Linda Carty Texas Death Row Inmate Gets Rare New Hearing After Prosecutorial Misconduct Allegations

Dare to Think

Linda Carty, a death row inmate in Texas, has been granted a rare new hearing by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Carty, 56, has been on death row for nearly 14 years.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to assess claims that key witnesses in her trial lied on the witness stand because of prosecutorial pressure. Human rights charity Reprieve has been investigating Carty’s case and unearthed evidence that witnesses were threatened by the prosecutor into testifying that Carty was the mastermind in the murder of her neighbor. Carty was convicted of killing a young mother and plotting to steal her small child with three men.  She has always maintained her innocence.

Among the witnesses who are now recanting their testimony is Christopher Robinson, who claimed that he saw Linda Carty put a bag over Joanna Rodriguez’s head before closing the trunk.  Rodriguez later suffocated to death. …

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Study: Crime Labs are Paid for Convictions

Good old criminal justice system!!!

Dare to Think

Cognitive bias has been shown in many studies to be an issue in state crime labs.  In other words, if crime labs feel as though they are on the prosecution and police’s “team” then even the most honest workers are at risk for unintended bias and the dishonest ones, well just look at the innumerable crime lab scandals, overturned convictions, and even wrongful conviction cases.  In a new study for the journal of Criminal Justice Ethics, Roger Koppl and Megan Sacks (from Syracuse University and Fairleigh Dickinson University) look at how the criminal justice system incentivizes and even can encourage wrongful convictions.

Funding crime labs through court-assessed fees creates another channel for bias to enter crime lab analyses. In jurisdictions with this practice the crime lab receives a sum of money for each conviction of a given type.

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This site is a manifestation of my desire to get into journalism as a medium of expression for my passionately held interests on subjects that affect all our lives. These can be categorised into the following non-exclusive list:

  • journalism
  • law and justice
  • current affairs
  • health
  • politics
  • nutrition and
  • travel.

My desire to get published was borne out of researching violations of The Rule of Law and abuse of Civil liberties for my legal studies dissertation. The research took me into various avenues of democracy and Rule of Law which brought out lingering questions that could not fit into the remit of the dissertation.

Hopefully this journey will give me the experience and exposure required for me to serve my ultimate aim of taking my Rule of Law material into academic publishing.

It is therefore my hope that after you have visited this site, you will continue to morally support me on my journey to inform.

In the meantime please respect my intellectual property and copyright:

Dura lex sed lex

My Local Cafe

By Ben Odero 10/10/2015

One could be forgiven for missing this deceptive little gem of a cafe on Lewisham High Street.

Located on the opposite side of a daily open-air market just outside Lewisham Shopping Centre, Chef’s Treat is not your average cafe. Surviving in the vicinity of a pub and fast food restaurant, its culinary uniqueness is a cross between a local cafe and a local pub.

The 54-seater cafe is a family-run breakfast-at-any-time “Treat” that lives up to expectations. Run by the same people for 20 years, its clientele is very family-oriented.

The decor is basic and clean while the menu reveals a variety of simple competitively priced dishes and choice of drinks and desserts. For £7 my “Treat” started with coffee, accompanied by the “Olympic Breakfast” consisting of fried onions, three sausages, two fried eggs, baked beans and mushrooms.

Aplatter courtesy of Chef's Treat, Lewisham

A platter courtesy of Chef’s Treat, Lewisham

With average prices of £4 for salads, £4.80 for breakfast dishes, £3 for burgers, £5 for fish meals, £2 kids meals, £1.80 for sandwiches one cannot go wrong. Easing the digestion is an array of drinks and desserts for an average of £3.

Marie, from Surrey Quays, a grandmother of two, “Treats” her grandchildren every Sunday after attending the nearby church. She says: “I have been coming to this place for more than 20years as I used to live in Lewisham and came here every time after my shopping or church on Sunday. The food is simple but the service and price have always remained attractive. Most importantly are the friendly staff and the friendly atmosphere.”

Considering Marie now lives 4miles away, she said: “There are very few of these places that are distinctly as family-friendly as this place. My grandchildren look forward to Sunday church service followed by a visit to this place.”

