I'm not a family member, never met him. I've seen him in Kroger a couple times and once cutting his grass.<quoted text>
I agree, the writer is very articulate, obviously has some education and knows how to punctuate a sentence. I would venture to guess the person is a family member or a friend. It is still a fact though, he killed someone, admitted it, and is now walking around a free man. How many average Joes are walking around free after admitting to something like this? None.
He comes from a family with money and therefore could afford the kind of defense most common folks can't. And, even though he's physically free, he will never be mentally free of the crime he has committed.
Someone said above, "anyone with half a brain" knows Ragland's dad got him off by paying off somebody. Well, that's probably true about people who have half a brain, but people who use ALL their brains like to base their opinions on evidence. Far be it for someone to bring a little factual information into the discussion, but here goes.
First of all, critical thinking has to separate the idea of "justice" from the idea of a fair trial. With justice, everyone guilty always gets punished, and everyone innocent always gets set free. But that will never happen in the real world, so instead we have the principle of a fair trial. Under this principle, there are guidelines and procedures designed to make it as likely as possible that actual justice will be administered. That is a crucial difference.
Ragland did get convicted, but look at what happened after the first trial.
1. The FBI ballistics expert admitted lying on the stand about the procedures used to determine the chemical makeup of the bullet that killed Diguiro. That expert was later convicted of perjury. That alone is enough to warrant a second trial. Vinnie V, that's a fact and it had nothing to do with some Oliver Stone-ish conspiracy of judges getting paid off.
2. The FBI also had to admit that they had stopped using the method they employed to match the bullet to Ragland's rifle because it was unreliable. Again, grounds for a retrial.
So now we're looking at a retrial. The star prosecution witness, Ragland's former girlfriend, was not going to testify the second time around. To get her testimony, the prosecution promised her they wouldn't ask her to cooperate any further after the first trial. "Justice" would have made her testify, but our "legal system" couldn't require her to.
So what the prosecution was then faced with was the prospect of a second trail they just might lose. So they cut a deal. Ragland had already spent over four years in jail and that's what the deal ended up being.
Sorry "Seen him around", there are also plenty of "average Joes" who are also walking around free because of a botched prosecution. Ragland's money got him an excellent defense and set up a second trial that would have been fair. But the prosecution lost its case and had to cut a deal. That's the logical, non-emotional Reality Check this discussion needs. It sucks for the Diguiro family, absolutely. But nothing is ever going to bring their son back, and they did win the civil suit.
I also think it sucks to bring this discussion up at all on Topix. Ragland did what he did, the legal system had a fair turn at him, and this is the result. We may not like it, but as someone said the ultimate judge is God, not us.