Hope for Carty as court debates death penalty

The latest skirmish in America's ongoing debate over capital punishment will take place in a court in Houston this morning, where lawyers for an accused murderer called John Edward Green will argue that the system has become so unreliable as to be an affront to natural justice.

They are likely to cite the fact that since 1976, when the US restored capital punishment, 136 death row inmates have been exonerated, including at least 12 in Texas.

At least one man has already been wrongfully put to death by the Lone Star State: last month, DNA testing revealed that a single hair used to convict Claude Howard Jones, who was executed for murdering a shop assistant in 1999, came not from him – as the jury had originally been told – but from the victim.

The innocence of another executed man is meanwhile the subject of heated debate. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 after being convicted of starting a fire that killed his three daughters. But forensic experts have recently claimed that he was innocent, and that prosecutors obscured crucial evidence during his trial.

An official inquiry into his case by the Texas Forensic Science Commission will report next month. Its members have already admitted that there were serious "flaws" in Willingham's treatment.

Linda Carty's treatment at the hands of the Texan legal system is also said to have been riddled with basic errors. Carty, who emigrated to the US in the early 1980s to attend university, has always claimed British citizenship due to being born and raised on the Caribbean island of St Kitts. Under the Vienna Convention, UK authorities should therefore have immediately been informed of her arrest in 2001.

Had this happened, the Foreign Office would have been able to supply Carty with a competent legal team. But St Kitts failed to fulfil its legal obligation to contact the British Consulate in Houston. Paul Lynch, the current Consul General, said: "There was an appalling failure by her lawyer and the fact that we weren't notified meant that we were not able to give her support. I do not believe that justice was ever done."

Carty's court-appointed defence lawyer never mentioned she had spent years as an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Agency, failed to call defence witnesses and neglected to ask basic questions of prosecution ones. Detectives were never asked, for example, why they never took fingerprints and DNA samples from the body of the victim.

During one of Carty's appeals, Judge Vanessa D Gilmore, a federal trial judge acknowledged her conviction was "a harsh result", but said that an incompetent defence lawyer was not grounds for a retrial.



* Because of a production error, the number of exhonerated inmates in the second paragraph was quoted as 21,136, rather than 136, in the early version.

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities