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From the monthly archives: "March 2014"
Iwao Hakamada, then and now

Iwao Hakamada, then and now

Since the publication of Law & Disorder, we have devoted a good deal of time and energy to pointing out flaws in our judicial system that allow – and sometimes encourage – the conviction of innocent men and women. We have focussed on numerous cases in the United States, such as West Memphis Three in Arkansas, and have paid particularly attention to the shameful conviction and re-conviction of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito in Italy.

Yesterday in Japan, Iwao Hakamada, 78, was released from the Tokyo Detention Centre by order of the Shizuoka District Court, and granted a retrial. Until then, he held the world’s record as the longest-serving inmate on death row – 48 years.

So it’s not just us.

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Kamryn Renfro

Kamryn Renfro

Erin Cox and Adrionna Harris, meet Kamryn Renfro.

Erin, as we recently mentioned, is the high school honors student and volleyball star in Massachusetts who was punished by her school for not letting a friend drive drunk, and therefore exposed herself to a party where alcohol was being consumed. Adrionna is the middle school girl in Virginia who was punished by her school for stopping a friend from cutting himself and therefore possessed a blade for about ten seconds before she could throw it away.

 And Kamryn? Well, she is a nine-year-old in Colorado who was punished by her school for showing profound compassion and empathy.

What, in God’s name, are we teaching our children?

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Michelle Byrom

Michelle Byrom

UPDATE: On Thursday, March 27, the Mississippi Supreme Court refused to set a date for Michelle Byrom’s execution as requested by the state Attorney General, stating, “Having duly considered the motion and Byrom’s response, the court finds that the Motion to Reset Execution Date is not well taken and should be denied.”

SECOND UPDATE: On Monday, March 31, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Michelle Byrom.

As our readers know, we support capital punishment. But we have two criteria that we believe should be met before a felon is subjected to the ultimate penalty: The murder is depraved, predatory and/or sadistic. And there is absolutely no reasonable doubt that the individual in question actually committed the crime, and in the manner described by the prosecution.

Michelle Byrom, 57, could be executed tomorrow by the state of Mississippi for a crime that meets neither of these tests.

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Adrionna Harris

Adrionna Harris

Remember Erin Cox, the honors student and star volleyball player from North Andover High School near Boston who was suspended for five games and demoted from team captain for responding to a friend’s request to be driven home from a party where alcohol was being consumed? Everyone else thought Erin deserved a medal for not letting a friend drive drunk. But the school system felt she needed to be punished for violating the zero tolerance policy of being present where alcohol was being served.

Well, now comes Adrionna Harris of Bayside Middle School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. You decide whether her recent actions deserve high praise. . .  or severe punishment.

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Stan Romanek

Stan Romanek

On February 13, Stan Romanek, 51, of Loveland, Colorado, was arrested on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography over the Internet. Mr. Romanek is best known as promoter of the reality of alien abduction, claiming first to have been abducted himself in 2000.

Now, we can be appalled at the sexually oriented allegations, and we can laugh at the intensity of his UFO belief. But if we put the two together, we come up with a far more meaningful insight.

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