California's About to Execute a Framed Man

Case shows everything that's wrong with the death penalty
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2010 1:54 PM CST
Governor Schwarzenegger's the only one who can save Kevin Cooper now.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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(Newser) – Judges around the country are decrying an upcoming California execution, because there’s ample reason to believe the condemned man was framed by police. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to hear the case of Kevin Cooper, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times explains, despite an extraordinary judicial opinion from four federal circuit court judges that reads like “a 21st-century version of Emile Zola’s famous ‘J’Accuse,’” laying out “countless anomalies” in the case.

The lone, 8-year-old witness initially told police that three white men had killed his family—but by trial, that had changed to a lone black man, who somehow wielded a hatchet, an ice pick, and one or two knives. The blood linking Cooper to the scene contained the same preservatives police use on test tube samples. The list goes on. “This case is a travesty,” writes Kristof, “a disgrace that threatens not only the life of one man, but the honor of our judicial system. Governor Schwarzenegger, are you listening?”

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