Trafalgar Square in London has for many years had an "empty plinth" - there should be a statue on it but there isn't. At present, anyone can book an hour to stand on the plinth and say or do whatever they like.
Today (Thursday 10th September) a group of campaigners have used the plinth to publicise the case of Linda Carty, a British woman who is on death row in Texas for a crime she did not commit.
She is supposed to have been part of a gang who abducted a woman and her child and murdered the woman. However, Linda Carty had no knowledge of the crime, did not know the woman, and is convinced that she has been framed by the three men who committed the crime because of her previous work as an undercover drugs enforcement operative.
A grave miscarriage of justice has taken place, and Linda Carty will die by lethal injection unless the authorities in Texas listen to the truth.
All I can do in her support is make a few people aware of the case. Perhaps somebody reading this might have some influence where it matters.
I read up on this woman thanks to your post. It is most depressing and shocking. I am a nobody, but I do have a friend who is a Federal Judge. I will speak to her and see what I can find out.
And do you have evidence that was not presented at that trial?
The evidence of the two people who could have provided her alibi was not called.
The evidence that apparently proved her motive was that she had had a miscarriage and was therefore likely to snatch a baby. However, she was 42 at the time, the pregnancy was not planned, and she had absolutely no wish for another child. These facts were also not presented in court.
As she has said, if you are black, poor, foreign and not properly represented, the odds are stacked against you. She suffered from all four.
She had a rotten lawyer and deserves an appeal. That is all. I googled her and read up on it.
Usually people deserve appeals if they have new evidence that might have changed the outcome of the trial. Bad lawyers are not one of them or every case would automatically get an appeal.
Death pentaly cases DO automatically get an appeal.
Thanks for bringing this to light. Texas seems to have an alarming number of wrongful convictions - and obviously those are just the ones that have been proven (or successfully argued, however you want to look at it).
Our justice system was designed very well. Obviously prejudice, cut-throat prosecutors, inept or apathetic court-appointed defenders, and a number of other factors can muddy this up quite effectively.
I'm glad there are advocates willing to donate their time to help someone in such a situation. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be convicted of a terrible crime that you did not commit.
A friend of mine used to work as a prison guard. Apparently according to the inmates, EVERYONE in there has been wrongly convicted.
Well, of course they are! It's a sticky business sorting out the few who were wrongfully swept up in the criminal justice net from the throngs of convicts proclaiming, "hey man, I'm innocent, too!"
That's why advocates and lawyers who choose to do it (often pro bono) are pretty commendable IMHO.
Don't count on justice in Texas for Linda Carty, not if Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller has anything to do with her case. Texas is #1 in executions in the U.S.
8-20-09 NYT Votes for Sharon Keller
An Unfit Judge
Published: August 20, 2009
Judge Sharon Keller, the Texas appellate court judge who closed the clerk’s office before a death row inmate could file a last-minute appeal, is fighting to keep her job. At a hearing on Wednesday, she said in a crowded courtroom that if she had it to do again, she would do the same thing. That testimony is further proof of why Judge Keller needs to be removed from the bench.
On Sept. 25, 2007, Michael Richard’s lawyers called the court clerk’s office to say they were running late in delivering the papers for his appeal. The Supreme Court had unexpectedly issued an order in another death penalty case that they believed provided grounds for putting off his execution. When the request to keep the office open reached Judge Keller, she insisted it would close promptly at 5 p.m. The appeal was not filed, and Mr. Richard was executed hours later.
Judge Keller is now facing five counts of judicial misconduct and a possible recommendation that the state judicial system remove her from the bench.
In court this week, Judge Keller lashed out at the condemned man’s lawyers, blaming them for the controversy. She argued that Mr. Richard could still have filed his appeal by seeking out another judge, but that misses the point. She did not follow appropriate procedures. And clearly, under any interpretation of the rules, given that a life lay in the balance, the clerk’s office should have stayed open.
Judge Keller’s profound lack of appreciation for the seriousness of taking a life — and the obligations it places on the state — is similar to the disturbing dissent that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas delivered this week in the Troy Davis case. They suggested there was no constitutional problem with executing a man who could prove he was innocent.
We believe the death penalty is in all cases wrong. But people who support it should still insist that it be carried out only after a prisoner has been given every reasonable chance to make his case. Judge Keller’s callous indifference in a case where the stakes could not have been higher makes her unfit for office.
8-21-09 Keller is Unrepentant, Would do nothing different.
* Trial of an Unrepentant Sharon Keller Wraps Up - Law Blog - WSJ
The seminal moment in the trial of Criminal Appeals judge Sharon Keller may have come on Wednesday, when she told a crowded courtroom in San Antonio that she would do nothing different if confronted again with a request to keep the clerk office open.
8-18-09 Judge Sharon Keller on Trial
* Killer Keller on Trial
The highest-ranking criminal judge in Texas, the woman who presides over the most active execution chamber in the country, sat at a defense table on Monday to face charges of intentionally denying a condemned man access to the legal system.
Texas Criminal Judge Accused of Misconduct
In this morning's NY Times I found a late entry in the Worst Woman in The World contest whose evil equals and perhaps even surpasses that of the current leader, Ann Coulter.
Gretel C. Kovach in the NYTimes article linked below describes the most recent candidate for the worst woman in the world, Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller chief judge of Texas' highest criminal court.
In 1998, Keller wrote the opinion denying a new trial for Roy Criner, a mentally retarded man convicted of rape and murder, even though DNA tests conducted after his trial showed that it was not his semen in the victim. Keller said, "We can't give new trials to everyone who establishes, after conviction, that they might be innocent. We would have no finality in the criminal justice system, and finality is important."
