenty-three, reached over to wake him up, but the baby didn’t move. He put his ear on his son’s stomach and then began yelling for his mother. “Look at the baby!” he shouted..........When detectives interviewed Lott, she was reticent and leaden. In emotional situations, she was known to retreat by staring at her phone. “Have you ever seen him lose his cool?” they asked her, referring to Crawford. “No, sir,” she said. “Until today.” “What happened today?” “He was just upset,” she said. She told the officers that Roderius “had a little cold,” so she’d stopped by Crawford’s house the day before to drop off a nasal aspirator. While she was there, Crawford had told her about the baby’s fall, and she’d looked at his injuries. “There was a bruise right there,” she said, pointing above her right eye. “And his mouth—he had bust his lip. But he was still happy and everything.” That morning, a forensic pathologist performed an autopsy and determined that the bruises on Roderius’s lips were the marks of smothering. Later, when he reviewed slides of Roderius’s lung tissue, he discovered that the baby also had pneumonia, but he decided that the illness was a coincidence. The detectives interviewed Crawford for the second time that day, and told him that the pathologist had found bruises on the baby’s bottom, indicating that he had suffered from “chronic child abuse.” “Chronic child abuse,” Crawford repeated, as if testing a new phrase. “I don’t know if he’s ever been beaten at his mom’s house, but at my house he’s never been beaten by me,” he said. “He’s a baby. He’s a one-year-old. What could he do to me to make me beat him?” “We see it all the time,” the detective said. “We can’t answer that.” “I told you—he fell. That’s the only thing that ever happened to him. He fell in the bathroom. But me beating him? No!” Then the detective said, “There are certain fluids in your one-year-old son’s lungs that tell us that he was suffocated before he died.” “He was suffocated?” Crawford said. “What do you mean by suffocated? Like somebody held him down?” “The cause of death is asphyxiation with acute suffocation.” “No. When I woke up this morning—I’ll tell you again, sir—when I woke up this morning . . .” His voice began wavering, and he trailed off. “That’s too much,” he said. “Did you wake up on top of your son?” “No, sir. No, sir!” “If that’s what happened, that’s what you need to say. It’s important.” “I know it’s important. I’m telling you I didn’t wake up on my son. I didn’t wake up suffocating him—nothing. That’s some real talk.” The autopsy report was sent to the office of Dale Cox, the first assistant district attorney of Caddo Parish, which includes Shreveport. After reading the police reports, he decided to seek the death penalty. Cox told me that in the past forty years he had never prosecuted a man between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six who grew up in a nuclear family. “Not one,” he said. He believes that the “destruction of the nuclear family and a tremendously high illegitimate birth rate” have brought about an “epidemic of child-killings” in the parish. At the time that he learned of Crawford’s case, he was prosecuting another young black man accused of killing his infant. After the man was sentenced to life without parole, rather than death, Cox told a local TV station, “I take it as a failure that I was unable to convince the jury to kill him.”".........The week before Crawford’s trial, in November, 2013, Gold asked Cox to dismiss the case. He had just received a report from his medical expert, Daniel Spitz, a forensic pathologist from Michigan, who co-authored a pathology textbook that is widely used in medical schools. Spitz found that Roderius’s blood had tested positive for sepsis, and he concluded that he had died of pneumonia. Spitz told me that after reviewing the case he thought that there “wasn’t enough evidence to even put this before a jury. You didn’t have anybody who thought this guy committed murder except for one pathologist who decided that it was homicide on what seemed like a whim.” Cox told me that the new medical report “gave me pause.” But after meeting again with the first pathologist, James Traylor, he felt confident about the theory of smothering. In court, Traylor testified as cross-sections of the baby’s bruised bottom were displayed for the jury. Traylor said that the baby’s pneumonia couldn’t have been severe, because family members hadn’t reported a fever or rapid heartbeat. “I’m the guy that did the autopsy,” Traylor told the jury. “There is no one else that can speak for the victim other than myself.” Traylor said that his finding of suffocation was based entirely on the bruises on Roderius’s lips, but he never sampled the tissue to date the injury, a basic test that would have revealed whether the bruises came from the earlier fall in the bathroom, an explanation that he ignored. He misstated medical science, telling the jury that Roderius’s brain had swelled as a result of suffocation. Swelling does not occur in cases of smothering, because the person dies rapidly, and the brain can’t swell if blood has stopped circulating. The brain can swell, though, in cases of pneumonia with sepsis. When Spitz testified, he explained that sepsis in young children can be fatal within a few hours, with early symptoms passing unnoticed. But his testimony was eclipsed by a cross-examination that lasted twice as long as the direct testimony. Cox interrogated him about a mistake he’d made in an autopsy in Michigan, where he had overlooked a bullet wound in a decomposed body. “You are overextended,” Cox told him. “You are overworked.” The judge later wrote of Spitz that “any veracity that he had was destroyed.” Crawford’s mother, Abbie, felt uneasy as soon as the jury, composed of nine white people and three black ones, returned to the courtroom. “All I remember hearing is ‘Guilty, guilty, guilty,’ ” she told me. “Rodricus looked at me, and I looked at him, and I just tried to hold it all in.”........In April, Crawford’s lawyers filed their first appeal with the Louisiana Supreme Court, which almost never overturns a verdict in capital cases. The brief described the “racial and geographic arbitrariness of the death penalty in Louisiana—confined predominantly to African-American men prosecuted in Caddo Parish”—and said that “Crawford’s fate depended far more on where he was prosecuted than his ultimate moral culpability.” The Crawfords are so upbeat about each brief submitted to the court that their lawyers have to discourage them from unrealistic expectations. Crawford says that when he is free he intends to get married and to move away from Mooretown. “Rodricus doesn’t want to be part of the same old world that he was in,” Abbie Crawford said. “He tells me, ‘Keep praying, Mama, because the Father is dealing with us. The Father is getting us ready. I know he’s getting me ready to be a young man.’ ”

