Sunday, October 27, 2013

This is Why David Camm is Not Guilty

David Camm has been incarcerated for 13 years.  That's a helluva lot of time.  He was twice conviced of the Murder of his wife and children, and those convictions were overturned by a higher court.  This past week, he was retried for the 3rd time and found Not Guilty of the Murders.  He is a free man.

Here is why that’s the right result:

1) Another guy killed Camm’s family.  Charles Boney killed Camm’s wife and kids.  He has been convicted of the killings, and is serving a 225 year sentence for that conviction.  Boney testified in the Camm trial.  That was the prosecution’s major piece of evidence.  A previously convicted felon (not just for the Camm family murders) who had ALREADY been convicted of killing the Camm family.  That alone, is reasonable doubt.  No matter how detailed Boney's account could have been, no matter how fervently his accusation may have been - the Defense gets to say "Of course he's going to say that.  He is the one who killed Camm's family.  We know that because he's already been convicted."

2) Camm had nearly a dozen alibis.  Camm was playing basketball at the time his family was killed.  He came home to find the family murdered.  Part of the reason he was arrested (three days after the family was murdered) was because Camm had blood on his clothing.  However, Camm’s story was consistent with having some blood on his clothing.  Which conveniently brings us to blood spatter evidence - which happens to be my next numerical paragraph (this is called a transition sentence).

3) Blood Spatter Evidence doesn’t help anyone.  On either side.  Aside from the testomy of Boney, the other big piece of evidence was blood spatter analysis.  In fact, some people following the third Camm trial believed that the entire result would hinge on blood stain pattern analysis.  If you looked at the stains on Camm’s clothing and believed that they were “high velocity impact spatter” then you would believe that it was the result of bloog “mist” that is present after a victim is shot with a gun.  Supposedly, this type of blood spatter travels up to about four feet.  

But if you believed the blood on Camm was the result of “contact stains” then you would believe that the blood pattern is consistent with Camm’s statements that he made contact with the bodies themselves.  

OR you could just believe that blood spatter analysis is hokum, and that the “experts” just make it up as they go along.  Either way it isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

4) People don’t kill their kids unless they are absolutely nuts.  Just as a practical matter, it is much more common for a person to kill a spouse and much less common for a person to kill their own children.  Usually that type of homicide is committed by someone who is having very serious mental health issues – and there wasn’t any sort of evidence to support that in Camm’s case.

As a side note, the first 2 convictions never should have happened.  In the first, there were allegations that Camm had a previous affair(s) and that basically he wanted to dip his wick in anything that moved.  A higher court correctly found that this evidence is inadmissible (and tends to smear a man’s name) when they had no proof whatsoever of a link between the evidence and killings (that Camm killed his wife for another woman, for example).  In the second trial, the prosecutor made some argument that Camm had molested his daughter – the second conviction was overturned in 2006 after an appeals judge ruled that the trial judge, Robert Aylsworth, should not have allowed Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson to argue that Camm murdered his family to cover up alleged molestation of Jill.  From what I understand, there wasn’t much of a basis for the Prosecutor to make that argument.

There was reasonable doubt all over this case.  A lot of people think Camm probably did it.  But the standard of proof in a criminal case is not “probably.” 

In order to take away your children without your consent, and do an involuntary Termination of Parental Rights (making you legally no longer the parent of your kids) the standard of proof is “Clear and Convincing Evidence.”  It is a high standard of evidence.  But that standard is NOT as high as Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. 

It takes less evidence to take your kids away from you than it does for a jury to convict a person of ANY crime.  It is the highest burden in our court system.

The fact that Charles Boney was already convicted of the killings was enough evidence, alone, to provide reasonable doubt in the Camm Murder case.

Whether you agree or not, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little discussion.

If you have any more questions about Camm, homicide, or criminal burden of proof, feel free to give me a call.

Greg Simms

Murphy & Powell, PLC.  502.473.6464

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