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Thread: So we want to shoot someone in a simple fight

  1. #1
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    So we want to shoot someone in a simple fight

    Well....it might get costly in Richmond.

    Richmond murder conviction reversed in appeals court

    http://www.nbc12.com/story/16538089/...rsed-on-appeal


    Richmond's Commonwealth Attorney says he still wants a conviction and intends to keep Cunningham in jail. "Our position is the sorts of fights that seem to erupt in the Bottom, huge crowds, somebody feeling besieged, somebody pulls out a weapon, this stuff needs to come to an end," said Herring.
    Last edited by peter nap; 01-18-2012 at 10:29 AM.

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    Yeah, i thought the whole idea of carrying a firearm is to pounce on the first chance we can to shoot someone?


    I really REALLY feel disgusted at people who say that. I guess we are supposed to be defenseless in order to be a good person?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJEEPER View Post
    Yeah, i thought the whole idea of carrying a firearm is to pounce on the first chance we can to shoot someone?


    I really REALLY feel disgusted at people who say that. I guess we are supposed to be defenseless in order to be a good person?
    Don't use a firearm in Richmond....Use a Missile
    Banjo says we can!



    I'm not sure Herring really understands the difference between feeling besieged and being nearly killed.

    Last edited by peter nap; 01-18-2012 at 11:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Don't use a firearm in Richmond....Use a Missile
    Banjo says we can!



    I'm not sure Herring really understands the difference between feeling besieged and being nearly killed.

    Kind of scary. Sort of makes me feel like someone trying to suggest that just because you keep "one in the pipe" that you must then be looking for the first/any chance to use it.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdan01 View Post
    Kind of scary. Sort of makes me feel like someone trying to suggest that just because you keep "one in the pipe" that you must then be looking for the first/any chance to use it.
    I'm sure some prosecutors have used that argument.
    Richmond's willingness to charge every shooter is the reason so many SD shooters simply pick up their brass and leave.
    The Bottom and surrounding area is a tough place.

    http://www.nbc12.com/story/16541566/...ember-attacked
    Choir member attacked

    52-year-old Donald Vann came close to becoming a homicide victim. I learned that, during a phone conversation I had with his mother tonight. Vann was shot during what appears to have been a robbery attempt, on his way to choir rehearsal, last Tuesday.
    VCDL had a dinner at Bottoms Up Pizza Sunday night. I wore my 1911.
    One of the NOVA members leaned over and said "I wish I'd known what the area was like, I wouldn't have left my gun"
    Last edited by peter nap; 01-18-2012 at 12:18 PM.

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    Regular Member ncwabbit's Avatar
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    makes you wonder where the parents are...

    this type of teenage behaviour did not occur overnight...

    7 teen video:
    One of the teens, a 17-year-old, was charged as an adult, and the rest — a 15-year-old girl, two 16-year-old boys and three 15-year-old boys — were cited in juvenile delinquency petitions.
    http://www.suntimes.com/10081824-417...n-youtube.html

    we just had an incident in small town NC recently:
    Two 16-year-olds — Mikel Sharil Jones and Xaviera Zy’Keez Davis — are being held without bond in the Nash County detention center while Trekwan Jaquez Dickens, 16, two 14-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy are being held in secured custody without bond.


    The teens allegedly stole $1.99 and a 24-ounce beer from the 67-year-old homeless man, then assaulted him (he died couple of days ago) and ran away.
    http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/ne...ess-man-835411

    sigh...am i that olde to remember the times when i did something across town (minor mind you) and my parents were already hollaring about it when i walked through the door?

    wabbit
    Last edited by ncwabbit; 01-18-2012 at 12:32 PM.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncwabbit View Post
    this type of teenage behaviour did not occur overnight...

    7 teen video:
    One of the teens, a 17-year-old, was charged as an adult, and the rest — a 15-year-old girl, two 16-year-old boys and three 15-year-old boys — were cited in juvenile delinquency petitions.
    http://www.suntimes.com/10081824-417...n-youtube.html

    we just had an incident in small town NC recently:
    Two 16-year-olds — Mikel Sharil Jones and Xaviera Zy’Keez Davis — are being held without bond in the Nash County detention center while Trekwan Jaquez Dickens, 16, two 14-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy are being held in secured custody without bond.


