Best Argument Against the Death Penalty - 2002
Really, how can one argue for capital punishment when the state's decision rests on the word of people like Scheff? This guy is the kind of cop who doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good case. Frank Lee Smith -- a poor black man with a hard past and no money -- faced the chair because of Scheff's worse-than-dubious investigative techniques. Smith was saved from execution only because cancer got him first: He died a horrible death in prison before DNA tests proved he was innocent of killing a six-year-old girl. More recently, BSO is having serious second thoughts about the conviction of two teen boys, Tim Brown and Keith King, for the murder of BSO Deputy Patrick Behan in 1990. A former deputy recently boasted to undercover agents that he killed Behan. The Brown and King convictions stand, but a look at those cases, particularly King's, shows that the investigation -- supervised by now-Major Scheff (that's right; he's been promoted) -- was full of problems, including jailhouse snitches who perjured themselves and numerous recantations by key witnesses. We just hope the next BSO convict found innocent is still alive when it's time to go free.