Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

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News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.

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HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
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Mullis saves another life

Innocence Project uses PCR to spring another soul from hell

Triumph of science over fear and fantasy in the justice system

byron-halseycrop.jpgThe Innocence project at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University has now sprung its 201st victim of false incarceration.

On behalf of the 201 and the possibly hundreds of thousands of people still wrongfully languishing in small cells with virtually all that makes life worth living taken away from them by prosecutors, police, judges and juries without the sense, decency or courage to acknowledge reasonable doubt, we can all say a hearty Thank you to the Innocence Project and to a great scientist, Kary Mullis, for contributing his Nobel prize winning breakthrough PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) technique, which amplifies the tiniest morsel of DNA into a sample big enough to analyze properly, and restoring the lives of so many falsely accused.

Revealed: horrendous distortion of criminal system

Score so far: Innocents convicted, incarcerated, and finally released after years in a cell, 201. Just convictions by dutiful juries in these cases: Zero. Confessions extracted by the police in these cases: about 70. Irresponsibly vindictive prosecutors: 201. Cases decided incorrectly on the evidence: 201 Remaining innocents in prison in the USA, land of the free and the incarcerated, 20,000? 100,000? 200,000? of 2.3 million, with 6 out of 10 black or Hispanic.

The latest case has the usual earmarks of failure of the system – an upright citizen railroaded into jail for years because he is black, and because he is the closest person the police can grab. A prosecutor who even now is reluctant to admit the mistake. A false confession produced by police pressure. At least one false witness, in this case the culprit himself. A jury who went along with a bad case and convicted an innocent man.

Mullis inspiration finds the real killer

The African American who has been robbed of two thirds of his normal adult life is Byron Halsey, now 46, having been removed from normal life since age 27, condemned to 19 years in jail for the murder by a neighbor of his woman’s two children, even though their mother never believed in his guilt, and the neighbor, Cliff Hall, a witness against him who is now fingered by DNA as the real killer, is now in prison for three sexual assaults.

kary-mullissurfer.jpgAll this horrendous falsity is now swept away thanks to Kary Mullis’ brainwave on a California night drive years ago.

The DNA from the vicious double child murder, where a brick was used to hammer in four nails into the skull of Tyrone, 8, and his sister Tine, 7, was raped and strangled, turns out to match Mr Hall, not Mr Halsey, who the mother of the children says had “always loved them”. Mr Halsey protested his innocence from the beginning, until after 30 hours interrogation he was induced to sign a false confession. “What has been done to me was criminal at best,” he now says.

Times half explains what is going on

Why the police and the prosecutor ever believed Mr Halsey killed the children he loved of the woman he lived with is not explained by Tina Kelley, the New York Times reporter, who says that Byron was convicted in 1988 of two counts of felony murder and other charges, and escaped the death sentence by a hair because he was found not guilty of purposeful and knowing murder.

He is not free yet. According to Tina he has to wear an electronic ankle monitor for the next 45 days because he still faces two counts of felony murder as well as numerous other charges such as aggravated sexual assault, aggravated manslaughter, and child abuse, even though he is released on $55,000 bail. The Union County prosecutor’s office will not say whether they will not still try to get him on those old accusations, although as listed they seem to be precisely the ones that won him the vengeful sentence that has now been vacated.

Times falls down on this simple crime report

If you can make sense of all that you are much cleverer than we are (what do they pay Tina Kelley that she can let so many questions go unanswered – is it enough? Does anyone at the Times edit stories for Who-What-Where-Why-How any more?). But it seems pretty clear that even if DNA evidence can prise one dead hand of misbegotten prosecutorial zeal from a man’s neck the corpse won’t let go with the other. Once falsely accused and wrongly convicted, you are still under heavy suspicion even if DNA clears you and the prosecutor is directed to the real culprit, in this case Mr Hall, whom the prosecutor’s office is now “looking into” bringing charges against in this case.

