Monday, March 28, 2011

The Imminent Wrongful Execution of Eric King

Our country is within 24 hours of executing someone who is probably innocent of the crime for which he was convicted.

Based on the undisputed testimony of Phoenix Police Sergeant Richard Switzer and eyewitness Frank Madden, Eric King could not have been involved in the robbery and murder for which he is to die. Those two witnesses were confident that the shooter was over six feet tall. Switzer, who had the better opportunity for comparison, identified the unknown participant to be taller than the known participant, Richard Jones.

Jones is 6 feet 1 inch tall. He was in the company of the shooter that night when the shooting took place. He was not charged with any crime. Instead Jones traded Eric King's life for his. It was a tough call, but you have to do what you have to do. Richard Jones walked free, Arizona got their conviction, and Eric King will get the needle.

Lady Justice will be glad she is blindfolded.

How can we as a society be so certain of Eric King's guilt that we are willing (and in too many circles, eager) to kill him? Eric King is 5 feet 8 inches tall, roughly one-half foot shorter than the shooter. To understand how substantial this height difference is, study the scaled comparison above.

Are you confident with your part in killing the man on the right even though two witnesses, one a trained police officer, tell you that the person who committed the crime was as tall as the man on the left?

Would you push the plunger?

Whether you like it or not, as Americans we each own at least a small part of this execution.


Anonymous said...

I called and emailed and told them to read your blog.

GTriest said...

Not much to say; the standards of proof for the death penalty should be higher than beyond reasonable doubt, it should be a standard of "no alternative possibility", meaning if there is an alternative possibility then the defendent is not guilty.
From what I read about this case, I don't think it even reached a level of beyond reasonable doubt. It was quite reasonable to doubt that man did it, considering the low quality of the evidence against him.

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