The entire article can be found at:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/06/revenge-killing


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bulletin: Former crime lab chemist Sonja Ferak; Massachusetts: District Attorney forced to expand probe; It had been thought that Farak's drug use (she was addicted to cocaine, methamphetamines and other drugs) went back to 2012, but a Boston Globe story reported that she told her therapists it began in 2004. "Farak's case surfaced months after another state chemist, Annie Dookhan, was arrested in September 2012 and found to have fabricated evidence in thousands of samples she tested at a second state lab in Jamaica Plain, possibly tainting as many as 40,000 cases."


The Northwestern District Attorney's Office is digging through its files in the wake of reports that evidence tampering by former chemist Sonja Farak at the state police crime lab in Amherst might go back to 2004 It had been thought that Farak's drug use (she was addicted to cocaine, methamphetamines and other drugs) went back to 2012, but a Boston Globe story reported that she told her therapists it began in 2004.........Northampton lawyer Luke Ryan was one of the defense lawyers who obtained Farak's medical records in order to dig deeper into the case. Those records show that Farak's drug theft and use began in 2004, a full eight years before the state contended, and never stopped, The Globe reported. Farak told her therapists she used multiple drugs during the workday, the story said Ryan told the Globe that Farak was assigned to test about 29,000 drug samples over the course of her nine-year career, and that the estimate of 10,000 affected defendants was "fairly conservative.".........Farak's case surfaced months after another state chemist, Annie Dookhan, was arrested in September 2012 and found to have fabricated evidence in thousands of samples she tested at a second state lab in Jamaica Plain, possibly tainting as many as 40,000 cases. Dookhan is serving a three-to-five-year prison sentence. The Dookhan case is not believed to be connected to the Farak case. Farak pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court in early 2014 to four counts of tampering with evidence, four counts of stealing cocaine from the lab, and two counts of unlawful possession of cocaine, and was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. She has since been released from custody, officials said Thursday. In April, the state's highest court found that top state law enforcement officials had failed to fully investigate the scope of Farak's wrongdoing, noting that fewer than 10 samples for which she was the primary analyst were retested. The Supreme Judicial Court gave officials 30 days to decide whether to reopen the inquiry into thousands of evidence samples tested by Farak.
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/07/northwestern_da_expands_invest.html




0


Reddit


Bulletin: Melissa Calusinski; New trial? Decision expected in September; " In her petition, attorney Kathleen Zellner argues a new trial is warranted because of the discovery of a set of legible autopsy X-rays taken of Benjamin's skull that clearly showed the toddler was suffering from a pre-existing injury when he died."

