Kevin Cooper - Victimized by American Injustice - by Stephen Lendman
On November 30, the US Supreme Court denied Kevin Cooper justice by not reviewing his wrongful murder conviction despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Cooper is Black and was framed for a multiple homicide he never committed. He's imprisoned on death row at San Quentin State Prison, Marin County, CA, a victim of American injustice.
Savekevincooper.org documents his case and efforts to exonerate and release him, so far in vain and unlikely unless a new governor grants clemency or pardons him after taking office in January 2011.
On January 30, 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied him clemency, saying at the time:
"I have carefully weighed the claims presented in Kevin Cooper's plea for clemency. The state and federal courts have reviewed his case for more than eighteen years. Evidence establishing his guilt is overwhelming (and despite his) mentoring of others (and other) commendable (acts his) is not a case for clemency."
On November 30, 2009, Los Angeles Times writer Carol Williams broke the bad news headlining, "Death Row inmate Kevin Cooper loses last appeal," then adding background on his case. More on that below.
In 1991, the California Supreme Court upheld his conviction, then denied his habeas petition in 1996. In 2001, a three-judge federal 9th Circuit panel affirmed his habeas petition denial. On February 9, 2004, on the eve of his scheduled execution, an en banc (full court) 9th Circuit panel reversed the earlier denial by granting him a stay of execution until his new federal habeas application could be considered.
On May 11, 2009, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:
"voted to deny (Cooper's) Petition for Rehearing and Petition for Rehearing En Banc. The full court was advised of the petition for rehearing en banc. A judge requested a vote (for it, yet the) matter failed to receive a majority of the votes, (therefore both petitions) are DENIED."
Eleven of the 27 judges dissented, some warning that "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man."
Eight judges agreed on a dissenting opinion (identified only by their last names) - Fletcher, Wardlaw, Fisher, Reinhardt, Rymer, Pregerson, Paez, and Rawlinson.
After the US Supreme Court's denial, Cooper's execution is more likely, and threatens other innocent Black prisoners, the most famous being Mumia Abu-Jamal, falsely convicted in July 1982, thereafter on death row, and in April 2009 denied a new trial by the High Court despite prosecutorial discrimination in striking Blacks from his prospective juror panel to get enough Whites on it to convict.
Timeline of the Case
-- on June 4, 1983, Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10 year old daughter Jessica, and 11 year old house guest Christopher were murdered inside their Chino Hills, CA home;
-- on June 9, San Bernardino County prosecutors charged Cooper with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder; a warrant was issued for his arrest, and his whereabouts was sought;
-- on June 30, Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies arrested Cooper following a rape accusation, not proved and never charged;