Sunday, September 03, 2006

Have They No Shame?

Juan Rivera, Jr., of Waukegan, Illinois, was twice convicted of raping and killing 11-year-old Holly Staker in 1992. At his first trial, police claimed he twice confessed following 4 days of around-the-clock interrogation. That conviction was overturned on appeal, and Rivera was convicted again in 1998 after DNA tests were inconclusive.

Rivera's second conviction has been overturned because new DNA tests conclusively exclude him. In fact, the new DNA tests yielded the genetic profile of the actual rapist and killer. So what are Lake County prosecutors going to do? Re-try him, of course. Rather than ask the public -- and the next jury -- to believe that Rivera raped Holly with another man's sperm (as Virginia prosecutors would have us believe retarded field hand Earl Washington did to Rebecca Williams), they have raised the despicable claim that 11-year-old Holly was "sexually active." This child was brutally raped and killed, and the state would rather portray her as a precocious slut than admit they got the wrong man -- twice -- and start looking for the guy who did that to her.

This is not a new approach. In 1990, Roy Criner of New Caney, Texas was convicted of raping and killing 16-year-old Deanna Ogg and sentenced to 99 years in prison. After DNA tests excluded Criner as the rapist, Judge Sharon Keller of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals declared that Miss Ogg had had consensual sex with someone else just before Criner allegedly raped and killed her. There was absolutely no evidence that Miss Ogg had been sexually active with anyone, ever. And, of course, she was dead, so she couldn't defend her own good name. It took more DNA evidence, showing that the DNA found in a cigarette butt found near her body had been smoked by the same man who raped Miss Ogg, to force the Texas authorities to release Criner from prison.

Nobody has ever apologized to Deanna Ogg's parents for smearing their dead child. Holly Staker's family can expect the same treatment. Because, to answer our own question, they have no shame.