The Curmudgeon


Saturday, February 15, 2014

With Prejudice

Even in the Christian state of Texas, it appears, one can lock up an innocent man for too long. Jerry Hartfield was sentenced to death for murder in 1977, but the execution didn't take place fast enough and his conviction was overturned, whereupon the state governor commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. There was no retrial, and the district attorney has had the magnanimity to acknowledge that the Christian state of Texas "may be partially responsible" for that little omission. Nevertheless, it is only fair to say that a certain measure of blame attaches to Hartfield, who has the customary racial handicap and has cunningly arranged for a learning disability and a low IQ in order to avoid filing the necessary papers. Eventually some troublemaker pointed out to Hartfield that an overturned conviction means there is no sentence to commute, and the appeals courts ordered him retried or released. He is scheduled to stand trial again in a couple of months although, according to his lawyers, at least one key witness for the prosecution has died and some of the evidence has gone missing. All in all, it is the sort of thing which certainly couldn't happen here, particularly once the Graybeing vision has been fully implemented and our forensics service is run by Serco, our courts by G4S and the Department of Public Prosecutions by News Corporation.


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