So much for reportorial consistency, or explanation, or fact checking which the Times is too poor to pay for as a separate function it appears (the two felony charges were vacated, so why are they listed as still alive? How could banging nails into the head of an eight year old with a brick not be purposeful murder? How come all the charges are still alive if the sentence for involvement in the murder has been dismissed? Is the Union County prosecutors’ office inhabited by legal donkeys?).

Do false prosecutors deserve the sentences they win?

The court system is evidently careless in the extreme in whom it consigns to the earthly hell that is the lock-up. Now that it can be checked with science it is utterly depressing how very poor the record of the various people of the justice system is turning out to be, and how much good science has to contribute to correcting the injustices judges, prosecutors, cops and juries manufacture on a regular basis.

One wonders what the record might be if all prosecutors were subject to civil suit for irresponsible prosecution, and if convicted had to serve the sentences which they had won for innocent victims of their careless career zeal?

A positive NIAID director might be less so

anthony-fauci.jpgPerhaps their attitude might be as different as the attitude say, of Dr Anthony Fauci, if he suffered an “AIDS test” and emerged positive for some reason? We imagine he might develop a somewhat greater interest in the accuracy of the paradigm on which he stands so high and whether or not HIV actually does cause AIDS, as the entire literature of the field including his own reviews indicates it does not.

But meanwhile, let’s take notice of the tendency of professionals like almost all human beings to go right off the rails if they do not have science to limit their unrestrained imaginings and convictions.

Yet another indication of fantasy rampant in a sober arena

The lesson of PCR is a heavy one for all who suppose that what is inside the skulls of most people matches reality as measured by science in any significant way, even in the straitlaced and sometimes deadly environs of criminal judgement with very severe penalties attached.

kary-mullis.jpgThat of course is the intended lesson of this blog, which we hope will come across in our endless publicizing of how extensively the scientific literature contradicts the fantastic claims of leading HIV∫AIDS scientists and their official, political, legal, medical and corporate fellow travelers, who have persuaded the world that an invisible viral pandemic is ravaging the world even though they can produce only false witnesses and spurious evidence for it.

One of the chief witnesses against this fantasy is of course Kary Mullis himself, who wrote to the Adelaide court that the judge should take into account his view that there is no good scientific proof for it so far, and no expectation for it.

Papers are retracted all the time. I am not aware of the nature of the evidence you are considering, but when it comes to legal issues, retractions don’t necessarily make up for the original mistake, and if I were to offer advice to the courts system of Australia, I would plead that they realize that the AIDS/HIV issue is what is not settled scientifically, not the effectiveness of PCR.

No doubt the proponents of the paradigm who were busily defending the dominant hypothesis in and out of the court persuaded the judge to listen to them as the ‘mainstream scientific opinion’ he says he used as his measure in dismissing the Perth group, and ignore Mullis’s letter despite his Nobel. Perhaps the judge is unaware that great originality is as often non “mainstream” in personal style in science as it is in other fields.

One thing he shouldn’t be ignorant of is the likelihood that posterity will celebrate Mullis a lot longer than Robert Gallo for his extraordinary achievement and its influence in restoring justice and freedom to lost souls.

Let’s celebrate Mullis too

Here is a short list of Mulli’s accomplishments, from a company he has just joined (see below):

Dr. Mullis received a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993 for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The process, which Dr. Mullis conceptualized in 1983, is hailed as one of the monumental scientific techniques of the twentieth century. A method of amplifying DNA, PCR multiplies a single, microscopic strand of the genetic material billions of times within hours. The process has multiple applications in medicine, genetics, biotechnology and forensics.

Dr. Mullis has authored several major patents. His patented inventions include the PCR technology and UV-sensitive plastic that changes color in response to light. His most recent patent application covers a revolutionary approach for instantly mobilizing the immune system to neutralize invading pathogens and toxins, leading to the formation of his latest venture, Altermune LLC.