"A Lake County judge is expected to decide in September if a new trial request for a Carpentersville woman now in prison for the murder of a toddler at a day care center has merit or should be thrown out of court. Attorneys for Melissa Calusinski, 28, who is serving a 31-year sentence for killing 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan at the now-closed Minee Subee in the Park in Lincolnshire, filed the motion seeking a new trial June 23. Judge Daniel Shanes has 90 days from the day the petition was filed to determine if it has merit and should continue for hearing. Shanes can also deny the petition and throw it out of court. On Monday, Shanes set a Sept. 21 date to decide if the petition should go to the second stage of the process, or if it does not meet the criteria for a second trial. A jury convicted Calusinski in 2011 of killing Kingan of Deerfield after prosecutors proved she threw the boy to the floor and caused his fatal injuries. In her petition, attorney Kathleen Zellner argues a new trial is warranted because of the discovery of a set of legible autopsy X-rays taken of Benjamin's skull that clearly showed the toddler was suffering from a pre-existing injury when he died. After the legible X-rays were discovered, forensic pathologist Nancy Jones reviewed the X-rays and determined Benjamin died from a chronic case of cerebral swelling of the brain due to repetitive concussions brought on after the child bumped his own head in October 2008. Jones stated in the court document the chronic condition was exacerbated through the final months of Benjamin's life by continued "head banging." She added the fatal blow came from Benjamin bumping his head on the floor at the day care center 15 to 20 minutes before he died."
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150706/news/150709450/

Death penalty under scrutiny; (Part 3); Commentator Robert J. Smith contemplates, "the end of the death penalty," as he notes that recent Supreme Court opinions suggest there are five votes to abolish capital punishment."..." But the bitterly divided 5–4 opinion has implications that extend far beyond the narrow question. This case may become an example of winning a battle while losing the war..........The most damning problem is the inability to guarantee the factual guilt of the people juries send to death row." Slate;

GIST: "On the surface, the Supreme Court’s opinion in Glossip v. Gross appears to give death penalty proponents something to celebrate. After all, the court allowed states to continue to use the sedative midazolam as part of a multidrug formula for lethal injections, despite Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s warning that such executions “may well be the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake.” But the bitterly divided 5–4 opinion has implications that extend far beyond the narrow question. This case may become an example of winning a battle while losing the war..........The most damning problem is the inability to guarantee the factual guilt of the people juries send to death row. Justice Antonin Scalia once underscored that lethal injection was an “enviable” death compared with that suffered by an “11-year old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat.” Last year, DNA evidence demonstrated that Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown, the two men sentenced to death for the crime Scalia used as his poster case for the death penalty, are innocent. Or consider the case of Paul House, an inmate sentenced to death who claimed that the scratches on his arm came from “tearing down a building, and from a cat”—not as the result of a struggle with the victim. Chief Justice John Roberts mockingly commented on House’s version of events: “Scratches from a cat, indeed,” he wrote. In 2009, DNA evidence exonerated Paul House.........After Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell, the flashlight is shining brightly on Kennedy’s death penalty jurisprudence. His road map for considering the evolution of contemporary societal norms, coupled with Breyer’s invitation to challenge the death penalty in its entirety, plausibly heralds the twilight of the death penalty in America."

The entire commentary can be found at:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/07/death_penalty_at_the_supreme_court_kennedy_may_vote_to_abolish_capital_pun
ishment.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bulletin: Abdel Baset al-Megrahi; Scottlsh court rules that relatives of people killed in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland cannot launch an appeal on behalf of the only man convicted of the attack. "Some of the victims' families believe al-Megrahi was not responsible for the bomb that exploded aboard a New York-bound Boeing 747 in 1988, killing 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground."

