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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mark Godsey and Ohio Innocence Project on A&E's American Justice Saturday

CrimProf Blogger Mark Godsey runs the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.  Among his cases is one from where DNA points to another suspect.  It has been blogged here before.  The case will be featured this Saturday on A and E's American Justice at 11 p.m., 10 central.  The episode: "What the Girl Saw. On June 6, 1998, between midnight and 6:30 a.m., a man crept into 58-year-old Judith Johnson's home, and raped and killed her--while her 6-year-old granddaughter Brooke slept. Brooke told police that a man who looked and sounded like "Uncle Clarence" did it. Despite new evidence--including Brooke's reidentifying a local resident, with a history of violent sexual attack and a dead ringer for her uncle, as the killer--Clarence Elkins' appeal was denied. His wife vows to continue her fight to free him." [Jack Chin]

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I cannot think of anything new to add about the Clarence Elkins case, so I would just like to post my opinion as plainly as I expressed it to Clarence Elkins on the Free Clarence web page they announced on American Justice this morning (I included it as my URL to help make it more accessible to those who did not watch AJ this morning).

= = = = =

Dear Clarence,

I watched "American Justice" this morning (11/27/05) and cannot believe you are still in prison. Tonight I decided they made a mistake airing this show on "American Justice" (hereinafter, AJ). Instead they should have created a series called "American Injustice." Your case should have been the debut episode.

After the public opinion is in on the evidence presented on this morning's show I can't help but wonder about Judge Hunter and Prosecutor Carrol. I think every case they have ever participated in should be reviewed and these two poor excuses for lawyers should be disbarred immediately if everything presented on AJ this morning is totally correct. If, however, there is information I should know but don't, then, of course, I would revise my statements accordingly. So hereby amend my previous statements to mean, if the judge or the prosecutor know in their heart that they "might" be wrong then I stand by every opinion I have stated (because a "might" clearly constitutes a reasonable doubt).

If the AJ reporting is accurate I think either the Governor of Ohio or the President of the United States should immediately pardon you and the State of Ohio should pay you for irreparable damage to your reputation, not to mention the loss of so many years of life in freedom. If the Aj reporting is accurate I hope the best lawyers in America will offer to handle your case pro bono (if they believe what they heard on AJ is entirely true).

If the AJ reporting is accurate I think the judge, prosecuting attorneys, and every juror should have to serve an equal amount of time in prison ... perhaps the little girl as well for lying on the stand, but maybe not the little girl because she did recant, but why they would not heed the recantation of a much older child totally baffles me.

Anyone who has listened to the F. Lee Bailey tape on eye witness testimony will tell you how unreliable this kind of testimony may be, so taking the word of a six year old, well, it just seems incredulous to me. If you are going to use a six year old's testimony to convict an innocent man, then, in a capitol case, you shouldn't exclude a six year old from getting "life, without parole" or "lethal injection."

[My wife reviewed this message and the only thing she said I should leave out is this last sentence. She said, "She didn't kill anyone so you shouldn't say six years olds should be killed (for lying)." Well, I didn't say SHE (or any six year old, or any adult) should be killed for lying, but six year olds who do kill someone should have to suffer the same consequences as an adult if their testimony is allowed to have the same weight as an adult's (in any kind of case) if this case is allowed to become a precedent; God Forbid THAT!

My wife misunderstood my analogy but since she said exclude my name if you are going to include that last sentence I will. She is totally in support of your freedom, she is just not in total agreement with my opinion about justice and six year olds. No, I don't have any kids, so my opinion is totally objective, not subjective, as it might be if I had any kids. For me it is basic math; two plus two equals four ... not allowed to be subject to a "six year old" clause of any nature.]

Before I added the two paragraphs above, I had written, "My wife is behind your efforts to regain freedom as much as I am. She told me to post my opinion on every web page I can find that discusses your case and that is what I intend to do. I will answer any emails you write."

If the AJ reporting is absolutely accurate, then given the injustices committed I am certainly not going to give out my address, state, city, or zip because tonight's "American Justice" has made it clear there is no justice in parts of America and if you think the prosecutors of some parts of America are out to get the average man (one who can't afford Robert Shapiro or F. Lee Bailey or anyone on the "dream team," then they just need to look at your case to realize that being suspicious of The Law isn't paranoia in some cases, it is the truth if everything I heard on TV this morning about your case is totally true. And if they are going to use DNA testimony in any case ever again then it should not matter why it was introduced in your case. All that should matter is it's relevancy to your freedom.

Bob Travis

(My wife said to not tell her name if I write everything I think needs to be said, so I didn't.)

Posted by: Bob Travis | Nov 27, 2005 3:00:19 AM

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