Official misconduct is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, study finds
CLOSENathan Myers, left, embraces his uncle, Clifford Williams, during a news conference after their 1976 murder convictions were overturned Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Photo: Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP)WASHINGTON – Actions by police officers, including witness tampering, violent interrogations and falsifying evidence, account for majority of the misconduct that lead to wrongful convictions, according to…
CLOSENathan Myers, left, embraces his uncle, Clifford Williams, during a news conference after their 1976 murder convictions were overturned Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Photo: Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP)WASHINGTON – Actions by police officers, including witness tampering, violent interrogations and falsifying evidence, account for majority of the misconduct that lead to wrongful convictions, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Registry of Exonerations that focused on the role police and prosecutors play in false convictions in the country.Researchers studied 2,400 known convictions of innocent defendants over a 30-year period and found that 35% of these cases involved some type of misconduct by police. More than half – 54% – involved misconduct by both police and prosecutors. The findings by the National Registry of Exonerations, a project that collects data on wrongful convictions in the country, come as protests over racial injustice and police brutality engulfed many cities for several months following the May death of George Floyd. Floyd, who was Black, died after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, and three others have since been charged. More recently, the police shooting of Jacob Blake sparked days of unrest in Kenosha, Wisc. and has raised questions about whether shooting him was justified. Tarnished brass: Fired for a felony, again for perjury. Meet the new police chief.George Floyd protests: Journalists blinded, injured, arrested covering protests nationwideThe events researchers analyzed – police misconduct that leads to the convictions and imprisonment of innocent people – are different, but related and often overlooked, said Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan law professor and one of the authors of the study. Misconduct that leads to wrongful convictions rarely come to light and don’t usually lead to mass protests and a racial reckoning, although they involve the same reliance on secrecy and deception, Gross said. “The basic underlying truth is if you’re innocent of a crime and you were convicted of it, the chances of it ever coming to light are, first, not great and, second, get worse and worse the less serious a crime it is,” Gross said. “If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor and you’re innocent of it … the chance of anybody caring is very low.”But, Gross said, “We’re not talking about all police officers or most police officers. What’s disturbing is it happens at all and it happens with some regularity.”As of Monday, the National Registry of Exonerations has nearly 2,670 people who have been exonerated since 1989, and the list grows regularly.Theophalis Wilson, with friends and family behind him, walks out of the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia after being exonerated for a triple murder that took place when he was a teenager, for which he served 28 years in prison. (Photo: Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)The study, which looked at 2,400 of these cases, found that hiding evidence that is favorable to defendants is the most common type of misconduct.Researchers cite five murder trials in which prosecutors concealed evidence about the cause of death. In one case, a woman was convicted of killing her boyfriend, but prosecutors did not disclose a medical report that found he had died of suicide.”In a few rape exonerations, the authorities concealed evidence that the complainants had a history of making false rape allegations,” according to the study. “And in at least a dozen child sex abuse cases, police, prosecutors and child welfare workers concealed statements by the supposed victims that they had not in fact been molested.”In some cases, police officers falsely claimed they were victims of assaults by defendants. In one such case, police officers from Chattanooga, Tenn. they beat a defendant at a reentry facility because he defended himself. Adam Tatum was sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting officers but was later exonerated after video showed that officers attacked him without provocation. Tatum sued and later settled for $125,000.Tarnished brass: We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records.Consequences are rare.Police officers were disciplined or convicted of crimes in only 19% of exonerations that involved some type of misconduct, according to the study. That’s a rate five times higher than those for prosecutors, whose misconduct account for 30% of the cases. Perhaps most infamous is former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge who was convicted of perjury for lying about his role as the leader of a group of officers who tortured suspects into confessing. Former Chicago Police Department commander Jon Burge was released from custody in Tampa in 2008. (Photo: Steve Nesius, AP)Researchers also found that misconduct by police and prosecutors is among the leading causes of disproportionate false conviction of Black defendants. For example, 78% of Black defendants who were wrongly accused of murder were convicted because of some type of misconduct. That number is 64% for white defendants, according to the study. An even wider gap: 87% of Black defendants who were sentenced to death were victims of official misconduct. That number is 68% for white defendants.Still, reforms have happened in the past several years.For example, violent interrogations have become less common in the past 15 to 20 years, in large part, after more and more states began requiring police departments to record interrogations. In 2013, the Justice Department and the International Association of Chiefs of Police called for investigative reforms meant to prevent wrongful convictions, including new guidelines on recording police interviews and greater scrutiny of eyewitness identifications.Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/15/police-misconduct-among-leading-causes-false-convictions/5795715002/Find New & Used CarsNew CarsUsed CarsofPowered by Cars.com
