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Monday, January 8, 2007

CrimProf Laurie Levenson Comments on Convictions Without Physical Evidence

Levenson_1From latimes.com: Loyola Law School CrimProf Laurie Levenson recently commented on the Pasadena jury conviction of Michael Goodwin of murder in the deaths of racing legend Mickey Thompson and his wife, despite a lack of physical evidence tying the defendant to the murder scene.

The Thompsons were gunned down in the driveway of their home in the eastern Los Angeles County community of Bradbury on March 16, 1988, by two hooded gunmen who escaped on bicycles. The killers were never identified; Goodwin was charged with planning the murders.

With many mysteries still surrounding the case, observers had wondered if the jury would be able to reach unanimous verdicts so long after the crime. But jurors said the judge's instructions clarified how they viewed evidence during six days of deliberation. For example, jurors said that before joining the trial many of them did not know that circumstantial and direct evidence could be weighed equally in making their decision

CrimProf Levenson said judgments based on circumstantial evidence are often the norm in murder cases. "The evidence is still not proof beyond all doubt, it's just proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You don't have to dot all the I's or cross all the Ts, or have 'CSI' evidence to win a murder conviction." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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