Material Facts of the Case: Herman Atkins was put in prison in 1988 because of the sexual abuse and subsequent robbery of a person employed in a shoe shop in the Riverside County of California. As per the records, on April 8, 1986, an African American, dressed in a dark colored jacket, sneakers and a golden ring on the hand entered the shoe shop. He first browsed some shoes and other products in the shop and then pulled a handgun. He was the single client at that time in the shop and compelled the 23 year old employee of the store to the back room. As per the details presented in Forbes (2008), he made threats to kill the girl, forced her to oral sex, and then escaped after that, having stole $130 and two rings of the victim.
The victim underwent examination at a hospital and the sweater she was wearing was taken as evidence. After that she testified against the offender at the police station. There her attention felt on a poster where there was a report of a black man who was convicted of injuring three persons two of which were police officers, on January 26. It was Atkins, but basically he only fired the shots to prevent his friend from getting mugged, and the shots accidentally caught the officers. The victim first identified Atkins from the poster and later also from the photo spread that featured the same man. Later in the court, she identified Atkins out of six other white prisoners. Another witness who was there stated that he saw Atkins at the scene of the crime not long before the commitment of the crime. He was initially held for the charges of shooting but later was accused of the crime and sentenced to jail.
Procedural History of the Case: In the jury trail of 1988, the prosecutor depended on the fact that Atkins was identified by two people – the victim herself and another witness. James Hall, a state crime laboratory serologist, who had claimed that he earlier tested a strain that was found on the sweater. The stain was formed of saliva and semen, but the genetic marks of the stain were common only for 4.4% of the total population and both Atkins and the victim and fall under that percentage. Here Bentley, as quoted by Dickey (2000), said that, “So, the evidence can’t be used to say this is exactly him, but it excludes a large percentage of the people, and does not exclude him, and that’s corroboration” (p.1).
In his defense, Atkins told that he had not visited the place which is more than an hour’s drive from his home in Los Angeles. In the trial his wife provided an alibi for Atkins. He stressed on the fact that he was in Los Angeles when the crime was committed and also had no access to any car during the time of the crime. But still the jury proved him guilty and he was given a sentence of 47 years and 8 months imprisonment.
Summation of the Key Issues: On April 8, 1986 the young victim was on her duties in the shoe store of Lake Elsinore, and some times between 11:30 to 12:00 pm, she was sexually abused and robbed by a black African man. The ravisher left his semen on the girl’s sweater. The victim was taken to a local hospital where the doctor collected her vaginal swabs and her sweater with all the semen strains was taken as identification. She recognized Atkins from a wanted poster in the police station. She identified him from a photo line up, and later an eyewitness also identified Atkins as the person in the crime scene.
The prosecution had collected a testimony from a criminologist from the California State Riverside Laboratory who, according to Forbes (2008), clearly stated that the person whose semen were found had blood type A and PGM 2+1+ (p.218). But the type was common for both Atkins and the victim. As per the records “about 25.9% of the black population have type A blood, and 80% of the population are secretors” (p.218) and “21.4% of the population (both Caucasian and Black) have PGM Type 2+1+” (p.218), so by these estimates around 4.4% of the total population can cause this kind of rape. Here Atkins was ordered a prison sentence by the court.
Re-statement of the Court’s Own Conclusion: As per the evidences and the testimonies presented by the eye-witness and medical examiner, the court declared that Atkins conducted the crime and sentenced him to a prison for forty seven years.
Conclusion: In the case, the court could not prove the fact that Atkins was the person who committed the crime and as per the medical reports there were aspects that matched with the descriptions of Atkins but were not enough to prove him as the person who conducted the rape. In his testimony Atkins stressed on the fact that he was not present at that time in the crime scene and he had his wife supporting his claim. But the aspects did not stood in the case. Here as per the proceedings the court misjudged the criminal and later the case was opened up for re-evaluation. Later tests were performed and on the basis of the results after twelve years of Atkins’ imprisonment he was released from the prison.
2. In the context of ethical deliberative process the principles and values within the case and its resolution are based on the aspects of focus, perception, judgment and motivation backed by the subsequent issues of consequences, duty and virtue. Here the focus was on the question whether Atkins was guilty or not. However, even though the perception was not entirely conclusive the judgment was not ethical as he was imprisoned during the initial proceedings. Even though the motivation was ethical in the entire process the failure to perform in the initial stages made the result unethical but was rectified later.