Not Prosecutors in Virginia.
In the State Of Virginia’s relentless pursuit to execute a retarded man (See, Atkins v. Virginia 536 U.S. 304 (2002) ) we now know the reason the prosecutor’s are so angry: Mr. Atkins may well be innocent of the accusation that he was the trigger man in a robbery. The death penalty in Virginia is only available for the person who pulled the trigger unlike Florida (motto: “we like to execute accomplices too”).
And in Virginia, getting a conviction means never having to say you’re sorry.
Attorney Leslie Smith who defended a co-defendant in this case, encountered the type of ethical dilemma that is a criminal defense attorney’s nightmare- the requirement that he keep his client’s secrets to the detriment and possible life of another person.
What occurred was that while Smith’s client was being debriefed by the prosecutor: one Cathy E. Krinick, the prosecutor stopped the tape, and pointed out the troubling fact that Smith’s client’s testimony that Atkins was the trigger man was not supported by the evidence. Being a good prosecutor (not!) Krinick did what the homicide cops should have done- coached the witness to give testimony matching the evidence. Once that small problem was cleared up, it was home sailing through the trial and the death penalty.
But Smith was wracked by his conscience: while representing his client, he probably witnessed the prosecution assist his client in giving perjured testimony that was necessary to put Atkins to death. But to speak up would be to reveal a client confidence and put Smith’s own client at jeopardy. And Smith didn’t want that because it was clear that ol’ Cathy Krinick was not going to rest until she killed someone in this case.
The NY Times article is HERE
After several attempts, Smith was finally able to get a state bar ethics lawyer to agree that because his client’s case was over, he was free to come forward with his statement.
No word on whether the Virginia prosecutor’s office, having been denied their bloodlust in this case, is seeking the death penalty against Smith for having the audacity to tell the truth.
Speaking of telling the truth…
Canada has added the United States to a list of countries that includes Iran, China, Israel, Egypt, and Mexico as a country that tortures its prisoners.
The AP reports that the US Ambassador to Canada had this to say:
“Damn right baby. However, I would take slight issue with China and Mexico, only to the extent that we employ much more technologically sophisticated torture methods. A bullet to the back of the head is just so crude, don’t you think?”
Actually, the Ambassador had this to say:
''We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it's absurd,'' U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins told The Associated Press. "For us to be on a list like that is just ridiculous.'' (Notice Israel and Egypt were missing from the Ambassador's statement. Why? Well both are allies, and the CIA uses the threat of releasing prisoners to Egypt for torture as a way to get captives to speak.)
Not true? No way.
We torture people, pure and simple. And what President Bush and President Cheney don’t understand (because they never served in the military) is what Senator McCain and Collin Powell (former combat military officers) have said : that by using torture we are putting our own military at risk, because sure as you’re reading this, there will be another war, US soldiers will be captured, and we will have no right to complain when they are water boarded and held in the Iranian or North Korean (Or Canadian) equivalent of Guantanamo.
But since neither Bush nor Cheney nor their children are in the military,
c’est la vie (that’s Canadian for “The US is run by thugs and idiots.”)
Anyway, not many White Hats worn these days where they’re supposed to be.
See You In Court. It’s Tuesday after a Monday off. Yuck.