It is Sunday night almost 19:00hrs yet there are a few people still trickling in to be served. Monday to Sunday 08:00 to 19:00hrs seems not to be enough for everyone.

With bus routes galore outside the café and both DLR and over-ground rail stations a walking distance, a car is not required when indulging in this “Treat”.

Chef’s Treat, 161 Lewisham High Street SE13 (020 83186024)

Kenya’s First Civilian Female Aeronautic Engineer

As Florence takes you through her journey, you can only admire the tenacity of Kenya’s First Female Civilian Aeronautic Engineer. She makes it clear that the first female to open the doors in her field, now deceased, was military trained and did not pursue the profession on leaving the military.
Florence Akinyi Odero’s journey started in primary school in Nairobi, Kenya with a lot of encouragement from her maths teacher Mr. Daniel Karanja. As she says: “he made me appreciate maths as a vehicle to engineering and scientific careers. When I finished secondary school in 1990, I had my maths, physics and chemistry qualifications and knew I was edging closer to my dream career in Engineering.”
First she had to turn down a University offer to study archaeology. She says: “I was not too keen on archeology and did not want to invest time and money for a career I had no passion for. I probably had a passion for engineering carved out way before I had to select what studies to embark on”.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity for a joke, Florence adds: “Dr. Leakey had discovered whatever fossils there was to discover so I could not see what archeology would do for my career”.
Having convinced her Dad of her choice of career and passion for engineering Florence registered on a Mechanical Engineering course, Aeronautics option at Kenya Polytechnic in Nairobi, Kenya .
As the only woman on the course the first year was tough having to deal with colleagues’ attitudes and apprehensions including insecurities about her venture into their supposed domain. She had also outlived her expected voluntary dropout date set by colleagues.
However, Florence had to relive the attitudes and insecurities again when she went looking for internships. She said:” It was either a comment about how I would upset the men’s insecurities or the employers had no confidence in a woman doing engineering.”
Tired, dejected and given up for the day, Florence and her elder sister Christine decided to pay a family friend a visit. This turned out to be Florence’s opportunity that has remained her place of work to date. Rachel was working for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a religious charity that provided help in inaccessible areas of East Africa. Their Chief Inspector Roland Knight gave Florence a 6 month internship.

Florence posing with one of her finished service jobs.

Florence embarked on her practical journey that has never been devoid of male apprehension of her abilities and capabilities. Having done all tasks from stripping down a whole light aircraft to re-assembling it to Acceptance check standards, Florence feels the doubters need to prove they can accept her worth as an engineer.
Florence finished her course in 1994 and worked for Kenya Airways first before finding employment with MAF again in 1997. She has slowly been ‘accepted’ but believes the perceptions will always be there for any other female coming into the field.

On how things could improve for women passionate about breaking into male-dominated fields, Florence pauses for a powerfully worded answer.”Women have to empower themselves before anyone can change anything. A lot of us give up easily when it gets tough rather than doing the opposite. Changes in perceptions and male insecurities should not be a woman’s problem to worry about.”
Florence feels she owes MAF a debt of gratitude and especially Roland Knight and Hugh Beck her trainer for believing in a female engineer. As for Rachel Wainana, Florence could not thank her enough for introducing her to MAF who remain her employers to date.


What I learnt from Chris Wheal’s Online Publishing Lecture

By Ben Odero 5/10/2015

The Online publishing lecture started with an overview and importance of online media in today’s age. Guidance on the importance of establishing internet presence and instructions of how to effect this was provided.

The various formats of internet publishing such as Facebook, YouTube, Blogger, twitterLinkedIn and WordPress among others were identified.  Each of the formats had its functionality well explained.

The lecture also included a general discussion about the web and its importance as a contemporary medium of information. We discussed the challenges involved in using the web and the expectations of the users.

Search engines also formed part of the lecture. How to effectively maximise their use to a publisher’s advantage was explained.

Finally, creating private blogs using Blogger platform was demonstrated and we were encouraged to set up our personal blogs on this platform.

Despite initial teething problems in setting up my personal blog, finally being able to write it made for a good first lecture.