Britney Spears Shares ‘Like a Virgin’ Dance With Madonna at Her Wedding
Spears is seen getting close to Madonna for some “Like a Virgin” fun in a new video from her wedding reception. Madonna, with special guest singer Britney Spears, performs during her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Dodger Stadium on November 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/GI The footage from Britney Spears and Sam…
Spears is seen getting close to Madonna for some “Like a Virgin” fun in a new video from her wedding reception. Madonna, with special guest singer Britney Spears, performs during her Sticky and Sweet Tour at Dodger Stadium on November 6, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/GI The footage from Britney Spears and Sam Asghari’s wedding keeps coming. In a new clip shared on social media on Saturday (June 11), Spears gave fans one more glimpse at what it was like to celebrate with her famous friends, courtesy of another clip featuring Madonna. Spears is seen smooching and dancing with her husband, showing off her wedding gown and getting close to Madonna for a little “Like a Virgin” fun in a series of wedding reception videos posted this weekend. Explore See latest videos, charts and news See latest videos, charts and news Spears and Asghari tied the knot on Thursday (June 9), eight months after they announced their engagement. The pair met in 2016 on the set of the singer’s “Slumber Party” video. “LIVING IS GIVING … pssss don’t worry I had my first diamond thong underneath my jacket … hope I didn’t offend anyone,” the pop star captioned the latest post from her wedding celebration, where at some point in the night she’d also recreated her legendary kiss with Madonna from the 2003 MTV VMAs. In another cute video that had already circulated after the nuptials, Spears, Madonna, Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez, Drew Barrymore and Donatella Versace were seen singing along to another Madonna’s classic, “Vogue.” Check out the “Like a Virgin” moment, which happens about 23 seconds into the clip below. Get weekly rundowns straight to your inbox Subscribe
Military abortion options expected to be debated in annual defense bill process
The nationwide debate over abortion will be a key point of contention in the upcoming defense authorization bill process later this month, with a key Democratic lawmaker saying the issue needs to be part of the military readiness discussion.“If readiness is impacted by the fact that women are going to have to travel thousands of…
The nationwide debate over abortion will be a key point of contention in the upcoming defense authorization bill process later this month, with a key Democratic lawmaker saying the issue needs to be part of the military readiness discussion.“If readiness is impacted by the fact that women are going to have to travel thousands of miles when they are in need of an abortion service, then we need to look at that,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and chairwoman of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said this week.Committee staff said no specific language regarding military abortion services or access was included in the personnel section of the measure approved on Wednesday. Instead, the language focuses on things like the annual military pay raise and family support provisions.But committee members will be able to offer a wide range of amendments on the issue as part of the full committee mark up on June 22.RELATEDSpeier would not specify what proposals she or her colleagues will offer on the issue, but said that servicemembers should not be treated like “second-class citizens” when it comes to access to health care services.“We need to clarify for service members who are raped, subjected to incest or have situations in which their life is at risk: Where can they actually get an abortion?” she said.Last week, Speier and 81 other Democratic House members unveiled legislation that would allow military medical treatment facilities to provide abortion services to members of the military. Under current law, those procedures are banned except in cases of rape, incest and critical medical need.But supporters say they believe a change is needed in the wake of reports that the Supreme Court later this summer could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion across America.RELATEDAt least 26 states — including locations like Texas, with major military bases — have indicated they will outlaw the procedure within days of such a Supreme Court decision. Speier and other democratic lawmakers have said that would leave military members assigned to those locations without medical options if they find themselves in need of an abortion.Separately, numerous lawmakers have asked for defense officials to clarify rules regarding leave time and travel assistance if female troops seek an abortion across state lines. Army officials have said they are looking into the issue.Past committee debates over the availability of abortion services at overseas military bases have provided some contentious moments in the annual defense bill work, with conservative lawmakers firmly against any loosening of the current rules.Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.
