Friday, April 15, 2005

Innocence Issue

I was curious if you are claming actual innocence or, did the crime and believe it should be commuted to life?
– Laura, Washington State

To Laura,

Since 1983 I have held that I did not pull the trigger that killed David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy, but I was still convicted in my first trial in 1984. I had a second sentencing trial in 1992. (My original death sentence was ruled unconstitutional by a case called Mills v. Maryland.) In the 1992 trial, I was told by a lawyer named Sally Chester that the only way I could get off death row was to tell the new jury I was guilty and to show remorse. I was sentenced to death again.

Laura, I did not kill these people. There was only one eye witness to this crime and she said I did not commit these murders. This witness was never brought to court for my trial in 1984. When I asked my lawyer why he didn’t put her on the stand he told me that she had nothing to offer.

This witness saw the entire crime through her shop window. Her store has a surveillance tape that shows her watching the crime. She gave the video to the police, but no one introduced the tape during my trial. The police finally handed over a lot of evidence in 2002 that shows that I was not the shooter.

Laura in this case alone five prosecutors who helped to convict me have become judges. They built their careers on convicting me. There is too much at stake for people to just hear me scream. I need the help of others.



Blogger English Blogger (Davie B) said...

Vernon, Please tell me that you now have full legal representation that is using every piece of your defense? This is one of many reasons why I will never support the death penalty. Your legal team should always use every piece of evidence that is your defense, what they did was tantamount to negligence. I do not know of your case, and you have been convicted of murder, but you should have a full appeal with all evidence being used. Then if found guilty, a life sentence should be given and not death. The USA is the only 1st World country that still uses the death sentence? Funny, it isn’t much of a deterrent is it?

Blogger matt said...

I am really disturbed by the possibilty that you have never been represented properly. You have also already mentioned racist comments from the police. At the end of the day, you know what is the truth, and whether you did it or not.

Personally, I'm not sure whether the death penalty is right or not, but what I do know is that it certainly isn't a deterrent, and that in today's world we are far from a system that doesn't make mistakes. In the USA it seems that large parts of the police force and judicial system are corrupt and/or incompetent, and in your case there are racist undertones which if they are true should shame your country.

Blogger Kevin F said...

If such a huge miscarriage of justice occurred, how come no one has sent the tape over to Bill O'Reilly?

He loves being the champion of the downtrodden.

Blogger English Blogger (Davie B) said...

If no one from Veron's team of friends in the USA has been in touch with The Innocence Project , and what Vernon says is true. Then will someone please visit here and contact them.

Blogger The Wissy said...

Nobody really knows if the death penalty could serve as a deterrent because it has never been administered consistently and promptly. In order for any deterrence to actually work the threat of retaliation has to be credible; the chances for a killer convicted of even a really heinous crime ending up on death row are slim. Once there, his execution can be delayed for twenty or even thirty years. The justice system has not proven to potential killers that they themselves will be killed if they take an innocent life; it's not surprising deterrence is not working.


Blogger Virginia Simmons said...

Hello everyone, I am please to tell you that Vernon does now have an excellent team of attorneys working on his case. I wish he always had and I wish that I could say the same for the rest of death row in America- but I can't.

Blogger English Blogger (Davie B) said...

Hello The Wissy

In the rest of the 1st World or Western World, no one else has the death penalty, and to be honest we are not over run with murder? Yes even in England we have murders but not on the scale that happens in USA, yet in USA you have the death penalty? 1962 saw the last person hanged in UK 1969 saw the death penalty abolished, yet we still manage to live a civilised lifestyle here, why not visit and see for your self. No one carries a gun, the odd Police car will be an armed response unit, but generally no guns.

The death penalty isn’t a deterrent; if it was then USA would be virtually murder free, as it is, it is a barbaric and cruel punishment, that you expect in a 3rd World dictatorship.

Blogger matt said...

Even if capital punishment is morally right (which I am undecided about), the staggering number of miscarriages of justice and unfair trials should be reason alone to ban it. I can't think of a way to ensure that no-one innocent is executed, and for that reason alone capital punishment should not be allowed anywhere.

Blogger Easy Writer said...

A very good examination on the moral effects on the death penalty in the US is the book written by Sr. Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking.

While she never actually examines the guilt or innocence of the men she meets on death row in Louisiana, she uncovers the inhumanity that is displayed by this ultimate punishment.

The Catholic stance on the death penalty is clear: the taking of a life is not warranted, in any circumstance. I definitely agree with this personally and the Catholic Church's work to abolish this has been phenomenal in the US.

However, I would be hesitant to really discuss whether a person who is on death row really should be released because of an unfair capital case. A lot of lawyers are very inept at defending these types of cases and therefore present an inadequate defense. An inadequate defense shouldn't be a reason to release a killer onto the streets.

After all, as Sr. Prejean discovers with one of the men she meets, he really did commit a heinous murder.

Blogger English Blogger (Davie B) said...

Dear Easy Writer

I have no problems with commuting a Death sentence to life in prison without parole. I have a problem with innocent people being murdered but the American judicial system. Anyone on Death Row should have had a completely full and safe trial. No plea bargaining, no staved off evidence, no hidden agendas, no racist remarks, just a full and fare trial.