"Judges at a Scottish court ruled Friday that relatives of people killed in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland cannot launch an appeal on behalf of the only man convicted of the attack. In an unusual case, relatives sought to appeal on behalf of the late Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer. Some of the victims' families believe al-Megrahi was not responsible for the bomb that exploded aboard a New York-bound Boeing 747 in 1988, killing 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground. Many of the victims were American college students flying home for Christmas. Usually only a convict's executors or family can mount a posthumous appeal. Judges in Edinburgh at Scotland's Appeal Court ruled that the law does not "allow victims or relatives of victims to be direct participants in criminal proceedings." Al-Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in 2001 and released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with cancer. He died in Libya in 2012, still protesting his innocence. Aamer Anwar, a lawyer for the victims' relatives and al-Megrahi's family, said he would continue the legal battle."
 http://www.thewhig.com/2015/07/03/court-rejects-bid-by-lockerbie-victims-families-to-appeal-on-behalf-of-convicted-bomb

Bulletin: Jeffrey Havard; Mississippi; Death Row; Lawyer/blogger Steve Graham discusses the judge's 'gate-keeping' function: Whether or not new evidence about expert witness Steven Hayne's testimony warrants a new trial. "The change in Dr. Hayne’s testimony coincides with a shift in thinking in the medical community on the subject of shaken baby syndrome. One of the physicians who originally developed the science of Shaken Baby Syndrome published a paper in 2012 expressing concerns about the misapplication of the science. The physician, Dr. Norman Guthkelch, wrote: “While society is rightly shocked by an assault on its weakest members and it demands retribution. But there seem to have been instances where both medical science and the law have gone too far in criminalizing alleged acts of violence of which the only evidence has been the changed clinical state of the infant.” And that is pretty much the Jeffrey Havard case." (Must Read; HL);


"After 13 years the Mississippi Supreme Court has finally conceded that Jeffrey Havard is entitled to a hearing at the trial court level on whether or not the new evidence about the expert witness Steven Hayne’s testimony warrants a new trial. In 2002, Dr. Hayne made several unsupportable conclusions about the way Havard’s girlfriend’s daughter died. He has since clarified and retracted many of the statements over the years, but this has left a 13-year mess and an innocent man still behind bars. See my prior posts about the Jeffrey Havard case here and here. In 2002, Jeffrey Havard was charged with murder. The pathologist Steven Hayne testified that the death was caused by shaken baby syndrome. Havard’s lawyer asks for a second opinion from an independent pathologist but that request was denied. At the trial, Dr. Hayne testified: “It would be consistent with a person violently shaking a small child. Not an incidental movement of a child, but violently shaking the child back and forth to produce the types of injuries that are described as shaken baby syndrome, which is a syndrome that is known for at least 45 years now.” Years later in an interview with the Clarion Ledger, Dr. Hayne seemed to back away from that conclusion. He later prepared an affidavit for the defense team explaining: “At trial I testified that the cause of death of Chloe Britt was consistent with shaken baby syndrome. Recent advances in the field of biomechanics demonstrate that shaking alone could not produce enough force to produce the injuries that caused the death of Chloe Britt. The current state of the art would classify those injuries as shaken baby syndrome with impact or blunt force trauma.” (Thus consistent with Havard’s explanation that the child accidentally fell and hit her head.) The change in Dr. Hayne’s testimony coincides with a shift in thinking in the medical community on the subject of shaken baby syndrome. One of the physicians who originally developed the science of Shaken Baby Syndrome published a paper in 2012 expressing concerns about the misapplication of the science. The physician, Dr. Norman Guthkelch, wrote: “While society is rightly shocked by an assault on its weakest members and it demands retribution. But there seem to have been instances where both medical science and the law have gone too far in criminalizing alleged acts of violence of which the only evidence has been the changed clinical state of the infant.” And that is pretty much the Jeffrey Havard case. Extremely shocking allegations that were deeply disturbing to the members of the jury. At his trial, the criminal defense lawyer at the time was denied funding for an independent expert. The only testimony the jurors heard was the flawed testimony of Dr. Hayne, which he later has partially recanted. An independent expert can assist a court in exercising its gatekeeping function by revealing to the judge that the opinion offered by the state’s expert is scientifically flawed." http://www.grahamlawyerblog.com/2015/07/05/jeffrey-havard-gate-keep-function/

Brandon L. Garrett: Death penalty under scrutiny: (Part two); "Last Words for the Death Penalty."...   "For the first time in recent memory, the threat sensed by death-penalty supporters is palpable."..."Public opinion has shifted dramatically. Justice Breyer notes that a majority of Americans would prefer to punish the worst of the worst by imposing life without parole over the death penalty. Innocence is playing a role. Cases with false confessions, lying informants, shoddy forensics and eyewitness misidentifications have led to a remarkable surge in exonerations, including over 140 from death row. Had the Court not ordered further hearings for exoneree Anthony Ray Hinton, he might have been wrongly executed because of flawed forensic evidence. Last year and after he spent 30 years on death row, DNA tests exonerated Henry Lee McCollum, whom Justice Scalia long used as the poster-child for why we need the death penalty: Huffington Post;