    The teens allegedly stole $1.99 and a 24-ounce beer from the 67-year-old homeless man, then assaulted him (he died couple of days ago) and ran away.
    http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/ne...ess-man-835411

    sigh...am i that olde to remember the times when i did something across town (minor mind you) and my parents were already hollaring about it when i walked through the door?

    wabbit
    It probably went on then Wabbit.
    In Richmond, most of that takes place in or near the projects and in the 50's it was probably going on in the projects. I grew up in the country so I have no idea.

    The problem now is that the projects seem to cover 80% of the city. I still live in the country and am damned glad of it.
    Seems like they are all either Felons or Felons in training.

  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    According to court documents, the Commonwealth asked Cunningham about the illegal purchase of a gun used in the shooting.
    The Appeals Court judge ruled that testimony in that line of questioning was against Virginia law, which states attorneys can't bring up illegal acts just to attack the character of a defendant.
    We asked Michael Herring to explain that law to us: "Things that seem to be obviously relevant and to be common sense, will sometimes run afoul to the rules of evidence," said Herring. "So, in a homicide trial where you can believe the defendant that he was in fear for his life, but to think that the jury would want to know and be entitled to know that he had illegally obtained the guy[sic] [should be "gun"] that he shot the guy with; this is one of those occasions. However, where the rules conflict with our understanding of what would be relevant and appropriate."
    So the Richmond City Commonwealth Attorney knows that the line of questioning is not allowed, that pursuing the line of questioning will result in a mistrial, but thinks that in spite of a long history of rulings that the line of questioning is not allowed it "ought to be" revelant and appropriate. I wonder if he ever apprenticed under the Surry County Commonwealth Attorney?

    Or is that line of questioning inappropriate?

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    From an article at the time of his conviction:

    He [the deceased] was 20, loved music, he graduated high school in Petersburg at the age of 16. He was about to start college at Norfolk State. Jeremy Uzzle had his whole life before him, when an argument and fight outside the Have a Nice Day Café in Shockoe Bottom ended everything.

    Police had broken up the fight. Kevin Cunningham left, went to a friend's car, grabbed a gun and went back. He fired one fatal shot into the chest of Jeremy Uzzle
    .
    All I know is what I read... but if this account is true, I can see why the jury rejected a claim of self-defense.

    TFred

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    man that video really got my blood pumping

  11. #11
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Court Opinion

    I would very much appreciate Dan's analysis of this opinion, and his opinion of the conduct of the Commonwealth's Attorney!

    Transcript:
    During the Commonwealth’s cross-examination of appellant, the following exchange took place:

    Q. Now, you didn’t have a permit for that weapon, did you, [appellant]?

    A. No, ma’am.

    Q. You did not purchase that weapon legally, did you?

    A. No, ma’am.

    [APPELLANT’S COUNSEL]: Objection. What is the relevance of this?

    THE COURT: What is the relevance?

    [PROSECUTOR]: The relevance is the character of [appellant].

    [APPELLANT’S COUNSEL]: It’s not proper character impeachment, Judge. It is irrelevant.

    [PROSECUTOR]: He’s breaking the law, he just hasn’t been caught. I think that’s appropriate for the jury to hear.

    THE COURT: Overruled.

    [PROSECUTOR]: Thank you.

    Q. You did not purchase that firearm through legal means, did you?

    A. No.
    The Court of Appeals then went on to conclude -- and this is important:
    Here, at trial, the only basis the Commonwealth proffered to support the admissibility of evidence that appellant’s possession of the firearm was illegal was that it showed his “[poor] character.” Although evidence that appellant possessed and used the weapon was relevant to the issue of appellant’s guilt for the charged offenses, whether that possession was legal or illegal was not relevant to an element of the charged offenses or to appellant’s credibility as a witness. Manifestly, the evidence that appellant possessed the firearm illegally was inadmissible as character evidence. Indeed, the Commonwealth, on appeal, does not dispute appellant’s claim that the trial court erred in allowing the Commonwealth to impeach appellant’s credibility with evidence that he obtained the firearm illegally. Thus, we hold that the trial court’s overruling of appellant’s objection on this issue was error.

