Articles Posted in Criminal Injustice

While Michigan abolished the death penalty in the state constitution in 1964, the term “Capital Case” now has a new meaning in our state, and this is life in prison. While many advocates, including those of the ACLU (www.aclu.org), stand against the death penalty, many feel that a life sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections (www.Michigan.gov) is a penalty far worse than death. For those charged with a capital case, choosing the attorney to fight for their freedom becomes the most pivotal of decisions. Today, we spoke to several of the top lawyers in the State of Michigan to discuss how to combat a capital case.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo (www.mcmanusamadeo.com) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and his firm has over 100 capital cases currently in litigation. McManus spoke on the subject when he said, “The capital case is a concept where the stakes could not be higher. We often get a private polygraph done with retired Michigan State Police Officer Andrew Longuski (www.propolygraphllc.com) to see if the defendant can pass a test. If you can pass a Longuski test, we then ask for a police test. Sadly, many prosecutors on a case such as this do not care about polygraph results, but the test certainly has value in other aspects of litigation.”

Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo and one of the top family law attorneys in Michigan. Kelley stated, “When we have this type of case, we often research the surroundings of the defendant. If the alleged victim is a family member or a former relationship product, we find out if there is a motive. In many of these cases, there is limited or no physical evidence, and the prosecutor is simply taking the word of someone.”

The Atlanta Child Murders was a topic at the center of the criminal justice universe from 1979-1981. The Atlanta murders of 1979–1981, sometimes called the Atlanta child murders, were a series of murders committed in Atlanta, Georgia, between July 1979 and May 1981. Over the two years, at least 28 children, adolescents, and adults were killed. In the April 2020, during a HBO Documentary, “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children,” new evidence was presented, making people wonder if the wrong person was convicted of a crime.

The defendant was a young man named Wayne Williams. Williams was born on May 27, 1958, and raised in the Dixie Hills neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Homer and Faye Williams. Both of his parents were teachers. Williams graduated from Douglas High School and developed a keen interest in radio and journalism. He constructed his own carrier current radio station. He began visiting stations such as WIGO and WAOK, where he befriended a number of the announcing crew and began dabbling in becoming a pop music producer and manager. Williams was often being accused of the crimes because of his suspicion of homosexuality in the early ’80s.

As displayed in the documentary, many of the victims’ parents do not believe that Wayne Williams committed these murders. President Reagan’s startling revelation may have been involved in making sure a young black man was unjustly found guilty of these crimes has stirred controversy. To discuss this matter in greater detail, we spoke to several of the top lawyers in the State of Michigan to gain their insight.

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