Saturday, March 26, 2016

Death Penalty Updates

The Private Eye Trying to Prove an Innocent Man Was Sentenced to Death

C.J. Ford, Jr. is a California-based private investigator who runs a one-man shop in a sparsely furnished office in the same Orange County church where he serves as an usher during Saturday night services.
He spent years tailing cheating spouses and insurance frauds, much like Jim Rockford of the popular 1970s NBC television series The Rockford Files, which Ford credits for sparking his interest in becoming a private eye. But after investigating corrupt Los Angeles police officers during the Rampart scandal and a personal run-in with law enforcement, Ford changed his focus to something new: investigating false convictions and other abuses of the criminal justice system. 

Ford spends most of his time helping those who can't afford to hire expensive attorneys and investigators, those most likely to be overwhelmed by the system.
Last year, Utah approved a measure to reintroduce firing squads as an officially sanctioned method of executions, but this year, the Beehive State seemed poised to repeal the death penalty altogether. Sen. Urquhart, a conservative Republican, spearheaded the effort. His proposal sailed through the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee, but on the last day of legislative session, the bill simply ran out of time and never received a final floor vote. After nearly following Nebraska’ example, Utah legislators were asked about their apparent death penalty volte-face, and many explained that capital punishment in practice doesn’t align with conservative values.

Utah wasn’t the only conservative state flirting with repealing the death penalty. In Kentucky, Rep. Floyd, another conservative Republican, sponsored repeal legislation. The bill was given a vote in the Commonwealth’s House Judiciary Committee for the first time since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. However, by a 9 to 8 margin, the bill narrowly missed being sent to the House floor.

Florida also made national news after their death penalty sentencing scheme was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. To address the problem, the state legislature passed a bill to require capital juries to agree on a death sentence by at least a 10-2 vote, rather than 7-5.
The actions in Utah and Kentucky, among other states, are additional proof that Nebraska’s death penalty repeal was not an anomaly. Conservative states across America are realizing that the death penalty is inconsistent with conservatism.

Conservatives Concerned in the media
With our return to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the turn of events in Utah and Kentucky, CCATDP was quite visible in the media this month.

• The Washington Times, Washington Post, Daily Caller, Huffington Post, and Libertarian Republic all included our statements on Utah’s close call with repealing the death penalty.
• Nearly 15 different papers covered Kentucky’s attempt to send a repeal measure to the House of Representatives, featuring CCATDP. You can read what Governing, the Lexington Herald Leader, Messenger Inquirer, WEKU, and the Richmond Register wrote about the effort.
• Reason and the Libertarian Republic covered our return to CPAC, and while I was there, I was a guest on the Scott Adams, Lars Larson, Capital Hill Show with Tim Constantine, Scott James, and Behind Enemy Lines radio shows to present the conservative case against the death penalty.
• CCATDP’s Heather Beaudoin was interviewed on Blog Talk Radio, and I was a guest on TV’s Tipping Point with Liz Wheeler and the Allman Report to discuss why conservatives are increasingly opposing capital punishment.
• I also wrote an op-ed for the Daily Caller detailing the conservative world’s changed views on the death penalty.
• CCATDP was prominently featured in Red Alert Politics, Christian Broadcasting Network, Washington Post, and the Kentucky Public News Service.

Conservatives Concerned in the field
For the fourth year in a row, CCATDP returned to CPAC, and our experience was nothing short of amazing. Our team consisted of conservatives from Washington State, Nebraska, Tennessee, Michigan, and Georgia, and our booth was once again mobbed by supporters eager to learn more and become involved.

After CPAC, I traveled to Kentucky to testify before Kentucky’s House Judiciary Committee in support of repeal. The committee room was so packed with supporters that an overflow room was opened to accommodate the influx of people hoping to end the death penalty. While the proposal missed being approved by a razor thin margin, it was a productive step in the right direction. You can watch my testimony here.

CCATDP’s parent organization, EJUSA, co-sponsored a death penalty forum at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 7. Heather Beaudoin served as the moderator, and panelists included Shane Claiborne (Evangelical author and activist), Randy Steidl (death row exoneree), Gail Rice (sister of a murder victim), and Chris Dorsey (theology professor at Western Theological Seminary).

On April 16, CCATDP will be exhibiting at two Young Americans for Liberty state conventions. CCATDP’s Ben Jones will be working the booth at the Florida convention while I will be in Utah. If you’re in the neighborhood, then please drop by!


Mar 22, 2016 — The story that Kenneth Clair confessed to the murder of Linda Rodgers by the Orange County DA’s office in an ABC news clipping, is now being exposed as false! Kenneth Clair has never confessed on tape, as Ken Wagner (of the DA’s office) and the entire DA’s staff has been contending….