    ...

    The error here was not harmless. In addition to improperly eliciting from appellant testimony that he did not obtain the firearm legally, the Commonwealth emphasized that illegal possession in closing and expressly tied appellant’s possession of that illegal firearm to its argument that his testimony was not credible. Appellant’s credibility was key to his defense: If the jury had believed appellant’s account of the events, it could have concluded he acted without malice such that he was guilty of no more than voluntary manslaughter.
    Herring is both wrong and borderline malicious. Perhaps he is Exhibit A for a need in Virginia for Stand Your Ground.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    .... Perhaps he is Exhibit A for a need in Virginia for Stand Your Ground.
    I thought we already had "stand your ground" under case law:

    No Duty to Retreat When Doing a Lawful Act and Suddenly Attacked


    Decarlos Coleman v. Commonwealth, Va. App. (2002 Unpublished)
    "Appellant next contends the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense. We disagree.
    "Self-defense is an affirmative defense which the accused must prove by introducing sufficient evidence to raise a reasonable doubt about his guilt." Smith v. Commonwealth, 17 Va. App. 68, 71, 435 S.E.2d 414, 416 (1993) (citing McGhee v. Commonwealth, 219 Va. 560, 562, 248 S.E.2d 808, 810 (1978); Yarborough v. Commonwealth, 217 Va. 971, 979, 234 S.E.2d 286, 292 (1977)). "[A] person assaulted while in the discharge of a lawful act, and reasonably apprehending that his assailant will do him bodily harm, has the right to repel the assault by all the force he deems necessary, and is not compelled to retreat from his assailant, but may, in turn, become the assailant, inflicting bodily wounds until his person is out of danger." [emphasis added] Dodson v. Commonwealth, 159 Va. 976, 979, 167 S.E. 260, 260 (1933) (quoting Jackson's Case, 96 Va. 107, 30 S.E. 452 (1898))."
    See Also : Gilbert v. Commonwealth, 28 Va. App. 466, 473, 506 S.E.2d 543, 546 (1998).



    The issue here is, was the defendant covered by this ruling since he chose to first retreat and withdraw from the affray to the relative safety of his car, where he then obtained the handgun and then returned to the scene. Did he then become the aggressor in a new and different affray?

    I have some doughnut holes that are all but begging to be wagered on that.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    I thought we already had "stand your ground" under case law:



    The issue here is, was the defendant covered by this ruling since he chose to first retreat and withdraw from the affray to the relative safety of his car, where he then obtained the handgun and then returned to the scene. Did he then become the aggressor in a new and different affray?

    I have some doughnut holes that are all but begging to be wagered on that.

    stay safe.[/LEFT][/INDENT]
    Good points to consider. My concern is Herring's attitude as applied to any case of self-defense.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    I thought we already had "stand your ground" under case law:
    Case law...CASE LAW...we don't read no steenkin case law in Virginia.
    If it ain't wrote in this



    With these


    It don't count!

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    Regular Member Mayhem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJEEPER View Post
    man that video really got my blood pumping

    Mob assault and kicks to the head??? If I was that guy... Lead would by flying!

