Imagine that you are convicted of a crime that you didn’t commit and then sentenced to life in prison. Twenty years after your conviction, changing technology makes new ways of analyzing evidence possible, proving your innocence. The DA for the state still, knowing that you are innocent, manages to use the legal system to keep you in prison for another decade. He even does so far as to hide the fact that the only witness in the case had died.

Mr. Lott tried vacate his conviction in 2018 based on exonerating DNA results, but former District Attorney Paul Smith opposed the motion. Instead, on the eve of Mr. Lott’s evidentiary hearing, the DA offered only to modify Mr. Lott’s sentence, which would have released him from prison but kept the conviction on his record. Mr. Lott accepted the agreement on July 9, 2018. In doing so, Mr. Lott was freed after spending 35 years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit- with 10 of those years being served AFTER the legal system knew that he didn’t commit the crime. That’s a legal system, not a justice system.

“Former District Attorney Smith’s opposition to the irrefutable evidence of Mr. Lott’s innocence was a blatant miscarriage of justice,” said Barry Scheck, Innocence Project’s co-founder and special counsel. “This unwillingness to acknowledge the truth in addition to the systemic factors at play in Mr. Lott’s wrongful conviction cost him 35 precious years — and have plagued other wrongful conviction cases in Ada for decades.”

It’s cases like this that force me to oppose the death penalty. The cops, the prosecutor, the judges, they all work for the same employer. It is virtually certain that some people have been executed for crimes that they didn’t commit. If we as a society execute one innocent person, we are all collectively guilty of murder. That is why I remain opposed to the death penalty- the system is flawed, designed to reward those employees of the government for convicting people of crimes, whether or not the convicted person actually committed them.

In this case, they took his life from him, or at least the part that counts, nearly as certainly as if they had killed him.


Anonymous · October 12, 2023 at 6:48 am

In the same circumstance i would have been going back to jail right after I got done torturing the prosecutor to death.

    Anonymous · October 12, 2023 at 9:04 am


Noway2 · October 12, 2023 at 8:17 am

I would rather be dead than spend an hour in prison. I have nothing but contempt and disdain for the legal system and I despise everyone who is part of it.

Henry · October 12, 2023 at 8:27 am

“That’s a legal system, not a justice system.” – Absolutely correct, and unfortunately it’s not widely understood to be that way. Our legal system doesn’t guarantee justice or fairness, it only guarantees a certain minimum amount of (due) process. And absolute immunity for judges and prosecutors means all but the most egregious instances of misconduct go unpunished (at least in this life; if you believe in God you can hope that an eternal “reward” will be handed to the corrupt legal system employees).

    Divemedic · October 12, 2023 at 8:33 am

    I would argue that due process isn’t a guarantee. All one needs to do is look to the corruption of that process vis a vis the J6 defendants.

Aesop · October 12, 2023 at 8:56 am

In such situations, the only fair recompense is to put the judge and DA in prison for an equal period of time, or the balance of the original sentence, whichever is greater.

It would concentrate their diligence and attention span wonderfully if that were part of the deal.

D · October 12, 2023 at 9:35 am

> It’s cases like this that force me to oppose the death penalty.

I’ve felt that way for a while. I’m curious how a system like that would work and how it would change society.

Imagine if the only time government could kill you was “exigent circumstances”.

And looking at the current costs for prisons, staffing, pensions, etc…I wonder what it would cost to basically build miniature monolithic domes–say 500 square feet that have power, water, and septic hooked up. Stack ’em close together somewhere like the Nevada desert. Lock hard-core criminals inside and have a way for them to communicate with a “central jailer” if there are problems. Surround the “several square miles” area with fencing, razor wire, cameras, and a few guards who can “shoot on sight”. Have a weekly delivery where they get bottled water, basic food supplies, trash pick-up, mail delivery, etc…

    Phil B · October 12, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    There already exists an ultra secure facility that you propose but with much less costs.

    Deep seam coal mines are common. if the criminals want to live in a criminal society, send them down the mine and let them get on with it. Lower a cage of food and supplies once a week with a list of those whose sentence has been served. Of course, provide electricity for light and heat. You would need few guards at the pit head but it would need to be wired with explosives to destroy the winding gear if there was a raid by other criminals to free their friends.

    It would work for the Mexican Drug Cartels too and the illegal invaders.

Andrew · October 12, 2023 at 9:41 am

I did a 180 on the Death Penalty many years ago.
All it took was a few people “let out of prison after spending decades on Death Row”.
There needs to be a disincentive for wrongful persecution (spelled intentionally).
Maybe double the penalty for anyone involved in such an act would help.