Dr. Mullis was awarded the Japan Prize in 1993 for the PCR invention. It is one of international science’s most prestigious awards.

His many other awards include the Thomas A. Edison Award (1993); California Scientist of the Year Award (1992); the National Biotechnology Award (1991); the Gairdner Award, Toronto, Canada (1991); the R&D Scientist of the Year (1991); the William Allan Memorial Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1990); and the Preis Biochemische Analytik of the German Society of Clinical Chemistry and Boehringer Mannheim (1990). Dr. Mullis was presented the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of South Carolina in 1994. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1998. He also was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Bologna, Italy.

His many publications include “The Cosmological Significance of Time Reversal” (Nature), “The Unusual Origin of the Polymerase Chain Reaction” (Scientific American), “Primer-directed Enzymatic Amplification of DNA with a Thermostable DNA Polymerase” (Science), and “Specific Synthesis of DNA In Vitro via a Polymerase Catalyzed Chain Reaction” (Methods in Enzymology).

Dr. Mullis has written an autobiography, “Dancing Naked in the Mind Field,” published by Pantheon Books in 1998.

He is currently a Distinguished Researcher at Children’s Hospital and Research Institute in Oakland, California.

karymullisagain.gifWe interviewed Mullis for OMNI before he won his Nobel and found him a delightful combination of free spirit and strong mind, and a fine example of how a seminal new scientific idea can emerge from a restless and highly charged personality, more interested in brainstorming and in pushing the envelope than in rejecting improbabilities. (“Only a free individual can make a discovery” – Einstein.) We also liked Mullis for his unapologetic love of women, as shown in this autobiography he wrote in 1993:

The following award announcement appeared in Clinical Chemistry for AACC’s award to Mullis:

1993 Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research

Kary B. Mullis will receive the 21st annual award, sponsored by Roche Diagnostic Systems. He sent the following biographical sketch to AACC:

I have failed to embrace any particular scientific discipline for very long and consider myself a generalist with a chemical prejudice.

My first summer after high school I had the good fortune of working for a remarkable storyteller, Max Gergel, who made and sold research chemicals at his company, Columbia Organic Chemicals, and eventually wrote a sort of autobiography, which he called “Excuse Me, Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?” I learned a lot about organic chemicals that summer.

At Georgia Tech I studied chemistry and physics, wrote fiction for the humor magazine, and married Richards, who soon bore Louise. In the summer, with my friend Al Montgomery, I learned to synthesize organic chemicals at Kings Laboratories, which, with encouragement from Max, we had founded in a chicken house belonging to Al’s brother-in-law. In 1966 I left our fledging business, which survived, for graduate school and the cultural revolution in progress at the University of California–Berkeley.

I had more fun at Berkeley than anyone on an NIH stipend deserves, and learned a number of things, in addition to the biochemistry of iron, from the gentle wisdom of Professor J. B. Neilands. After 6 years I reluctantly took my Ph.D. and left, following my second wife back to her home and medical school in Kansas, where, after failing for 3 months to write a best-selling novel, I returned to science. I found a research position in the Pediatric Cardiology Department at Kansas University with Leone Mattioli and Richard Zakheim. We collaborated with pathologist Agostino Molteni, and the four of us had a cordial and productive 2 years working on idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome. They were all three good doctors and equally nice men. I returned to California in 1975 with fond memories, the rudiments of medicine, and a distaste for the experimental killing of rodents. Cynthia, my third wife-to-be, was with me.

I left science temporarily and we took a job together washing dishes in a Berkeley restaurant owned by my first wife Richards. I wanted to take up writing seriously. We lived in a cottage across the fence from where my daughter Louise, now 10, lived with Richards and her new husband. First and third wives usually get along, and life at the restaurant was very social. It was nice being back in Berkeley. Cynthia encouraged me to write. Our marriage produced Christopher and then Jeremy. I published a short story in Medical Dimensions but, deciding that I was too young to write good fiction, I went back to killing rats, this time in the name of neurochemistry with Wolfgang Sadee at the University of California–San Francisco.