Of course finality is more important than justice in the justice system!
In one of his few such uncharacteristic moments of mercy, Governor George W. Bush pardoned Mr. Criner.
To Judge Keller's detractors, the Criner decision highlighted what they see as her strong and habitual bias for the prosecution. Texas defense lawyers describe her as a "law-and-order" zealot who rejects most appeals out of hand. Her defenders say she's a hard worker, an "engaging conversationalist" and admire "her calm confidence and the strength of her convictions." She's someone "who never complains, never explains." Her court colleagues have nicknamed her "Mother Superior" because of her devout Roman Catholic faith.
Seventeen months ago, lawyers for a man facing execution sought extra time to file a last minute appeal. Judge Keller refused to delay the closing of her clerk's office past 5p.m. even though late filings are common on the day of a scheduled execution. The man, Michael Richard was put to death a few hours later. Based on that case the State Commission on Judicial Conduct last month charged Judge Keller with incompetence, violating her duties and casting public discredit on the judiciary. Keller could be tried and forced off the bench. Keller was elected to the bench in 1994 in a campaign in which she described herself as "pro-prosecution."
Here's a link to Gretel Kovach's article
Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller
* Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller
In 1998, Judge Keller wrote the opinion rejecting a new trial for Roy Criner, a mentally retarded man convicted of rape and murder, even though DNA tests after his trial showed that it was not his semen in the victim. “We can’t give new trials to ev
Judge Sharon "Killer" Keller, Presiding Judge of Texas' Criminal Court
See all 12 photos
Why is Texas #1 in executions?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline … texas.html
FAIR TRIALS INTERNATIONAL
Linda Carty, a 46 year old British citizen, is on Death Row in Texas, convicted of murdering of a young mother in a bid to kidnap her baby.
There are many doubts surrounding her conviction and concerning issues that her case raises.
At her trial in February 2002, she was denied the counsel of her choice and was instead given a court-appointed defence lawyer who even stated in a sworn affidavit that he did not speak to Linda about her case until the middle of the trial, and then only once. In addition, the US authorities failed to advise the UK Government of the charges against her and, as a consequence, Linda did not receive any consular assistance.
In February 2002 Linda was found guilty of murder and convicted to death by lethal injection.
Linda's appeal is now pending before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. It has been filed by another court-appointed counsel and is hopelessly inadequate. As a result, the British Government stepped in to request that local prosecutors grant Linda Carty additional time days to enable her to finally secure effective legal representation. This request has been denied.
Linda Carty, a teacher, went to the U.S. in 1981 at the request of her father. She did not take U.S. citizenship, although she has Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status and spent her time studying.
Linda was arrested in 2001 after three men broke into her neighbour’s apartment, beat up the man living there and abducting his partner, Joana Rodriguez, 25, and Ray, her four-day-old baby. Ray was later found unharmed in a car, but Rodriguez, was found dead in the boot of another car, gagged and tied up. She had died from suffocation.
Linda was accused of planning the kidnap so that she could take her newborn child. Prosecutors allege that she and the 3 men tied Joana up with duct tape, taped a bag over her head and put her in the boot of a car, where she suffocated. She is alleged to have recruited the three men with the offer of 200 lbs of marijuana.
The three men testified against Linda, accusing her of planning the kidnap. The key witness was spared the death penalty and allowed to plead to aggravated kidnapping in return for his testimony. The other co-defendants, also convicted felons, received reduced sentenced for their testimony.
There is no forensic evidence linking Linda Carty to the crime. The two eyewitnesses described four men invading the house. There is no mention of a woman.
Linda has appealed and is seeking a post-conviction review from the state court. She is also submitting an application for hapeas corpus.
Fair Trial Issues
1. There is no forensic evidence.
2. There are no eye witnesses to place Linda Carty at the scene of the crime.
3. She was sentenced to death on the word of three co-defendants, all of whom were given reduced prison terms for their testimony.
4. Her court appointed lawyer has a record of having the highest number of clients in the USA who receive the death penalty.
What you can do to help
1. Write to Linda: Linda Carty #999406, Mountainview Unit, 2305 Ramson Road Gatesville, Texas 76528, USA
2. Write to the U.S. Ambassador, William S. Farish (of Texas) Embassy of the United States of America, 24 Grosvenor Square, London, W1A 1AE, U.K to request that he calls upon his government to urgently consider Linda's case.
© Fair Trials International 2007
Executions in Texas Under George W. Bush
George W. Bush during his six years as governor of Texas presided over 152 executions, more than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. Bush has said: "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully.... Each case is major because each case is life or death." In his autobiography, A Charge to Keep (1999), he wrote, "For every death penalty case, [legal counsel] brief[s] me thoroughly, reviews the arguments made by the prosecution and the defense, raises any doubts or problems or questions." Bush called this a "fail-safe" method for ensuring "due process" and certainty of guilt.
He might have succeeded in bequeathing to history this image of himself as a scrupulously fair-minded governor if the journalist Alan Berlow had not used the Public Information Act to gain access to fifty-seven confidential death penalty memos that Bush's legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, whom President Bush has recently nominated to be attorney general of the United States, presented to him, usually on the very day of execution. The reports Gonzales presented could not be more cursory. Take, for example, the case of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded man of thirty-three with the communication skills of a seven-year-old. Washington's plea for clemency came before Governor Bush on the morning of May 6, 1997. After a thirty-minute briefing by Gonzales, Bush checked "Deny"—just as he had denied twenty-nine other pleas for clemency in his first twenty-eight months as governor.
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