Family member sees ‘justice’ differently


I noted the Rev. Jeremy Tobin’s description of the justice system (“Poor, minorities paying price of ‘justice’,” Oct. 2 letter).

I thought I would offer another view – one from a victim’s family member perspective. The convicted serial killer in my own case murdered seven women in Louisiana.

Tobin states that our justice system “is built to round up black men, transfer public funds to private companies to warehouse them, and then kill them.”

This is quite different from my experience whereby serial murderer Derrick Lee was represented at trial by three very competent attorneys, one a Millsaps graduate.

As a result of overwhelming evidence – including seven bodies with his DNA, an eyewitness, and other forensic evidence – he was convicted and sentenced to death by a multiracial jury.

It is not true as Tobin says that offenders who are “well represented at trial do not get the death penalty.” Moreover, Lee is being housed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a state rather than a private institution.

Though Lee’s conviction has been upheld twice already at the level of the U.S. Supreme Court, Louisiana and Mississippi both allow for what is called post-conviction relief (whenever I use that term, I always pause to appreciate the utter irony of that nomenclature), which is yet another set of appeals allowed in capital cases, even those with overwhelming forensic evidence for guilt.

I will go again to Louisiana District Court on Wednesday as I have for years for yet another hearing whereby the defense attorney Gary Clements – out to “score more wins” as Tobin says the prosecutors do -files endless specious claims on behalf of his serial killer client. The post conviction process allows Clements to hijack the legal system, contrary to a rational application of the law.

To me it appears to be a clear case of defense attorneys failing to care at all about the human or fiscal cost of their actions, failing to value honor or justice for the dead, and – in my experience – contempt for the families of those who died at the hands of killers.

Here I have to agree with Tobin; our justice system is “anything but reasonable.” Were it reasonable in cases where DNA – which is considered absolute proof by the Innocence Project – is available, the obvious would be accepted. There is no logic for post-conviction appeals in such cases.

The post-conviction process should be congruent with scientific fact. Good science is the best certainty for justice for all of us – regardless of ethnicity or sex or income level.

Ann R. Pace

Jackson

Here

Fact sheet on Derrick Todd Lee

Victims

 

    • Jen
    • February 9th, 2014

    When does it stop? If DNA is the absolute truth in the innooce project, then why can it not also convict a man, especially when found in multiple victims in different parishes? DTL is NOT the victim, these 7 ladies & their families are. Let’s be honest – he didn’t murder only 7 women either. Enough Already. He’s said many times he was ready to die and face God, so put up, or shut up.

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