From there in 1979 I went to Cetus, returning to synthetic chemistry, which I had always enjoyed. My lab made oligonucleotides for use in the heady new business of molecular cloning. Finally that got easier and more boring and I started thinking up things to do with them. I invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It was the first day of the rest of my life. Things happened slowly at first but with an accelerating pace. I left Cetus in the fall of 1986.

At Cold Spring Harbor, where I had presented PCR to Jim Watson’s Symposium on the Molecular Biology of Homo sapiens in June 1986, I had met Tom Caskey, whose lab at Baylor would take a leading role in the development of PCR as a clinical diagnostic tool. Neither of us realized until several months later that we had attended the same high school in Columbia, SC. That fall, Tom introduced me to Peter Baram in San Diego, who had started a small biotech company called Xytronyx, and I took a job as his director of molecular biology.

San Diego was a good move. Biotechnology companies and research institutions are abundant, the weather is nice, and the people are friendly, but Xytronyx was too limited to hold my interest long. With PCR becoming widespread, I discovered I could make a living as a consultant. Invitations to speak at meetings started coming in rapidly, and the more I traveled, the more clients I found. So things have worked out.

My first scientific paper, while a graduate student in biochemistry at Berkeley, was an amateurish cosmological theory entitled “The cosmological significance of time reversal,” which I persuaded Nature to publish in 1968. Ironically, in 1985, Nature was not persuaded to publish my original manuscript on PCR, noting that “it might be more appropriately published in a more specialized journal.” A month later, Science was equally unimpressed with my invention of PCR, lamenting that “the paper could not compete for our limited space.” It was a good paper though, and Ray Wu accepted it for Methods in Enzymology.

Photography, computers, surfing, and a house and garden in rural Mendocino County are my major nonscientific distractions today, although writing is still on my mind and a science fiction novel is cooking slowly on my back burner. None of my three marriages is current; but my children, now 12, 16, and 28, are a big part of my life, and I am on good terms with my former wives. I live in a beachfront apartment in La Jolla with Heidi.

Update: Mullis recently joined the board of advisors of the company formed to explore and exploit the medical ramifications of Peter Duesberg’s new line of research (aneuploidy) in cancer, Modern Technology Corporation’s subsidiary Insight Medical Group.

About the AnuCyte Cancer Detection System

The AnuCyte Cancer Detection System is an automated machine to detect the presence of cancer in cell samples. The system accurately identifies cancer at any stage in its development and also identifies healthy cancer-free cells in the same test within the same sample. The system is designed based on the chromosomal imbalance theory of cancer. The science behind the company’s cancer detection technology is of the very highest standard. Over the prior ten years the chromosomal imbalance theory of cancer has been proven correct both experimentally and theoretically in numerous, rigorously peer-reviewed publications in the leading journals.

Insight Medical Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Technology Corp., is a specialized biosciences development company whose mission is to bring world-changing medical technology and research to market in the areas of cancer and AIDS. The AnuCyte Cancer Detection System was invented by Dr. David Rasnick, Ph.D. The technology behind AnuCyte and the chromosomal imbalance theory is the result of 45 years of combined cancer research by Dr. David Rasnick, Ph.D. and Dr. Peter Duesberg, Ph.D., who continues his studies on cancer research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Here is the press release announcing the relationship, Kary Mullis, Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize, Joins Insight Medical Group’s Board of Advisors:

Kary Mullis, Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize, Joins Insight Medical Group’s Board of Advisors

OXFORD, MS — (PRIMEZONE) — – May 9, 2007
OXFORD, Miss., May 9, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) — Insight Medical Group, a bioscience technology development and acquisition company specializing in the accurate detection of cancer, announced today it has appointed Dr. Kary Mullis, Ph.D., to its Board of Advisors.