COMMENTARY:  "Last words  for the death penalty," by Brandon L. Garrett and Lee Kovarsky, published by the Huffington Post on June 30, 2015. (Brandon L. Garrett Professor of Law, University of Virginia. Lee Kovarsky: Professor of Law; University of Maryland);

GIST: ""Monday, the Supreme Court Justices delivered their oral opinion summaries in the Term's high-profile death penalty decision, Glossip v. Gross. Rather than reading from his concurring opinion or from a prepared statement, Justice Antonin Scalia -- still frazzled from release of the same-sex marriage cases -- appeared to be improvising. He accused Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of expressing personal "policy preferences," and added that the "two justices are willing to kill the death penalty outright rather than just pecking it to death." Why the defensiveness and outrage? Glossip was a 5-4 victory for death penalty states, which retained leeway to use new and untested lethal-injection "cocktails." Scalia was part of the majority but he sounded strangely like he was uttering last words. Justice Samuel Alito's presentation of the majority opinion was also unusually defensive and hostile to the dissenters. Justice Alito insists it is "settled that the death penalty is constitutional." In a career-defining dissent, Justice Breyer showed just how unsettled the American death penalty remains. ........Justice Sotomayor dissented, calling this a "surreal" endorsement of inhumane "human experimentation." Justice Breyer did more. Joined by Justice Ginsburg, he wrote a dissent arguing that the death penalty is flat out unconstitutional, and he characteristically loaded his opinion with empirical data. In doing so, Breyer and Ginsburg joined the ranks of predecessors such as John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun who, in their later years on the Court, declared they no longer believed that there exists a constitutional way to administer capital sentences. In 1994, an 85 year-old Blackmun penned a memorable single-Justice dissent swearing off his participation in capital process: "From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death." For Justices Breyer and Ginsburg, the death penalty cannot escape a dilemma's horns -- the procedural protections necessary to make the penalty reliable mean that the process takes so long that it no longer serves its retributive or deterrent purposes. For the first time in recent memory, the threat sensed by death-penalty supporters is palpable. Capital sentencing and execution rates have been slowing considerably for a decade. Texas -- Texas -- has not sentenced a single person to death in 2015. Virginia, which executed the second highest number of prisoners in the modern death penalty era (since 1976), has not imposed a death sentence in over two years. Justice Breyer noted that seven states have abolished the death penalty in recent years, and that others have come to the brink of doing so. Justice Breyer described how even, in states such as Texas and Virginia that retain the death penalty, a small number of outlier counties still account for most capital sentences. Public opinion has shifted dramatically. Justice Breyer notes that a majority of Americans would prefer to punish the worst of the worst by imposing life without parole over the death penalty. Innocence is playing a role. Cases with false confessions, lying informants, shoddy forensics and eyewitness misidentifications have led to a remarkable surge in exonerations, including over 140 from death row. Had the Court not ordered further hearings for exoneree Anthony Ray Hinton, he might have been wrongly executed because of flawed forensic evidence. Last year and after he spent 30 years on death row, DNA tests exonerated Henry Lee McCollum, whom Justice Scalia long used as the poster-child for why we need the death penalty. Yet the same proceedings that so often bring miscarriages of justice to light result in enormous delays in carrying out death sentences.......Whatever Glossip's formal holding, the body language of the Justices suggests that the death penalty is in a precarious position. The younger Justices appointed by Democratic presidents -- Sotomayor and Kagan -- did not join Justice Breyer's dissent, but the smart money is that they would vote with their senior colleagues if presented with the opportunity to strike the penalty down. With four likely votes to invalidate capital punishment, the fate of the institution may rest with Anthony Kennedy. That scenario cannot make the Court's conservative bloc comfortable, particularly after the last week. Meanwhile, in the court of public opinion and on the ground, the death penalty is clearly losing support as each year passes."

The entire commentary can be found at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brandon-l-garrett/last-words-for-the-death-_b_7699638.html?utm_hp_ref=crime&ir=Crime

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;