I wanted to make sure that the Orange County DA’s office gave their side of the “Overwhelming Evidence” that they claim is on tape proving Kenneth Clair confessed to the murder of Linda Rodgers. I wanted to make sure that the DA would entrench themselves so deeply into this lie, that the lie itself, would own them…..This follows that theory that you can let someone who wants to open their mouth, “hang” themselves. I hope everyone remembers the ABC news clipping where Ken Wagner made this statement about the overwhelming evidence and tried to mislead viewers into believing that our campaign was looking for a guy that was too young to have committed the crime.

Well, Reason TV has documented actual tape excerpts of Pauline Flores when she was wired by the Santa Ana Police Department and the DA. The video below also shows that the DA’s office has documents identifying the young man who was in custody, and who matched the Clair case DNA profile. The video further proves that the DA’s office searched and found the person that is the primary suspect, an older relative. The DA is trying to mislead the facts by making confusing press releases and misdirecting comments- such as the person is too young to have committed the crime and was out of the country at the time. The DA’s office feels that if they add other nonessential or manufactured information, the issue will be so complicated that the average person will not understand, or will think that they need more facts to come to a conclusion. However, this is really a very simple case. 

Since the DA cannot lie about the DNA any more, unless the DA resorts to some kind of evidence planting, the so-called confession tape has been the DA’s bedrock foundation of why Kenneth Clair should remain in prison for the rest of his life.

This video, to all the supporters who are receiving this update, will prove several things that I have been talking about since the beginning of the petition. One of the things that the Reason TV investigation will prove is that Kenneth Clair never confessed to this murder. It also proves that Pauline Flores never spoke to Kenneth Clair on the day that the murder took place. In summary, all of Pauline Flores’ testimony should be stricken from the record, because she was not even at the murder scene. It proves that Flores was coerced by the district attorney's office to testify (by Flores’ own statements to Clair on the tape), and that the DA threatened to make her (Flores) an accessory to the crime.

The fact of the matter is that Kenneth Clair did not commit this murder, DNA evidence proves this. Mr. Clair never confessed to the murder on tape. Now I am supplying you with the evidence that the DA has been using this information to illegally detain Mr. Clair from being released from prison.

The DA simply wants to prolong this legal battle because it can continue for many years, and Mr. Clair will just simply die while incarcerated. This is why I am asking everyone to step up getting this petition signed, and donating money to Mr. Clair's defense fund. I would also appreciate your feedback about similar situations that are occurring within your legal jurisdictions. There are too many Kenneth Clairs to whom this is happening. The DA’s remedy to Kenneth Clair’s situation will just amount to years of meaningless incarceration using all these tactics to keep him there. The defense attorney really is not concentrating on Mr. Clair’s freedom. The only just remedy is this petition and getting Clair exonerated.

CHECKS: 211 S. State College Blvd. #343, Anaheim, CA. 92806

Please Watch This Shocking Presentation! There is some graphic materials in this video, and you may not want to view this in the presence of minors.

Reason TV Link:
Angela Corey, give him life, not death! 
I am Darlene Farah, mother of Shelby Farah. Shelby, who was 20 years old at the time, was murdered on July 20th, 2013 while working at a Metro-PCS store in Jacksonville, FL. James Xavier Rhodes was arrested for the murder, armed robbery and other charges by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by State Attorney Angela Corey and her assistants.

Over my objections, the State Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty for Rhodes. Rhodes has been willing for the past year and a half to enter pleas of guilty in return for consecutive life sentences, without parole. Rhodes would waive all appeals, making it certain that he will spend the rest of his life in prison. I have repeatedly begged the prosecutors to accept this plea and have even told them Shelby, a beautiful, compassionate person, would not want the death penalty imposed in this case. My pleas to the prosecutor have fallen on deaf ears, with the State Attorney’s Office simply responding by saying that they want the death penalty.

I know that if a death sentence is obtained, there will be decades of appeals and motions and litigation and it is possible that Rhodes will never be executed. These are decades of nervousness and anxiety that my family and I would not have to suffer if the prosecutors accept the plea- a plea that ensures Rhodes remains in prison for the rest of his life. While this case has been proceeding, it has been difficult for me to find employment and the repeated court dates and hearings and the uncertainty involved have taken a toll on my family and me.   

No sentence imposed on Rhodes will ever bring my daughter Shelby back. Killing Rhodes would give me no satisfaction and provide no solace to my family. I simply wish to get whatever small measure of closure that is possible and be allowed to cherish the memories we have of Shelby’s life, rather than being focused on the decades of litigation over Rhodes’ death. I fear that State Attorney Angela Corey, who is running for reelection this year, is using my daughter’s senseless murder to prove how “tough on crime” she is, while ignoring the impact her decision has had on my family.

Please read my editorial for Time Magazine for more information:

Please consider supporting this petition encouraging State Attorney Angela Corey to abandon its desire to seek the death penalty for my daughter’s killer and allow me and my family to grieve and heal in peace.