RationalWiki:Articles for deletion/Joey Watkins

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Joey Watkins | Result: Deleted[edit]

Joey Watkins (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs) – (View log)


  1. I don's see how this page is missional. Bongolian (talk) 06:00, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
  2. Miscarriages of justice aren't obviously missional, unless perhaps there is a particular issue with the forensic science or some important political significance or some other way it involves crank ideas. But nothing currently there to justify missionality. Maybe there is another wiki for this sort of thing? --Gospatric (talk) 08:51, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
  3. From the opening edit summary: "Grabbed page from Wikipedia because they are killing it." Uh, no, that's not what RW is for. Boredatwork (talk) 08:59, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
    We have at least once taken a deleted article from WP, but it was missional in that case. It was deleted on WP because it wasn't notable enough for WP, which is not a criterion on RW. Bongolian (talk) 21:23, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
  4. HamburgerPlate Spinning-Burger.gif (talkstalk) 01:28, 4 July 2018 (UTC)




I'm new around here, don't fully know your rules obviously, including what is "goat" for. The thing about the case that bugs me the most is that the State obviously knows something is wrong; why else would they refuse to allow anyone to copy the trial audio; why else would the key computer printout disappear; why else would they move the shooting two minutes later; why else would the do a whole bunch of other things that aren't in the article yet -- disappeared 911 call records, "rule out" the person who was responsible for another shooting at roughly the same time based on a handwritten number that suggests the other shooting was at too close a time for the alternate suspect to have done both. So it's not just a "miscarriage of justice". It's more a "conspiracy to railroad the defendant."

The other reason I was hoping it might be a fit here is that you have to use your brain to see clearly what is going on. Particularly the part about making a series of highly-likely-to-impossible assumptions.

If y'all do accept this, I'm likely to do other articles on cases where the authorities have the wrong person in prison for effectively a life sentence, ought to know it, and won't do anything about it. It's way to common; off the top of my head, I can think of examples in Maryland, Georgia (this one), Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. Texas also has some, but they at least seem to care; a lot of cases they have fixed, and others they are investigating -- slower than one would like, but they are working on it.

Getting it wrong is one thing, but when it's proven that you have made a mistake and you won't do anything about it, that's a problem.TwoPlusTwoIsFive (talk) 13:00, 3 July 2018 (UTC)

  1. @TwoPlusTwoIsFive: To keep this article here, you would need to show that it's missional, basically that it relates to any of pseudoscience, anti-science, crankery, authoritarianism, or fundamentalism. Real criminal conspiracies — as opposed to imagined ones — are not missional unless they involve authoritarianism. Bongolian (talk) 21:27, 3 July 2018 (UTC)
Let's go to the Authoritarianism article. Right up front, it says "It is this honoring of power over reason that makes an authoritarian." That describes this case perfectly. Reason, as explained in the article, shows that Watkins couldn't have done it. But by pretending to apply the rules of criminal law, the State has the power to keep him locked up, and they do. Moving down in the article, we see "the rules themselves aren't the source of power and they don't apply to the powerful". One of the rules of criminal law is that you are supposed to turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defendant. But the critical portion of the 911 computer printout disappears, they say it was "lost", and they don't turn it over to Watkins. There are other cases of disappearing evidence not mentioned in the article; one of the assertions at trial was that Watkins had shot Dawkins' dog. Ballistics tests were done that did not find any similarities between the bullet in the dog and the bullet in Dawkins; again, this was not turned over to the defense, and Undisclosed found out about it after doing a lot of searching for their podcast. Next the Authoritarianism article says that "Usually the first step for any would-be authoritarian is to arrange blanket exemptions to civil and constitutional protections and . . . to give power to armed forces or to the police to act outside of the law." Other than the word "blanket", this again fits -- clearly Watkins was repeatedly denied civil liberties, and the police acted outside the law with respect to him. The upshot is that this type of wrongful conviction -- the one where the authorities have reason to know they are going after the wrong person and do so anyway -- is a step in an Authoritarian direction.TwoPlusTwoIsFive (talk) 00:03, 4 July 2018 (UTC)
@TwoPlusTwoIsFive I'm pretty open to your authoritarianism justification, but I have questions. The way I see it, there are two reasons a miscarriage of justice could have happened: the state is incompetent, or the state is intentionally fast-tracking an innocent man into prison for political reasons. Unless I've had some major lapse in reading comprehension, the article doesn't address this. If it's the former issue, the state being incompetent, I don't really think the authoritarianism justification applies. Thus, it's not Rationalwiki's problem. If it's the latter issue, then you need to figure out what the state's motives are and explain them in the article. If we're going to justify its existence based on the state's misuse of power, then that needs to be a much bigger part of the article. Authoritarianism is why a Stalinist show-trial would be missional, but a simple case of judicial stupidity would not. You need to prove that the state is acting in a hostile manner and explain why. If you do that, or else demonstrate that you intend to do that sometime in the near future, I'll oppose its deletion and encourage everyone else to do so. DuceMoosoliniForum Romanum 05:08, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
@TwoPlusTwoIsFive By the way, I also wanted to say that if this doesn't pan out, please don't make this your last article. I like the article itself, and I highly respect that this seems to be a subject you have a passion for. And I'm 100% sure that there are a plethora of high-profile cases where the US judiciary has railroaded some poor fecker for being a pawn in a game that was bigger than them. DuceMoosoliniForum Romanum 05:23, 5 July 2018 (UTC)
@DuceMoosoliniI just saw this; I had given up on the discussion in light of the way it appeared to be going. No, it definitely was not just stupidity. I laid out my reasons for this above. As to what the actual motive was, that tends to be difficult to prove and may not be the same for all of the people responsible. Typically, what one can do is say "look at X, Y, and Z; the people responsible had to know they were doing the wrong thing. Yet they continued. Therefore, they had a motive other than what they were claiming." But they will typically not want to leave written records of their actual motive, and even if they do, it can be difficult getting the records to prove it. Furthermore, the motive may differ from person to person. One person may be the "prime mover"; another may be simply trying to keep their paycheck and job; a third may actually be doing their job correctly, and be getting used by others who are not. That said, the actual motive may be as simple as the cops will look bad if the murder isn't pinned on someone, so they find someone they think they can pin it on and do so. And if the actual killer becomes clear to them later in the investigation, they may think it would look bad to say "we had it wrong; here is the right person," so they continue going after the original target. That's not always the reason, but it often happens. I assume I'm not allowed to name anyone here, but this may be relevant [1]; in particular, the person was accused of another shooting on a highway near Rome, Georgia that day, whose time was also disputed, and based on ambiguous handwritten records, the police said that latter shooting happened at 7:25, and was too far away from the Dawkins shooting for them both to have been done by the same person. The 7:25 time came from the "time received" on this image. [2] I don't know if that middle digit is actually a "2" or not; what I do know is that if I were doing a murder investigation, I'd want better evidence than that to rule out an otherwise strong suspect. Don't confuse the "time dispatched"; that was written later, probably by a different person from the person who wrote the "time received". And yeah, the electronic records with from that one are missing too; again they would have shown an indisputable time. Another article? The problem is that the proof here is stronger than what one typically sees in these cases; if y'all don't want this one, I don't have much hope for the others.TwoPlusTwoIsFive (talk) 16:10, 7 July 2018 (UTC)