(Relatively) recently, there was a case where a guy, out on paroled, kidnapped, robbed, raped, and murdered a young lady.
He was on an “unmonitored ankle monitor” to boot, which was part of how he was found.
I wish I had the list of charges he got, but “they threw the book at him”, which is also dumb.
Rape, murder, kidnapping was enough.
I got in a few arguments about people wanting “death penalty”.
For every scuzzball caught basically “red handed”, there’s some who aren’t, just “suspected”.
(Look up “Reagan Tokes” if you want).

Steve · October 12, 2023 at 10:26 am

I am not opposed to the death penalty per say, Life without the possibility of parole is still a death sentence. I can name two very high profile cases in this State where there was no doubt that the accused was guilty, but they were given life sentences because of where in the State they did their crimes. If we aren’t going to bother to execute those types then there is no reason to execute anyone. Life with no parole will suffice. That way if we do make a mistake we can’t really fix it but we can make an effort.

Matthew W · October 12, 2023 at 11:16 am

I unequivocally support the death penalty.
Short story is that there are people who have demonstrated by their actions that they should not be in our society.
BUT !!
The standards for convicting a death penalty case needs to be much, much higher.

    Divemedic · October 12, 2023 at 11:20 am

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I support the death penalty IN THEORY. However, when talking about it AS APPLIED and PRACTICED by the same government that can’t even deliver my mail without losing it, I just can’t. There are too many criminals, assholes, and morons working for the government for me to ever trust them with my healthcare, my life, or my freedom. Nope.

      Echo Hotel · October 12, 2023 at 2:35 pm

      That’s what I was going to say, DM. That it seems you are for the death penalty in principle, but not in execution. 😉

JG · October 12, 2023 at 12:47 pm

I have been a juror on multiple trials and one was a Murder trial. The Murder trial lasted 6 weeks and it was clear to all of us that the person was guilty of murder and attempted murder. The person that was almost killed by him identified him as did another person that was picking up garbage for the city. Evidence on the dead person, his car, and the gun the police got when they captured the criminal also identified him. We did not set what the person got for his crime, but the Judge gave it a week later.

    Divemedic · October 12, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    Don’t forget that the court system ensures that the jury only sees what the judge wants them to see. What may have been obvious to you may still have not been a true picture of what actually happened. Perhaps there was a piece of evidence that was deemed inadmissible, or perhaps the prosecutor had a piece of exculpatory evidence that he deliberately buried. Or maybe not. Only those involved know.

Big Ruckus D · October 12, 2023 at 4:12 pm

I can see DM’s reluctance to allow executions knowing the system is rigged all to shit. And I can agree where there is any ambiguity about the evidence that lead to the conviction, capital sentences are not a good idea. Conversely, if the evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible with the perp having been caught in the act, especially if rock solid, crystal clear video exists of the crime (which is getting to be more common with modern CCTV) then I think a death penalty can still be imposed without potential for killing the wrongly convicted.

Of course, as dirty and corrupt as the legal system now clearly is, one has to wonder how much effort cops and prosecutors will go to in faking evidence and building a false case. With deep fake capability such as it already is, creating video out of thin air is not outside the realm of possibility. For the right political target, I’m sure the FBI will lend their hand towards faking anything needed to make for a solid looking case.

Really, what we need is more on the spot justice. When somebody is caught dead to rights molesting a child, committing a murder, or clearly engaged in major property crimes (looting, arson, etc.) it should be standard and accepted practice to shoot the fucker on the spot, and consider the matter properly settled. That obviates the need for a trial in which faked evidence would have the opportunity to conveniently show up.

Boneman · October 13, 2023 at 5:32 am

I like what B.R. Dave posted here. What troubles me with it as far as “CCTV” evidence goes is what can and will be created w AI. As to the spot justice, more of that too. A FAIR trial need not only apply to the accused. FAIRNESS should apply to the VICTIM too.

It’s a true conundrum and the scariest part? Our “Legal” (well put DM) System is (was?) one of the best in comparison.

Toastrider · October 13, 2023 at 7:11 am

The only way you fix this is by punishing — harshly — those who commit such acts.

That goes for any crime, including prosecutorial misconduct.

DWW · October 13, 2023 at 8:31 am

My argument against the penalty has long been this:
If ANYONE absolutely needs a package delivered on time and without any doubts to its delivery and security, we go down to the FedEx store, pony up for express delivery and insurance and send it on its way.
I know of no one who uses the Post Office in similar circumstances.

If I won’t trust the government to deliver a package every time, why would I trust them to kill somebody for me?


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