Dr. Mullis received a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993 for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The process, which Dr. Mullis conceptualized in 1983, is hailed as one of the monumental scientific techniques of the twentieth century. A method of amplifying DNA, PCR multiplies a single, microscopic strand of the genetic material billions of times within hours. The process has multiple applications in medicine, genetics, biotechnology and forensics.

Dr. Mullis has authored several major patents. His patented inventions include the PCR technology and UV-sensitive plastic that changes color in response to light. His most recent patent application covers a revolutionary approach for instantly mobilizing the immune system to neutralize invading pathogens and toxins, leading to the formation of his latest venture, Altermune LLC.

Dr. Mullis was awarded the Japan Prize in 1993 for the PCR invention. It is one of international science’s most prestigious awards.

His many other awards include the Thomas A. Edison Award (1993); California Scientist of the Year Award (1992); the National Biotechnology Award (1991); the Gairdner Award, Toronto, Canada (1991); the R&D Scientist of the Year (1991); the William Allan Memorial Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (1990); and the Preis Biochemische Analytik of the German Society of Clinical Chemistry and Boehringer Mannheim (1990). Dr. Mullis was presented the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of South Carolina in 1994. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1998. He also was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Bologna, Italy.

His many publications include “The Cosmological Significance of Time Reversal” (Nature), “The Unusual Origin of the Polymerase Chain Reaction” (Scientific American), “Primer-directed Enzymatic Amplification of DNA with a Thermostable DNA Polymerase” (Science), and “Specific Synthesis of DNA In Vitro via a Polymerase Catalyzed Chain Reaction” (Methods in Enzymology).

Dr. Mullis has written an autobiography, “Dancing Naked in the Mind Field,” published by Pantheon Books in 1998.

He is currently a Distinguished Researcher at Children’s Hospital and Research Institute in Oakland, California.

Anthony Welch, Chairman, said: “Dr. Mullis’s decision to join our advisory board brings us joy and heralds a bright future. His presence inspires us to greatness and furthers the credibility of the science and technology behind our cancer detection system.”

Dr. Mullis said, “After decades of neglect by most established researchers — exceptions being Drs. Duesberg and Rasnick — the aneuploidy theory of carcinogenesis has finally resumed center stage in cancer diagnosis. We are expecting Insight Medical Group to be a major player in this resurgence.”

About the AnuCyte Cancer Detection System

The AnuCyte Cancer Detection System is an automated machine to detect the presence of cancer in cell samples. The system accurately identifies cancer at any stage in its development and also identifies healthy cancer-free cells in the same test within the same sample. The system is designed based on the chromosomal imbalance theory of cancer. The science behind the company’s cancer detection technology is of the very highest standard. Over the prior ten years the chromosomal imbalance theory of cancer has been proven correct both experimentally and theoretically in numerous, rigorously peer-reviewed publications in the leading journals.

About Insight Medical Group and Modern Technology Corp.

Insight Medical Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Technology Corp., is a specialized biosciences development company whose mission is to bring world-changing medical technology and research to market in the areas of cancer and AIDS. The AnuCyte Cancer Detection System was invented by Dr. David Rasnick, Ph.D. The technology behind AnuCyte and the chromosomal imbalance theory is the result of 45 years of combined cancer research by Dr. David Rasnick, Ph.D. and Dr. Peter Duesberg, Ph.D., who continues his studies on cancer research at the University of California, Berkeley. Modern Technology Corp., a bioscience technology development and acquisition company, builds revenues through a model continuous growth, strategic acquisitions, and commercialization of nascent technology. MODC is a fully reporting public company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For the company’s SEC filings, visit www.sec.gov. The company’s web address is: http://www.moderntechnologycorp.com.

