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Sorry, We Executed Your Son by Mistake!

Posted by on May. 15, 2012 at 8:13 AM
  • 67 Replies
1 mom liked this

How many times do cases like this have to happen before the death penalty is abolished in this country?  I hate reading stories such as this one because they make me angry.

Supports of the DP can go ahead and call this a `mistake', but that won't bring this man back to life, nor take away the horror his family went through that this innocent man was essentially legally killed by the state.

Please justify.......GO!


Wrong man was executed in Texas, probe says

AFPBy Chantal Valery | AFP - 6 hrs ago

Related Content

  • File photo of the "death chamber" at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas. A report released Tuesday has found that the wrong man was executed in Texas in 1989 for a crime committed by another person with the same first name who looked very similar. (AFP Photo/Paul Buck)

    File photo of the "death chamber" ...

  • Columbia School of Law professor James Liebman and five students studied the case of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas in 1989 for the murder of Wanda Lopez. The execution of DeLuna despite evidence he did not commit the crime is "emblematic" of legal system failure, their probe has found. (AFP Photo/Ronald Martinez)

    Columbia School of Law professor ...

He was the spitting image of the killer, had the same first name and was near the scene of the crime at the fateful hour: Carlos DeLuna paid the ultimate price and was executed in place of someone else in Texas in 1989, a report out Tuesday found.

Even "all the relatives of both Carloses mistook them," and DeLuna was sentenced to death and executed based only on eyewitness accounts despite a range of signs he was not a guilty man, said law professor James Liebman.

Liebman and five of his students at Columbia School of Law spent almost five years poring over details of a case that he says is "emblematic" of legal system failure.

DeLuna, 27, was put to death after "a very incomplete investigation. No question that the investigation is a failure," Liebman said.

The report's authors found "numerous missteps, missed clues and missed opportunities that let authorities prosecute Carlos DeLuna for the crime of murder, despite evidence not only that he did not commit the crime but that another individual, Carlos Hernandez, did," the 780-page investigation found.

The report, entitled "Los Tocayos Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution," traces the facts surrounding the February 1983 murder of Wanda Lopez, a single mother who was stabbed in the gas station where she worked in a quiet corner of the Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi.

"Everything went wrong in this case," Liebman said.

That night Lopez called police for help twice to protect her from an individual with a switchblade.

"They could have saved her, they said 'we made this arrest immediately' to overcome the embarrassment," Liebman said.

Forty minutes after the crime Carlos DeLuna was arrested not far from the gas station.

He was identified by only one eyewitness who saw a Hispanic male running from the gas station. But DeLuna had just shaved and was wearing a white dress shirt -- unlike the killer, who an eyewitness said had a mustache and was wearing a grey flannel shirt.

Even though witnesses accounts were contradictory -- the killer was seen fleeing towards the north, while DeLuna was caught in the east -- DeLuna was arrested.

"I didn't do it, but I know who did," DeLuna said at the time, saying that he saw Carlos Hernandez entering the service station.

DeLuna said he ran from police because he was on parole and had been drinking.

Hernandez, known for using a blade in his attacks, was later jailed for murdering a woman with the same knife. But in the trial, the lead prosecutor told the jury that Hernandez was nothing but a "phantom" of DeLuna's imagination.

DeLuna's budget attorney even said that it was probable that Carlos Hernandez never existed.

However in 1986 a local newspaper published a photograph of Hernandez in an article on the DeLuna case, Liebman said.

Following hasty trial DeLuna was executed by lethal injection in 1989.

Up to the day he died in prison of cirrhosis of the liver, Hernandez repeatedly admitted to murdering Wanda Lopez, Liebman said.

"Unfortunately, the flaws in the system that wrongfully convicted and executed DeLuna -- faulty eyewitness testimony, shoddy legal representation and prosecutorial misconduct -- continue to send innocent men to their death today," read a statement that accompanies the report.

by on May. 15, 2012 at 8:13 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Platinum Member on May. 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM
4 moms liked this

I am against death penalty, even in clear cases.

by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM

sick sick sick

by Gold Member on May. 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM
1 mom liked this

They just did away with the death penalty in CT.  Except for those already on death row.

by Bronze Member on May. 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM
10 moms liked this

I know this is not going to be a popular view....

What this says to me is not that we need to get rid of the DP but that we need to be 1000% sure when we use it. 

From what this article is saying there were many big mistakes made. If it is a case where the DP is an option, those mistakes can not be allowed to happen. One way to safe guard against someone being wrongfully excuted is after the trial and sentencing....have a 3rd neutral party look over the case. EVERYTHING! Even down to the first cops notes from the first day.  When I say a 3rd party, I am not saying just one person. I am thinking a expert in law, an expert in police procedure, an expert in psychology, and an expert in forensic. 

If even one mistake is found, the DP would automaticly be pulled off the table and either a whole new investigation be started, or if it was a mistake in the law aspect, a new trial. 

I have read the view that the DP does not work as a deterrent. To a point that is true. However, part of that, IMO, is because it is not used in a consistent way. I don't care if you are a billionaire or have ten kill 3 people, you face the DP. I don't care if you are black, white, or somewhere in kill 3 people, you face the DP. I don't care if you are male or female....yall get the idea.

I also think the people who screwed up this investigation (the cops), and the people who let those screw ups slide (the lawyers, on both sides, and the judge) should be held accountable for this mans death!


~When the Government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right, is of no consequence!~

by Ruby Member on May. 15, 2012 at 2:29 PM
6 moms liked this

 I am for the death penalty following conviction by DNA evidence only.  No DNA, no death penalty.  Eye witnesses can be faulty.  Too many people have been exonerated due to DNA evidence after they've already been put to death.

by Bronze Member on May. 15, 2012 at 2:33 PM
3 moms liked this

I'm pretty much entirely against it. Sure, modern cases "nowadays" this mistake is supposedly harder to make, but there are still people on death row from the 70s that get executed in THIS decade and can be proven innocent after death... but as their trial and conviction already happened, it's not like they get a chance to prove it.

Idk. To me, even ONE mistake is too many. The system is flawed.

by Bronze Member on May. 15, 2012 at 2:40 PM

I was just about to post this in here., its so sad.

by Dixie on May. 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM
2 moms liked this

I used to be for the death penalty and never thought I would change my mind. Then I started watching Investigation Discovery. I saw just how many innocent people we own death row. Sometimes they would find out in time and somtimes not. When they didn't it made me sick that an innocent person was killed for no reason. When they did find out in time sometimes men would be jail for twenty to thirty something years of their lives for nothing. They were innocent. All that time taken away beacuse someone lied to get out of jail faster or to get off of death row. I started changing my mind fast.

by Nari Trickster on May. 15, 2012 at 2:46 PM
4 moms liked this

The chuckleheads in Texas just seem gung ho about executing people... I am against the DP..

by on May. 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I was here

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