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    Regular Member R50FJ60's Avatar
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    Am I missing something here? The court doesn't think that the character or past actions of the aggressor is relevant? If he was unable to legally purchase a firearm, chances are that he has a record of behaving in such a manner that would indicate this was premeditated (to me he didn't just pull it split second and shoot in defense, minuets before he could have made the decision to shoot the man regardless).
    What I am trying to say is that it is obscene the past actions do not merit an opinion to be formed. I'm sure that if he had been an upstanding model citizen who was in legal possession of the firearm, he would have had his past records and actions (good deeds) brought forth to help paint a nice picture of himself in his defense.
    So pretty much, my rant is as follows:
    -stupidity that his past violent actions that barred him from legally purchasing a firearm cannot be accounted for in constructing potential motives or reasons for resorting to such actions
    and
    -that little clause should be changed. If somebody has a record of committing aggressive crimes/acts, it damn well better be brought to light so the jury cannot be duped into thinking the potential sociopath is just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Do I make sense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by R50FJ60 View Post
    Am I missing something here? The court doesn't think that the character or past actions of the aggressor is relevant? If he was unable to legally purchase a firearm, chances are that he has a record of behaving in such a manner that would indicate this was premeditated (to me he didn't just pull it split second and shoot in defense, minuets before he could have made the decision to shoot the man regardless).
    What I am trying to say is that it is obscene the past actions do not merit an opinion to be formed. I'm sure that if he had been an upstanding model citizen who was in legal possession of the firearm, he would have had his past records and actions (good deeds) brought forth to help paint a nice picture of himself in his defense.
    So pretty much, my rant is as follows:
    -stupidity that his past violent actions that barred him from legally purchasing a firearm cannot be accounted for in constructing potential motives or reasons for resorting to such actions
    and
    -that little clause should be changed. If somebody has a record of committing aggressive crimes/acts, it damn well better be brought to light so the jury cannot be duped into thinking the potential sociopath is just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Do I make sense
    ?
    Dating in origins from the 1300-1400's, it is a maxim that it is better that 20 guilty people go free than one innocent person is convicted.

    We spent centuries overcoming innuendo and rumor in English law. England was very, very lucky that King Henry II laid the ground work for jury trials and the accusatory system just years--less than a century--before the rest of Europe fell under the sway of the Inquisition where innuendo and rumor and malicious gossip could lead to torture and death. England missed out on the Inquisition precisely because it already had the beginnings of an accusatory system by the time the Inquisition started to rise.

    Further, an actual legal premise is innocent until proven guilty.

    Facts that prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt are what is wanted. Not facts about a criminal record that indicate he might be guilty. Or, might be more likely to be guilty. What if a person had reformed after his last brush with the law? What if the person is at heart of questionable integrity and occasional petty crime, but did not actually commit this crime? Dare we give government the power to go after bad people using innuendo and implication, for surely once government can use inuendo and implication on anybody, it will turn those weapons on others who might be innocent. Just ask Stephen Hatfill, Richard Jewell, and the Duke Lacrosse team.

    Prior history has its place. But, not here.

    Prior history of good deeds or community contribution would be useful. And, prior history of the attackers during a self-defense trial. But, when guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, innuendo and implication have no place.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-18-2012 at 07:00 PM.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Dating in origins from the 1300-1400's, it is a maxim that it is better that 20 guilty people go free than one innocent person is convicted.

    We spent centuries overcoming innuendo and rumor in English law. England was very, very lucky that King Henry II laid the ground work for jury trials and the accusatory system just years--less than a century--before the rest of Europe fell under the sway of the Inquisition where innuendo and rumor and malicious gossip could lead to torture and death. England missed out on the Inquisition precisely because it already had the beginnings of an accusatory system by the time the Inquisition started to rise.

    Further, an actual legal premise is innocent until proven guilty.

    Facts that prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt are what is wanted. Not facts about a criminal record that indicate he might be guilty. Or, might be more likely to be guilty. What if a person had reformed after his last brush with the law? What if the person is at heart of questionable integrity and occasional petty crime, but did not actually commit this crime? Dare we give government the power to go after bad people using innuendo and implication, for surely once government can use inuendo and implication on anybody, it will turn those weapons on others who might be innocent. Just ask Stephen Hatfill, Richard Jewell, and the Duke Lacrosse team.

    Prior history has its place. But, not here.

