Awhile back I wrote about some men incarcerated in Missouri who were almost certainly wrongly convicted. One of those is Lamar Johnson. Johnson was convicted of murder in 1995. This is from a PBS report on Johnson:
[St. Louis circuit attorney Kimberly] Gardner’s investigation turned up even more proof of Johnson’s innocence. The prosecution’s eyewitness recanted, admitting he’d only identified Johnson because police told him Johnson was guilty.
And her team found records showing prosecutors paid that witness more than $4,000 for housing and expenses, information that was never disclosed to the defense.
So, you have no evidence that he committed the crime. You have the confession of two other people that they committed the crime and that he did not. You have raised pretty good questions about whether or not the trial was fair. People will ask, then why is he in prison?
Lamar Johnson is Black, and so is prosecutor Kimberly Gardner. The Meatballs in the state government hate Gardner with a white-hot passion. As far as the governor and other relics in Jefferson City are concerned, Johnson was convicted by a jury, and Gardner is just an uppity Black woman who is always going on about stuff they don’t want to hear. Even the state Supreme Court refused to act on Johnson’s case, because their reading of the law didn’t provide “actual innocence” as a reason for being released from jail.
Recently Gardner filed a motion to vacate Johnson’s conviction based on, you know, facts. A judge is scheduled to hear the case in the coming week. In steps state Attorney General and Senator-elect Eric Schmitt, who claimed that Gardner had withheld evidence that points to Johnson’s guilt. Schmitt filed a motion to sanction Gardner.
On Thursday, Schmitt filed a motion arguing Gardner should be sanctioned because her office failed to hand over a report about gunshot residue found on a jacket owned by Johnson.
Gardner’s office shot back, calling the jacket a “red herring” that wasn’t even used during the crime.
Half the men in this state probably have gunshot residue on them somewhere. This is a pro-gun state, you know.
The judge didn’t sanction Gardner but will allow the jacket to be admitted as evidence if anyone can prove Johnson was wearing it at the scene of the crime. And good luck with that.
But I’m bringing this up because this is the kind of crap Eric Schmitt pulls all the time. I’m sure he’s already made up his mind to be the biggest pain in the ass in Senate history. He might almost make Ted Cruz seem reasonable. Just wait.
Also, you may have seen the video of U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler, R-MO, having a meltdown over the Defense of Marriage Act. Hartzler also ran for Roy Blunt’s Senate seat.
Hartzler was considered by some to be a “moderate” candidate compared to Schmitt. And E.J. Dionne has a question —
Many traditionalist Christians view homosexual relationships as sinful. I think they are wrong, but I acknowledge that this is a long-held view. Yet many of the same Christians also view adultery as a sin. Jesus was tough on divorce. “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder,” he says in Matthew’s Gospel.
But unless I am missing something, we do not see court cases from website designers or florists or bakers about refusing to do business with people in their second or third marriages. We do not see the same ferocious response to adultery as we do to same-sex relationships. Heck, conservative Christians in large numbers were happy to put aside their moral qualms and vote twice for a serial adulterer. Why the selective forgiveness? Why the call to boycott only this one perceived sin?
Anyway — Paul Waldman had a great column last week called Republicans need to learn why the public keeps rejecting them.
Many Republicans want to spend the next two years stirring up culture war controversies and investigating Biden’s family, then nominate Trump again. Right now, a portion of their base remains consumed with the idea that they would have won the 2020 election if only nude photos of Hunter Biden had been more widely distributed on Twitter.
Some of them, of course, haven’t yet been rejected. Eric Schmitt probably thinks he’s going to take over Washington, and I can promise you he’ll make a massive spectacle of himself in the coming year. The House Republican MAGA caucus certainly isn’t going to moderate itself, either. We can count on the usual gasbags — Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, et al. — to continue to behave like spoiled pubescents and do nothing but make spectacles of themselves over the next two years. And I’d like to hope that, maybe, enough of the American public will get tired of it to keep spanking them in elections. Waldman, again:
Many of the core policy goals of the party are deeply unpopular, including its desire to outlaw abortion and give tax cuts to the wealthy, but those are unlikely to change. More than anything else, what the electorate has recoiled from is Trumpism in all its manifestations. The voters have pretty clearly had about enough with the election denialism, the QAnon conspiracy theories, the disregard for the law, the consorting with repugnant extremist bigots, and the relentless need to start petty squabbles with anyone and everyone.
It’s going to be really fun with the Trump indictments start to pile up.