Safe-Harbor Statement

This press release contains statements (such as projections regarding future performance) that are forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT: Modern Technology Corp.
Investor Relations:
Anthony Welch
(601) 213 3629
ir@moderntechnologycorp.com

Here is the Times story, DNA in Murders Frees Inmate After 19 YearsThe New York Times
May 16, 2007
DNA in Murders Frees Inmate After 19 Years
By TINA KELLEY

ELIZABETH, N.J., May 15 — A man who served 19 years in prison for the sadistic murders of his companion’s two children walked out of the Union County Courthouse flanked by his family members after a judge vacated his convictions on Tuesday.

Prosecutors contended that DNA evidence in the case would probably change the mind of the jury that convicted the man, Byron Halsey, 46. They also said that the DNA evidence pointed instead to Cliff Hall, a neighbor who testified against Mr. Halsey at his 1988 trial and who is currently in prison for three sexual assaults.

Mr. Halsey, who was handcuffed, sat crying silently during the brief proceeding in Union County Superior Court before Judge Stuart L. Peim.

As he left the courthouse, Mr. Halsey said, “I thank my Lord and savior Jesus for keeping me.”

Asked about his emotional state, he smiled and said, “I don’t want to get in more trouble.” He added, What was done to me was criminal at best.”

Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, the Manhattan legal clinic that revived the case, said: “It’s a miracle that Byron is here with us, because if ever there was a case where there was a risk of executing an innocent man, it was this case. Because the facts of the case were so horrible.”

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Mr. Halsey in the 1985 killings. The crimes were particularly chilling — Tina Urquhart, 7, was raped and strangled, and her brother, Tyrone Urquhart, 8, died after four nails were hammered into his skull with a brick. The children’s bodies were found in the basement of a rooming house in Plainfield where Mr. Halsey lived with their mother.

Mr. Halsey, a factory worker, was convicted in 1988 of two counts of felony murder and other charges, and sentenced to two life terms and 20 years. He was not eligible for the death penalty because he was not found guilty of purposeful and knowing murder, a capital offense, one of his lawyers said.

His release comes at a crucial time in the state’s debate over abolishing the death penalty, which has not been carried out since 1963. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the most serious crimes. A similar bill was introduced in the Assembly last November. There are nine men now on death row in New Jersey.

Mr. Halsey was released on $55,000 bail. In a statement, the Union County prosecutor’s office said he was still facing charges of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of aggravated manslaughter, two counts of felony murder, child abuse and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was scheduled to appear in court again on July 9.

The office would not comment on whether or not it intended to pursue those charges in a new trial. But Mr. Scheck said he had not heard anything from prosecutors to indicate that they would not move to dismiss the charges in July.

Mr. Halsey will live in Newark in a supervised setting where he can get job training, Mr. Scheck said. He will be required to wear an electronic ankle monitor for the next 45 days.

“It was a minor miracle that he was not sentenced to death,” Mr. Scheck added. “At the trial, a few of the jurors just didn’t believe in capital punishment.”

Mr. Halsey contacted the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, after exhausting his appeals. Advanced DNA techniques that were not available at the time of the trial showed that the evidence had no link to Mr. Halsey. It did, however, show a match with Mr. Hall, whose DNA samples were already in the state’s database because of his convictions in sex crimes that occurred after the Urquhart children were killed.

The prosecutor’s office said Tuesday night that it was looking into bringing charges against Mr. Hall.

Mr. Scheck noted that in about a quarter of the 201 wrongful convictions that have been overturned with the use of DNA evidence, people had confessed or admitted to crimes they did not commit. Mr. Halsey signed a confession after 30 hours of interrogation, Mr. Scheck said. Mr. Halsey’s lawyers said he had a sixth-grade education and severe learning disabilities.

Dolores Mann, one of his original lawyers, said Mr. Halsey had maintained his innocence from the beginning.

“I’m hoping the case sheds light when the bill goes to the Assembly, so the death penalty will be taken off the books,” she said.