    Prior history of good deeds or community contribution would be useful. And, prior history of the attackers during a self-defense trial. But, when guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, innuendo and implication have no place.
    You can bring up the criminal history but it haas to be relevent to the crime.
    The best example is the way lawyers defended against rape claims.
    They would bring up any sexual experience the woman had to prove she was a loose woman and deserved to be raped.
    This case in the bottom is far from the cut and dried shooting the police woule like everyone to believe.

    Is he a model citizen (No relationship to our Citizen)..
    No but that really has nothing to do with what happened.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    You can bring up the criminal history but it haas to be relevent to the crime.
    The best example is the way lawyers defended against rape claims.
    They would bring up any sexual experience the woman had to prove she was a loose woman and deserved to be raped.
    This case in the bottom is far from the cut and dried shooting the police woule like everyone to believe.

    Is he a model citizen (No relationship to our Citizen)..
    No but that really has nothing to do with what happened.

    OK.

    Your example is one where prior history of the accuser is used to benefit the defendant. Our member above wants to use prior history of the defendant to imply guilt rather than prove it.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    OK.

    Your example is one where prior history of the accuser is used to benefit the defendant. Our member above wants to use prior history of the defendant to imply guilt rather than prove it.
    Same idea works both ways from what I understand...but then, I'm not a lawyer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Same idea works both ways from what I understand...but then, I'm not a lawyer.
    Yes, I've heard the same, but not specific to VA.

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    Regular Member R50FJ60's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, i'm pretty sure I understand now.
    It is a shame though, that a person who is guilty beyond a doubt goes free due to lack of evidence or some silly loophole. That is what I was trying to get out of my rant, sort of.
    Nobody is perfect, but its just so plain obvious (sometimes) that some people really feel no remorse or regret of doing anything heinous. These are the ones that makes me wish it was possible to address things on a case by case basis. . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by R50FJ60 View Post
    SNIP It is a shame though, that a person who is guilty beyond a doubt goes free due to lack of evidence or some silly loophole. That is what I was trying to get out of my rant, sort of.
    A shame? I don't really consider it such, because I can compare it to government's possible abuses did it have more latitude. Your average street criminal can only affect the people he meets. A nasty government affects everyone in its jurisdiction. So, one angle is that this is the price we pay--some criminals go free--to keep an even bigger bunch of criminals off our back.

    If you take a close look, many of those silly loopholes are actually your rights or procedures that protect your rights. If a judge lets a bad guy off because of a silly loophole, for example, illegally obtained evidence during traffic stop, the judge is doing his job. Its the cop who screwed it up. It is the judge's job to let the accused off in a manner of speaking--throw out the charges, suppress certain evidence, etc.

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    Regular Member R50FJ60's Avatar
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    Woah. So, we pretty much can't win? Gov't overstepping its boundaries or potential for criminals to accost you? I do agree though, any evidence acquired via illegal means should be tossed out (there I go contradicting myself).

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    Quote Originally Posted by R50FJ60 View Post
    Woah. So, we pretty much can't win?
    Sure you can win. Criminals do get caught and jailed. The error is to assume you can't win if you can't catch all criminals.

    And, you definitely win if government stays off your back by playing by the rules.

    Read up on the Spanish Inquisition for an example of what happens when the accuser is the prosecutor is the judge. Mere rumor or malicious gossip could be enough to get you arrested, questioned (no 5th Amendment), tortured, and messily executed--like burned at the stake.

    Of course, we're not that bad in the US today, but recall the cop detective in the second half of Prof. Duane's video about not talking to cops. The detective served in the military, had a view of other justice systems. He said that in many countries a post-arrest interrogation starts physically.

    You should check out cases of prosecutorial abuse in this country. Talk about a reminder of the Inquisition! Some of the current and recent cases are chilling.

    Also, check out the Innocence Project, a non-profit that fights to free wrongly convicted people. I think they are up to about 250 exonerations now. The last guy I heard of was in prison for 18 years. The nasty part is the prosecutors who refuse and fight like the devil to prevent testing of DNA. You'd think they wouldn't want an innocent person jailed, that they would welcome testing the DNA to find out if an innocent person was convicted, but oh no. Some of them fight tooth-and-nail to prevent testing.

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