Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why and Who is Writing this Blog

My name is Victoria Thorpe, and Kerry Lyn Dalton is my sister.
I have been supporting and working on the side of my sister since she was accused of the crime in 1992. It took three years to get to trial, then the trial was completed in 9 days, plus one day for closing arguments, then the penalty phase began within days. I attended many of the hearings and the entire trial. It was a shock to my sense of security and faith in the U.S. justice system.
I would not be an activist involved in this cause had it not been a family member involved; I admit, I saw no need to do more than sit back and trust the wheels of justice. It is a small percentage of people who are pulled into the prison systems because of knowing persons involved, and an even more minute number who become entangled in a capital case scenario. That is a big reason these people get forgotten.
I have grown to feel for the plight of people caught up in the cycle of prison life by interacting with them for years now. They need a voice, actually many voices.
There are many good hard working people dedicated to justice working throughout our country's law enforcement and legal system, as many of them have been working to accomplish; public awareness is a necessity to change. I finally heeded the call to my personal involvement at a higher level a few years ago. We continue with extensive research, updating information, pounding the pavement getting the facts out, and helping hearts heal on both sides of the issues. There are two sides; victims and their families deserve to be healed, have closure, and justice of course. I do not believe the two cannot be reconciled into one peaceful solution. I believe the only way to peace is for all to gain the gift of a full, safe heart.
I do not claim to have all the solutions, I do not even claim to have solutions - I do know that should not stop me, or you, from moving forward into this hidden problem. Awareness is a beginning, open minded compassion is a necessity, and action is a must.
Please take time to look into the subject of reforming the justice system.
Please share thoughts, questions, comments, etc, that will promote wisdom, justice, and love.
This is a new venue for me, please be patient with this Blog.
For today, I just needed to get these basic articles completed.
Sincerely hoping for miracles for all of us,

Basic facts on Kerry’s case

Kerry is an innocent woman currently living on Death Row in California.
In March of 1995 she was convicted of 1st degree murder with special circumstances.
She was sent to wait for execution in June '95.

She pleaded innocent and still maintains her innocence.

The jury found guilt without a body, without any weapon, without any crime scene evidence, and even without blood evidence (therefore no ability to have DNA testing for exoneration).

The case was built on a missing person's report (phoned in anonymously; the woman's husband swore in court she had run off like she'd done more than once before) and based on the words of informants,and snitches, all hearsay testimony.
Some sources can be found that state Kerry had confessed; those refer to the hearsay testimony from jailhouse snitches who claimed Kerry told them she committed murder. She has never made any such statement.

Her first attempt to gain an appeal is still in the process after 16 years.

Quick Facts and Information

“Perhaps the bleakest fact of all is that the death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are actually innocent.”
–  Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. 1994

261 exonerated by DNA testing 1989 – 2010 (Innocence Project).  19% were convicted with false “snitch” testimony.
135 people released from Death Row since 1974, after having spent an average of 13 years as condemned prisoners.  
The State continues to kill legally by the following methods;
Lethal injection,
Gas chamber,
and firing squad (Utah shot a man to death in 2010).

District Attorneys cannot be prosecuted civilly for falsifying evidence, destruction of evidence, or perjury.

DNA testing cost $8,500.

The death penalty has become a political issue that is popularly used in campaigns for judges and district attorneys elected to their positions. Sentences won on death penalty gives them a mistaken reputation for being tough on crime.
During the jury selection process, any person opposed to capital punishment is dismissed by the prosecutors. Not only do these “death-qualified” juries exclude an extremely large proportion of the population, but they are also more likely to convict during the guilt/innocence phase of the trial. (S. Gross, “The Risks of Death: Why Erroneous Convictions are Common in Capital Cases,” 1996)

Death penalty does not deter murder or affect the crime rate;
 FBI Uniform Crime Report 2009; Southern states, where highest execution rate occurs (over 80%) south also has the highest murder rate.  States with lowest number of executions have lowest murder rates (northeast and west).
88% of experts reject the notion the death penalty deters murder; according to a survey of present & past presidents of the country’s top academic criminological societies. (Radelet & Lacock, 2009)

More than 128 nations have abandoned capital punishment. The United States is only outdone in executions by three countries – China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
Money can be better spent;  Funds being used for the process leading to executions could be used instead to help families who have lost loved ones to murder put their lives back together through counseling, restitution, and other services addressing their needs. 
Wrongful convictions;
Kenneth Waters; Proven innocent after 18 years serving for 1st degree murder & special circumstances.
 It took 15 yrs to get DNA testing (help from the Innocence Project whom his sister involved in the case after working to free her brother – even going to the extent to get her law degree just for his case) which proved blood at the scene was not Waters’; it was not enough to motivate the D.A. to drop the charge. It took three more years to free Waters, when an informant officially recanted their testimony; they had perjured themselves by telling a jury Waters’ had confessed to the murder. It turned out the lead investigator coerced her into the perjury. The investigator was prosecuted – but statute limitations were past, she was not held accountable.   Kenneth Waters lost 18 years of his life and when he was finally freed to reclaim his life, tragically an accidental fall lead to his death just 6 months later, at the age of 47.

Cameron Todd Willingham; convicted and executed for killing his three daughters in a house fire. Willingham maintained his innocence. He was convicted based on poor forensic science and a jailhouse informant who claimed he confessed. Updated forensic investigation proved Willingham did not set the fire. Innocence Project for more info.

According to the NCADP, evidence has been uncovered in past two years that four executed men may have been innocent.


Serial killer is a term describing a type of killer who murders a number of people over a long period of time. Who has over 3,000 people caged, waiting to be killed, eventually calls them up to their death? Who schedules it, organizes viewing the event, and pays to have it carried out? Sounds like a serial killer?  It’s 38 of the U.S. states.

“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso

What Martin Luther King Jr spoke on the travesty of the Vietnam war can easily be applied to the subject of our turning our blind eye to the forgotten souls locked away in our prisons, particularly those waiting on death rows; this kind of behavior “cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love.”

Hello from Victoria

Welcome to our new page and thank you for your interest in Kerry and/or the subject of justice system reform.

We hope to aid in awareness in a very sensitive and sometimes volatile subject. Our goal is to promote truth, wisdom, and love. As Martin Luther King Jr had promoted in his gifted eloquent manner; only the combination of  three will bring about real justice.

Our journey into the legal world (I say 'our' and 'we' so often because my children have been my partners, associates, laborers, researchers, teachers, sounding board, support, and so much more, throughout this path) has been an education; one we hope to simplify for some of you if you are starting as unequipped as we were then. This blog will grow and evolve as I learn how to use it, as more research is gathered, and as you share what you all want to know.

We will title the subjects in effort to save you time in your personal search for information.

Thank you for your patience in the process.