A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Oops! - We Executed An Innocent Guy

CNN.com reports here that we may have executed an innocent man. The original story appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, November 20, 2005.

Apparently, the sole witness recanted and a co-defendant said he allowed our dead friend to be falsely accused under police pressure, the Houston Chronicle reported Sunday.

The fried former alive and possibly innocent Ruben Cantu was 17 in 1984 when he was charged with capital murder for shooting a man during an attempted robbery in Texas.

According to the Chronicle, the eyewitness Juan Moreno told the Chronicle that it wasn't Cantu who shot him. Moreno said he identified Cantu as the killer during his 1985 trial because he felt pressured and was afraid of authorities.

As comedian Dana Carvey's church lady character from Saturday Night Live used to say: "Well, isn't that special?"

Oh, and the Chronicle also reports that Cantu's co-defendant, David Garza, recently signed a sworn affidavit saying he allowed his friend to be accused, even though Cantu wasn't with him the night of the killing.

Nice friend.

Cantu was executed at age 26, all the while proclaiming his innocence.

Sorry Ruben. Really, we're sorry.

In comes the prosecutor, Sam D. Millsap Jr. He told the Chronicle he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on testimony from an eyewitness who identified a suspect only after police showed him Cantu's photo three separate times.

Oh well, things happen.

Let's not beat a dead horse, I mean human being.....

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please click the link: http://www.tannebaumweiss.com/our_lawyers.php

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:30 PM

    yeah yeah yeah this is fascinating but we have heard this before. more interesting is the story in todays new york times about how some guy who was just freed from a rape case in wisconsin by the innnocene project and dna technology has now been caught by dna technology in a new rape-murder. i am not saying this undoes the earlier injustice but stil is an interesting case.

    didnt think this would make it to your blog in which the theme is always defense good prosecutor bad unless the accused is named delay.