How An Embarrassing Case Becomes A Godsend For Justice In Texas - lifespark - movement against the death penalty

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How An Embarrassing Case Becomes A Godsend For Justice In Texas

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According to an article dated March 6 (Associated Press)
Mr. Anibal ROUSSEAU, who spent more than 17 years on Death Row, has died at the Texas Prison Medical Unit in Galveston OF NATURAL CAUSES.

If actually a severe liver disease put an end to his life, it is EXACTLY what "Justice" had been expecting, aware for quite a few years of the man's innocence.

If anyone of you had been sentenced to death for a crime he, or she, did not commit;
If the police investigation had been quick and particularly aggressive;
If the trial had been cursory and flawed, the defense being led by a state appointed lawyer obviously unconcerned by the case;
If the ballistic tests, which would have proved your innocence, had NOT been brought forward during the trial;
If a single eyewitness' testimony had been taken into account, namely that of a federal E.P.A agent whose description of the gun may cast doubt on his professional abilities;
If several witnesses' unanimous testimony had differed from his about the gun, as well as the killer's stature,
How many of you, of us, BEING INNOCENT, would have survived and remained IN GOOD HEALTH for almost two decades in that hell named DEATH ROW?

* * *

As the ballistic results finally appeared after years, hopes started to arise that Justice would do its job and reconsider the sentence.

Reopen the case? Take into consideration the new evidence? Admit that the police investigation, the only eyewitness' testimony and the whole trial had been a SHAM?

The only way for Harris County "Justice" to avoid being blamed, its flaws disclosed, was to quietly offer passive resistance, ignoring the repeated requests from other, prominent lawyers, for a new trial.

You had no interest in being fair, Judge McCormick: this case was too embarrassing: dragging your heels endlessly "in a malicious way" (Attorney J. Rytting's own words), you could expect that the man on Death Row, aged 65, depressed, eaten up by vain hopes, would die sooner or later of NATURAL CAUSES.

This death came at just the right time for you too, District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, comfortably persisisting in your opinion, in spite of the disturbing words expressed by Mrs. Lorraine Parker (Houston Chronicle, April 21, 2002) who was the former District Attorney whom YOU assisted at the time of the trial:

"It bothers me tremendously; I'm terribly afraid the wrong guy is in jail... I would hope everyone would be interested in the right man being convicted, EVEN IF IT MEANS REOPENING THE CASE".

Thank you, Mrs. Parker, for these very courageous statement, which brought tremendous hope. Neither you, though, have been listened to...

Let's compare your words with the arrogance of Roe Wilson, Assistant District Attorney, head of the office's appellate division: (!)

"Justice wasn't affected by the fact that he died: if he had lived longer, he would have lived long enough to be executed".

JUSTICE? D.A. Roe Wilson, you obviously speak in the name of a deity with whom you proudly identify yourself and have the nerve to call "JUSTICE"... By the way, you couldn't find more perfidious words to slap a bereaved family in the face.

It is well-known that some prosecutors like to quote this saying: "Anyone can convict a guilty man. To convict an innocent man is what takes skill and talent".

The sacrosanct deity got its prey, though not crucified on a gurney: Prosecutors can wash their hands of it.

* * *

Fortunately, there are wonderful people in Texas and elsewhere, who spend time, money and much energy for the sake of JUSTICE. We want to thank those who have been fighting for a long time in favour of Anibal ROUSSEAU:

The appeal lawyers: Bryce Benjet, Philip Hilder and James Rytting, for their concern and commitment;
Richard Reyna, the private investigator, who involved himself for years and was able to identify the REAL CULPRIT after long, hard researches;
Bill Coble, an inmate on Death Row, who relentlessly and by all means tried to call attention to his friend's innocence from behing the bars;
Mary O'Grady, for her faithfullness;
Mike Dolson and Steve McVicker from the Houston Chronicle, for their excellent articles (April 2 and May 5);
A few members of the Jury who expressed their concern and doubts last year in an interview, after knowing about the ballistic evidence;
All those, known or unknown, who have done their best to support an innocent man with the hope that he would be granted a fair trial and set free at last.
To his loved ones, his family and friends, we want to express our emotion and offer our deepest sympathy.

All of us have learned a lot from Mr. Rousseau: We have always been impressed by his humility, his wisdom and dignity It is an extremely goodhearted man who died on March 5, 2006, of "NATURAL CAUSES".

For the Court, THIS case is closed. OTHERS are not: As long as we remain silent, we are responsible for letting Justice and Human Rights be flouted.

Let's remember that INDIFFERENCE is one of the worst forms of VIOLENCE.

In the name of the Swiss supporters:

Jacqueline Mellana Carvalho 11 CH - 1009 Pully
Elisabeth Ruckstuhl Am Chillweg 133 CH - 4305 Olsberg
Monique GilliƩron Ancien-Stand 28 CH - 1820 Montreux
April 2006

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