The Christian ideal is Love, Mercy and Forgiveness, whether that is Catholic, Baptist, Anglican or any other denomination. If you are a Christian I personally can not see how you can be for the Death Penalty as God through his Son preached forgiveness not retaliation.

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Blogger Jake said...

I have a question for those that are speaking of religion as why the death penalty is "immoral".

According to Exodus 20:13 - The Ten Commandments said: "YOU SHALL NOT MURDER." Now please move on to Exodus 21:27 CP 12 - "Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate. But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death." Now please also see Exodus 21:27 CP 23 - But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."

Just to clairify, I do not live my life by the "bible". I am a Pagan, and we live by one creed: "Thou shall not harm lest that harm return unto you three-fold".

I am not a judge, I am not a lawyer, I am a United States Citizen that believes that every crime should have it's punishment. If Vernon is innnocent, then he will receive a stay, if Vernon is guilty, it is my belief that he will be punished for his crimes, wether by Man or by the powers that be. Everyone will pay for their crimes one way or another.
It is my opinion, that people who bring up religion as a basis for capital punishment to be stopped, should quite themselves and read their bibles first. If they want to state that it is immoral, what should they say about God? Was he not the one who gave Moses the 10 Commandments? Was it not he who had it rain 40 days and 40 nights to punish "his people" for far less then what those on death row have committed?

I only ask that before people start talking religion, stop and think about this... God was far more vicious then our Judicial system today.

I believe in Capital Punishment. I believe that if you commit a crime, you be punished justly for it. It is not a judge who sentances to death, it is a jury of the accused "Peers".

Blogger Mike said...

It is not a question of whether he actually pulled the trigger or not to most of us here in Md. he was present and was hired to perform the killings; he deserves to die for this - WITHOUT QUESTION !! The only cruel part is makeing the victims families wait 22 years for this to happen, when he should have been executed immediately after his appeal was denied. He received as fair trial as anyone else and deserves to meet his fate.

Blogger Mike said...

Vernon deserves his punishment and should die for what he did. All of this useless liberal BS does nothing but prolong the inevitable. He was hired to kill 2 people and was beaten to the trigger by his accomplice... if you can say that he deserves to live, then you deserve to die too !! Kill Vernon A.S.A.P.

Blogger Ecclesiastical said...

There is a difference between murder and Kill.

Murder: the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.

Kill: to deprive one of life.

Those who say taking a life for justice's sake is against the Bible are mistaken. The Bible clearly states there is retribution for certain evils both in the Here and now and in the afterlife.

However, in this case I'm "not sure" an accomplice to a crime should be killed.

IF Vernan is actually innocent and did not pull the trigger I personally think that Vernan should produce information on the guy who DID pull the trigger.

I do think an accomplice to a crime should be equally responsible to the crime.

If Vernan can produce the actual shooter and sufficient evidence then maybe a life in Prison with NO parol would be acceptable.

I also think the death penality is NOT a deterrent but retribution and a way to rid the world of murderers.

Additionally, IMO the evidence should be SUBSTANTIAL if a person is to be given the Death penality.

Blogger jeffie said...

FYI Mike, if you read the answer to this question, Vernon said CLEARLY that there are 2 pieces of evidence, one being an eye witness, and two being a surveillance tape, that PROVE that he did not murder these two people... So he doesn't deserve to be killed for what he didn't do :) Make sure you read thorougly next time :)

Blogger MAaddict said...

I read through most of this blog, and all Vernon keeps saying was that 'he didn't pull the trigger'.
Was he there at all? Did he committ any crime?

Forgive me for not researching the case further- but the thing that strikes me most about this blog is that very little mention is made of the the pain that the victims went through.

I am against Capital Punishment in all cases. But my overall impression on this blog is that, aside from an informal invite to the families of the victims to post their feelings and experiences, very little mention of the victims can be found--especially in Vernon's responses.

Personally, if the victims were my loved ones, and someone breezily invited me to post my experiences to the blog of the convicted killer, I would be insulted - even though the intent of the blogger is noble.

At the very least, I would want a face to face meeting with the murderer so that I could make them get to know the level of pain that they caused me. I would want to ask them why they did it.

I guess I should just ask Vernon the question- do you feel badly for the victims at all? I'm also curious if the family members of the victims actually want the death penalty.


Blogger Faithful Truth said...

Im a very firm beliver in the death pentaly. However I do belive in limitations. I belive that if you can prove 100% It was that person. Then i say kill him if the crime warrents it. However if like in vernons case. I would want the trial and what we see as a long death row sentence. I belive the texas law that was recently passed in there state legislature is going to be a great tool. If Three or more credible eyewitnesses catch you doing what you did, you don't sit on death row for 20 years, if your convicted 100 percent beyond the shadow of doubt then you go straight to the front and killed within only a few months. I belive that fully, because there are crimes that are brutal enough to warrent the ending of a free mans life. But only at a fair and credible trial. Good luck to you Vernon on your trial. Praise to you if your trial turns out unfortunate.


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