On This Date in History: In recent years, there have been legal cases in the news in which an person accused of a crime have been cleared following DNA testing. Just a week or so ago, a tv news magazine show had a story about a man who was in prison for rape for 11 years. The victim was absolutely sure that he was the attacker. But, DNA evidence pointed to another man. While people claim that we have the best legal system in the world, cases of the wrong person being put in jail have been a part of legal history since the inception of the country. It is for this reason that I am against the death penalty. It assumes a perfect system, which it is not. While there is no evidence that a convicted and executed person was later exonerated, it is possible. In non capital cases, at least you can release the wrongly convicted.
When someone is released from prison after he has been found to be guilt free of a crime, the state often compensates the person for their incarceration…which is tough because it is difficult to ascertain the worth of a portion of someone’s life. Sometimes, compensation is given to people who may have been guilty but whose time did not fit the time. That is exactly what happened on this date in 1966 when Stephen Dennison was awarded $115,000 after being imprisoned for 34 years after being convicted of stealing a $5 box of candy. This case may have had some connection with the 1963 Supreme Court Case of Gideon v Wainwright. That case was turned into a made for TV movie called Gideon’s Trumpet starring Henry Fonda.
Dennison was 16 years old when he plead guilty in a New York court in 1925 for stealing a box of candy worth about five dollars. He was given a 10 year suspended sentence. That seems pretty fair. But, he failed to make a monthly report to a local minister which was part of the deal. So, Stephen was shipped off to the Elmira Reformatory in 1926. The following year, he was given a rather interesting classification. He was designated as a “low grade moron” and sent to the Institution for Male Defective Delinquents(Dannemora). There he stayed for nearly the remainder of the 10 year sentence. Just 6 months before the sentence was completed, he was sent to the state hospital for the criminally insane. There was no judicial review or court hearing. He was simply given a certificate of lunacy. I’m not sure if that is the same of getting a certficate of broadcast meteorology or not.
Anyway, Stephen had a half brother named George who fought for his release for 24 years. Finally, in 1960 George gained Stephen’s release on a writ of habeas corpus. Stephen was 51 years old. Now, Stephen was deemed a “low grade moron” and a lunatic by the state but he wasn’t stupid. He sued the state for illegal incarceration and he was awarded $115,000 on this date in 1966. But, the judge in the case said “No sum of money would be adequate to compensate the claimant…” Which brings me back to my original point….had this been a capital case…who would or what would be paid in the case of a wrongful execution?
Weather Bottom Line: Forecast still looks on track. Cloudy today with highs pushing 60 or so. Tuesday, more in the way of sunshine with highs in upper 60′s to near 70. Wednesday, low 70′s. Cold front approaching will help pick up winds from the south and southwest. As front moves through, we will see rain chances increase Wednesday night. Severe threat is minimal…just not enough time for stuff to come together and the timing is no good. Then we cool down to near seasonal levels for the remainder of the week.
DAY 3 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0221 AM CDT MON MAR 16 2009
VALID 181200Z – 191200Z
…NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST…
SOME AMPLIFICATION OF THE UPPER PATTERN IS FORECAST THIS PERIOD…AS
THE FLAT TROUGH CROSSING THE N CENTRAL CONUS EXPANDS AS IT MOVES
INTO ERN CANADA/ACROSS THE GREAT LAKES REGION.
AT THE SURFACE…A COLD FRONT WILL CONTINUE MOVING EWD ACROSS ERN
CANADA/THE NERN CONUS…AND SEWD ACROSS THE MIDWEST/OH
VALLEY/CENTRAL U.S. THROUGH THE PERIOD.
…MID MS/LOWER OH VALLEYS INTO THE OZARKS…
RETURN FLOW MOISTURE IS FORECAST TO BE LIMITED ACROSS THE S CENTRAL
CONUS AHEAD OF THE SAGGING SURFACE FRONT…AS A SURFACE RIDGE
PERSISTS ACROSS THE NRN GULF/GULF COAST REGION RESULTING IN
ELY/ENELY LOW-LEVEL FLOW ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO.
WHILE THE MARGINAL MOISTURE COMBINED WITH RELATIVELY COLD MID-LEVEL
TEMPERATURES /AROUND -18 C AT H5/ SHOULD YIELD AMPLE AFTERNOON CAPE
FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS INVOF THE
FRONT…CAPE SHOULD PROVE INSUFFICIENT FOR WIDESPREAD SEVERE
POTENTIAL. ATTM…IT APPEARS THAT A FEW STRONGER CELLS — AIDED BY
MODEST SHEAR FORECAST ACROSS THIS REGION — COULD REACH SEVERE
LEVELS DURING THE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING. THUS — WILL INTRODUCE A
LOW PROBABILITY THREAT FOR HAIL/WIND…WHICH SHOULD DIMINISH RAPIDLY
AFTER PEAK HEATING.