Margaret Urquhart, the victims’ mother, said in a statement: “I knew Byron loved Tyrone and Tina. It didn’t make sense to me that he could have done this. I always had my doubts, but I didn’t know what to do about them. I am thankful that the DNA testing has identified who really did this to my children and that Byron is being released today. I want justice done in this case.”

Another lawyer for Mr. Halsey, Raymond Brown, said his client was looking forward to one thing in particular after being released.

“He said something about taking a bath,” Mr. Brown said. “He hasn’t taken one in 20 years.”

3 Responses to “Mullis saves another life”

  1. noreen martin Says:

    Thank goodness for scientist such as Dr. Kary Mullis who still have some intregrity left. He is freeing so many who would be doomed to a life of hell in prison, including many HIV-positives, who no longer buy into the “viral load” theory. He personally helped me by taking the time to answer my questions in this regard and he was instrumental in my decision to come off of these toxic drugs and I am forever indebted to him for that. He indeed is a rare breed who is not afraid to speak his mind and a great pathfinder for others, if only they would follow….

  2. Robert Houston Says:

    Thank you, Truthseeker, for your provocative account of how our sick justice system has been aided by the scientific advance of the Nobel laureate Dr. Kary Mullis. One lesson of the Halsey case and other such cases is that unchecked prosecutorial zeal can lead to monumental injustice. Ideally, the legal system is supposed to provide some checks and balances, but all too often these are weak or nonexistent.

    In fact, one-sided zeal is institutionalized in the American grand jury system, which has virtually no checks and balances of any kind to protect the rights of the accused or even to maintain elementary considerations of fairness. Defense attorneys and even judges are not permitted to participate. Having observed this wretched system up close for one month as a NY State grand juror, I was appalled to find that the whole show is nothing but a kangaroo court, conducted by and for the prosecutors for the purpose of gaining the maximum number of indictments with the maximum number of charges. It’s really just a game by which the young assistant district attorneys, who seem to have little or no concern that the accused may be innocent, advance their own careers by railroading the poor and minorities into snake-pit jails for long-delayed future hearings in which those accused can’t afford to pay for an adequate legal defense.

    No wonder so many decent citizens have been falsely indicted and even convicted. All the power and money is on the side of the government., The prior police review is completely one-sided as are the usual efforts of the DA office. Before trial, there’s no one to stand up for the balance of equitable justice. Theoretically, the citizens on the grand jury are supposed to provide some form of counterbalance, but they are misled by the prosecutors regarding the requirements of the law and shown only a biased version of the case from which all exculpatory evidence has been deleted. (Routinely in my grand jury, the assistant DAs would self-servingly claim that the standard for indictment was merely a “plausible case”, whereas the grand jury’s handbook quoted the state law as requiring for indictment that there be “substantial evidence sufficient to convict.”) Thus, grand juries usually function as little more than rubber stamps for the DA, issuing indicments in over 95% of the cases.

    The system is further distorted by institutionalized procedures to prevent any later embarassment to the DA office for false convictions, by making it very difficult to reopen a case or to reverse a conviction when new evidence shows it was mistaken. Truthseeker has made an excellent suggestion that the prosecutors should be punished for their wrong convictions.

    In AIDS, the retrovirologists who prevailed at the NIH were in the position of opportunistic prosecutors on a grand jury. They wanted a retrovirus, such as the War on Cancer failed to indict for any human cancer, to be shown to cause a glamorous disease. Even though the evidence was appalingly weak (HIV could be isolated from only 36% of AIDS patients, and occasionally was associated with giant cells when used in a leukemia cell line that normally develops giant cells on its own), the virus was indicted by press conference and convicted by press release, with no formal scientific debate over the merits of the claim or the existence of other credible culprits.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    Decisively put, Robert. In both cases, it is stunning and appalling how willingly people sacrifice other people’s welfare and lives for their own personal advancement.

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