Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dr. Smith and Capital Punishment

Dr. Charles Smith, it seems safe to say now, has utterly ruined many peoples' lives. One coroner who was either remarkably incompetent or simply paranoiac in how he viewed autopsies led to at least 20 cases handled incorrectly. In several cases, most notably that of William Mullins-Johnson, people actually did jail time. In Mullins-Johnson's case he had apparently exhausted his appeal options prior to the province realizing that Smith was incompetent.

I cannot imagine going to prison for over a decade for a heinous crime I did not commit - a heinous crime that never happened. That said, we now have a chance to make amends for the horrible miscarriage that happened in this case. One wonders what would happen in a place like Texas to convicted child-killer and rapist who had exhausted his appeals. This was not though a total failure of the system for complex reasons. This was not a collusion of police and prosecutors. This was one incompetent doctor.

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