Bruce Fischer wrote:Clive wrote: "Manslaughter is a pretty serious crime of which he would be guilty even if he dropped her as he claims, if it could be proved that earlier medical intervention could have saved her. AFAIK no medical expert has addressed this question yet but it seems a reasonable possibility. Is this what you mean by actual innocence?"
Jeff is innocent of the crimes he is accused of. Jeff did not sexually assault the infant and he did not shake the infant to death. Therefore he has been wrongfully convicted. His case more than meets the standards that IA set out to achieve when we began. We are new evolving group and as we continue to develop we will certainly reevaluate what we do from time to time.
But murder includes manslaughter. Accusing someone of murder necessarily involved accusing them of all the lesser offences that murder encompasses, from common assault to manslaughter.
There seems to be a hang up on actual innocence when it comes to this case and I understand your position. I think the argument of whether the case meets the actual innocence requirement has confused the argument here a bit. You have been debating the case on multiple levels with regard to IA's involvement. They really should be two different conversations. We can debate the facts of this case in one debate, and we can debate whether this case meets the requirements of IA in another debate. Mixing the two confuses the argument here, and I think it has caused unnecessary tension.
As an example, I could be charged with manslaughter for killing a person with my car in an accident. The fact that is was an accident does not always prevent charges. If we ignore the new evidence (which we should not do) that suggests Chloe had a preexisting medical condition that could have been aggravated by the fall, I can see that Jeff could be charged with manslaughter because the death was caused while the infant was in his care. For me, I would disagree with that assessment but, due to the fact that Jeff's life is currently in jeopardy, I would accept it because Jeff would most likely be released on time served. The West Memphis Three accepted a deal because one of them was facing the death penalty. Once you are in that position, a lessor charge, even if it is not warranted, beats the alternative.
I think the two conversations are:
what can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt? and
what really happened?
You agree that Jeff deserves a new trial. That's good enough for me. A new trial will not involve the death penalty. A new prosecutor will be faced with making a case based on the current evidence, and will never be able to build a death penalty case, and will have a difficult time (in my opinion) of building a manslaughter case as well. The evidence currently available supports an acquittal.
I said before that a prosecutor would need evidence that early intervention would probably have saved her. In that case, manslaughter can be proved even if it was an accident as Jeff says.
On another note, you are very critical of Jeff for what you call lies. Jeff did not openly lie to anyone. Jeff neglected to mention the fall. It was a horrible mistake but I feel that silence on a matter is not quite the same as lying. Its not a major point, just an opinion on how words are used to describe an action or non action. I think we are all in agreement that Jeff made a mistake by not telling the mother about the fall. I think it was very possible that Jeff thought Chloe's problems were the result of her illness and not the fall. Chloe was a sick baby. When Jeff heard that head trauma was involved he told the investigators what happened. Up until that point, I think it's quite possible that Jeff thought the problems were related to the illness. He was not a father, he had no real experience with infant health. He knew the infant was on medication and he knew she had been sick.
Same goes for the infant spitting up. Jeff was not used to seeing baby vomit. For those that are not parents, spit up is gross. If you are a parent and see that regularly, then wiping it up and moving on seems like a good option. If you are not accustomed to seeing baby vomit, then you may be more likely to do a more extensive clean up. Of course experienced parents know better, because spit up is a common occurrence and changing and bathing an infant every time it happened would become quite tedious. This would be viewed differently by a non experienced person that was trying to properly take care of his girlfriend's infant. Jeff's actions were not incriminating. He was doing what he thought was best for the infant. I have no doubt that he now wishes that he would have simply wiped up the spit up instead of taking the extra steps to clean up Chloe. If he had been more experienced with spit up, we would not be here talking about this case today.
Your moral compass is a bit off here IMO. If memory serves, they were asked at hospital if anything happened and he had a chance to speak up. He failed that test. Plus Jeff had several weeks experience with Chloe and, so it is said, had taken care of his little brother, so he wasn't that inexperienced.