Is the Wrong Man on Death Row?

Jeffrey Toobin, writing for the January 17, 2005 New Yorker, has a long article on Arizona death row inmate Martin Soto-Fong, and asks whether former prosecutor Kenneth Peasly put the wrong man on death row (pdf)? Soto-Fong was 17 at the time of the crime. The article is not available at the New Yorker site, but the Federal Defender's office in Arizona has put up a copy.

Last year, Peasley acquired another distinction: he was isbarred for intentionally presenting false evidence in death-penalty cases—something that had never before happened to an American prosecutor. In a 1992 triple-murder case, Peasley introduced testimony that he knew to be false; three men were convicted and sentenced to die. Peasley was convinced that the three were guilty, but he also believed that the evidence needed a push.

...According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since the mid-nineteen-seventies a hundred and seventeen death-row inmates have been released. Defense lawyers, often relying on DNA testing, have shown repeatedly how shoddy crime-lab work, lying informants, and mistaken eyewitness identifications, among other factors, led to unjust convictions.But DNA tests don’t reveal how innocent people come to be prosecuted in the first place. The career of Kenneth Peasley does.

Read the whole thing, it's fascinating and Toobin doesa great job telling the story. Peasly, now disbarred, is working as a paralegal. He can apply to get his license back in four years. Soto-Fong remains on death row.

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    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kitt on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 03:43:54 PM EST
    Or see if your local library has access to 'EBSCOhost Databases.' Mine does and it gives access to journals, mags, etc. to which the library subscribes. (And if you're attending college somewhere you can get access to all kinds of cool stuff via the library.)

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 04:17:27 PM EST
    I never had the displeasure of dealing with this guy, but several lawyers I know here in Arizona who have say he's the worst and had been pulling sleazy s$#@ for years. Some years ago I was attending a defense seminar where one of the topics was dealing with prosecutorial misconduct. Almost the entire discussion centered on this prick's antics. Good riddance.

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sailor on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 04:38:06 PM EST
    I believe that California has a law that if you commit perjury, you are liable for the same sentence that the defendent would have been given. Let's put this guy on death row and send a message to all prosecutors.

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 01:23:02 AM EST
    A decade ago, in central/upstate New York (roughly the Cooperstown, Oneonta, Ithaca region), a group of New York State Police investigators developed the practice of planting fingerprints of their favorite suspects at crime scenes. They called it "framing the guilty..." and, as you might guess, a lot of people were convicted on synthetic evidence before the scam was discovered. The upshot was series of vacated convictions and several troopers wound up in prison.

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 07:46:32 AM EST
    If the glove don't fit, you must get a vial of blood and pour it on his sox.

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#6)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 11:01:53 AM EST
    When fellow Eichmanesqe expediters like dubya garner blood-red state glory,and,not only skate,but skate to the top,it sets a hell of a nasty precedent for others. Of course Clinton executed a retarded guy,as Wolfowitz comb-sucker Chris Hitchens never tires of pointing out.

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 01:42:59 PM EST
    I live here in Tucson, and this is just the tip of the proverbial ice berg. Pima County Attorneys are now being fired for dishonesty and so forth, but for some, it is too little too late ... like Selby, who killed himself after being convicted via what he says was fabricated evidence. The thing is, the same prosecutor, Brad Roach has had these complaints about fraudulent evidence and tampering in the past. He came in under supervision of Peasley. M

    Re: Is the Wrong Man on Death Row? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 12:47:59 PM EST
    Barbara LaWall, County Attorney is another evil one. Peaseley and David White were both in the Pima Co. Prosecutor's office on her guard. Lots of other odd stuff is happening in that office, and is now coming to light! As a diehard Dem, I am embarassed by Ms. LaWall, and refused to vote for her.