Mo Donegal wins pulling away, leads 1-2 finish for Pletcher at Belmont Stakes
NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest…
NEW YORK: Triple Crown veteran Todd Pletcher had simple advice Saturday for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. before the Belmont Stakes. “Be patient,” Pletcher said. “I think you have the best last quarter of any horse in the race.” Sometimes, less is Mo. Mo Donegal pulled away down the home stretch and held off filly Nest to win the Belmont Stakes, giving Pletcher a 1-2 finish and his sixth Triple Crown victory, including four at this track on the outskirts of New York City. “To be honest with you, we were a little confident going into the race today,” Donegal Racing CEO and co-owner Jerry Crawford said. “When he turned for home, I was like, forget about it. I know Todd thought he could get a strong last quarter mile, and he surely did.” Rich Strike, a stunning Kentucky Derby winner at 80-to-1 odds, was sixth. Mo Donegal rounded the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2 minutes, 28.28 seconds, three lengths ahead of Nest — ridden by Ortiz’s brother, Jose. Pletcher, who lives on Long Island, adds another Belmont title following wins with Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017. Mo Donegal beat an eight-horse field without a clear favorite. We the People, a monster in the mud, opened at 2 to 1 amid a rainy forecast but reached 7 to 2 by race time as showers held off. Mo Donegal entered the gate the betting favorite at 5 to 2. We the People led for much of the race, but Mo Donegal and Ortiz took charge coming out of the final turn. The 3-year-old colt paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3. Nest — who nearly became Pletcher’s second filly to win Belmont after Rags to Riches — paid $5.30 and $4.10. Skippylongstocking was third and returned $5.60 to show. We the People finished fourth. Rich Striker owner Rick Dawson and trainer Eric Reed held the Kentucky Derby winner out of the Preakness with an eye on Belmont, the first healthy horse to skip Pimlico after winning the Triple Crown’s first even since 1985. Reed said the team encouraged jockey Sonny Leon to try pushing Rich Strike from the outside, but the horse kept trying to get back inside — where he made a late charge past 19 horse to win at Churchill Downs. Rich Strike spent much of the race in last place and couldn’t recover. “I think we just made a tactical error,” Reed said. Just like Rich Strike, Mo Donegal was at the back of the pack at the Derby, but the colt didn’t have enough kick at Churchill Downs. He found it Saturday, winning the 154th running of the $1.5 million race. Mo Donegal made a winner out of co-owner Mike Repole, a local entrepreneur known around the track as “Mike from Queens.” Repole also co-owns Nest. “This is New York’s biggest race and to win it here, with my family and friends and 70 people here, this will be a big winner’s circle,” he said. It’s the fourth straight year the Triple Crown contests were won by three different horses, a first for the sport since 1926-29. The race marked a return to form for Belmont itself after the 2020 Stakes were closed to the public due to the pandemic and the 2021 event was limited to 11,238 spectators by virus restrictions. Capacity was capped again, this time at 50,000, because of congestion concerns stemming from the newly built arena next door for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Still, fans crammed into cars on the Long Island Rail Road and breathed life into the 117-year-old track with floral headwear, pastel suits and the unmistakable musk of booze and cigars. The reported attendance of 46,103 fell far short of the grounds record 120,139 set in 2004. Not much of a surprise, given the shaky weather forecast and the lack of a Triple Crown contender. The field was sparse, too. No horse ran all three Triple Crown legs this year, heightening concern that three races in five weeks may be too tight a schedule to keep the horses healthy. Preakness winner Early Voting was sidelined, likely to prepare for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 27. Epicenter, the runner-up at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, also skipped. In the $500,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, Matareya romped to a 6 1/4-length victory. Favorite Echo Zulu scratched at the post on the advice of the track veterinarian. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya ($2.60) ran the mile in 1:35.77, winning for the fifth time in eight career starts. Heavily favored Flightline got off a step slow, overcame an early traffic issue and cruised to a six-length victory in the $1 million Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Mile. The victory kept the 4-year-old Tapit colt undefeated in four career starts. This was the first one he did not win by double-digit lengths. Flightline ($2.90) was also ridden by Prat and trained by John Sadler.