A Second Kick at Jimmy Lee Page

There was so little evidence linking Jimmy Lee Page to a 1987 double homicide in Texas that jurors shook Page's hand and congratulated him after he was acquitted. Despite the acquittal, Page went back to prison. He was on parole for an unrelated homicide, and parole officials, unconstrained by the need for proof beyond a reasonable doubt, decided on the basis of a police detective's testimony that Page was guilty. His parole was revoked and he's been in prison ever since.

Seems unfair that a single governmental employee can negate the judgment of a unanimous jury, doesn't it? It is, but it happens all the time.

Last year, 91 Texas parolees were returned to prison after being charged with a new crime, even though the charges against them were later dropped or they were acquitted in court.

Although the Supreme Court required parole revocation hearings to provide at least rudimentary due process, the liberty of a parolee is viewed as "conditional," and it can be taken away (without a jury trial) if the government proves that the parolee probably violated a condition of parole. The right to confront a witness is essential to a fair trial, but confrontation is often limited or nonexistent at revocation hearings.

That no witness with firsthand knowledge of the crime testified during Page's revocation hearing didn't trouble the Texas authorities who revoked his parole. Nor were they troubled by the absence of physical evidence linking Page to the crime. While a victim of the attack had identified Page, he identified two other individuals at other times. The police detective who testified was certain of Page's guilt, and that seems to have been all the evidence that was needed.

And so Page sits and waits, having been denied parole a dozen times in the last twenty years, and wonders what his acquittal is worth.

< On Imus: Rich Gets One Thing Right, He Is A Hypocrite | Gonzo: I Was Not The Decider on Prosecutor Purge >
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    welcome back TChris (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 14, 2007 at 11:26:15 PM EST
    You've been missed!

    Man (none / 0) (#2)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Apr 15, 2007 at 12:38:07 AM EST
    How did I know that this guy would turn out to be black?

    Easy (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by exposetruth on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 10:25:43 AM EST
    It was probably easy FOR you...just like it's easy for us to know you're a racist.

    lol (none / 0) (#5)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 07:33:19 PM EST
    Wow, made a new nickname just for that one? I'm flattered. And all in the name of defending Texas's deplorable treatment of African-Americans. I heart our wingnuts!

    parole (none / 0) (#3)
    by diogenes on Sun Apr 15, 2007 at 06:36:28 PM EST
    You know, nowadays he might have gotten "Life without parole", since this is being offered as the kinder, gentler alternative to the death penalty, and this would all be moot.