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Is Darlie Routier Really Guilty?

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Cousin Dupree, Sep 5, 2015.


Do you believe that Darlie Routier deserves a retrial...

Poll closed Aug 25, 2017.
  1. Yes

    12 vote(s)
  2. No

    6 vote(s)
  3. Other - Please explain

    1 vote(s)
  1. misssasska

    misssasska Active Member

    I do agree with that - the cases of innocent proven guilty and stories from initiatives like The Innocence Project scare me, too. I feel strongly about those, and about protecting liberty. I suppose that's why I have the view that there ought to be a retrial, even though I can't see how she didn't do it. It's also why I don't pay too much attention to a lot of the evidence, one way or the other. Hair evidence, even hair comparison, is just not that scientific, even though it gets presented as such in courtrooms. Presentations like this are sometimes present in wrongful conviction cases. I feel it's paramount to be discerning.

    I get the horror of the idea that this woman is in prison for nothing, has been crying out for years and remaining unheard, and simply has an unusual personality that has been misread. Her interviews are believable and really appear genuine in many parts.

    But, I really do think that if there had been an intruder that there would be some tangible trace, in some form.
    Ladyslug, Lily and Cousin Dupree like this.
  2. Howell

    Howell Member

    I think when you quote someone, you should include the entire portion of their quote that's relevant. But OK, fair enough, we have a truce.

    Re the hairs: Your expectations are just not reasonable nor even remotely realistic. In a Utopian society, that may very well happen one day. As it is, police departments have budget considerations, limited resources, and a lot of cases to handle. Do you realize how many man-hours and taxpayer dollars would be required to complete all of this testing you're asking for? The hairs were tested, and there was no reason to believe they were connected to this crime. You have to keep in mind, these hairs could've come from anywhere, at any time in the past, and been carried into the home from anyone. The kids, the dog, the housekeeper, visitors, ANYONE. If they had found 10 matching foreign hairs in the living room, that would be a whole different story, but a few single foreign hairs are meaningless.
    Ladyslug and misssasska like this.
  3. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    JJ - I realise that a human life is all too often less important than money when it comes to cases like this, the alarming number of innocent people imprisoned and/or put to death is vivid proof of that. So yes, 'unrealistic', within the context of a reality where that happens.. and resource allocation is lacking, also all too often.

    But I strongly refute your assertion that I'm being 'unreasonable' in regard to thorough testing of evidence. How much is a life worth, do you think? And just so we're clear that I'm not some deluded fantasist, I would point out that re-testing of trace evidence -does- actually happen Sometimes, it even sheds new light on a crime.

    To my main point here, however: going on your rather adamant arguments for Darlie's guilt, perhaps you've the idea I've been arguing her innocence in raising the various doubts I have. I'm not. What I am arguing is that she should not be subject to the death sentence, and that given the flaws (and yes, there were flaws...) in the investigation and trial both, I believe that re-testing and review of some portions of evidence leading to that sentence should be conducted.

    If we want to get all dollars-and-cents about it, it could be argued that such tests - in cases like this - would cost the state a great deal less than keeping someone alive on death row for two decades.

    There are scant few scenarios I can come up with wherein Darlie Routier is not the killer of Devon and Damon. And of those few, there's only two that have even the vaguest hope of standing up... I'm not done hashing those through, or I'd share them. Maybe when I am done, I will, if they do actually and reasonably hold up at the end of it. But to date yeah.... she looks to be pretty darned guilty.

    That, though, is aside from the question of whether Darlie deserves a retrial... As things stand, and in light of the fairly solid assumption she'll never get one, I hold to the belief that, given flaws in the investigation and trial processes, her death sentence ought to be commuted. I don't think she should simply walk free, but I don't think where there's even wiggle room for error that the Death Penalty ought to stand.

    Anyway, in regard to your quote above, I just wanted to point out that the problem with a "Locard's exchange principle" approach (the killer will always leave behind something of himself, and take something with him, in regard to forensic evidence) is that it isn't universally true... there have been intruder killers, some of whom have spent long periods of time in victim's homes, attacked people, committed rapes, etc, who have left not one jot of physical evidence behind them that could aid in identifying them as the perpetrator.

    One famous case from my own neck of the woods is "Mr. Cruel", a criminally sophisticated killer/abductor/rapist .. see the link below. It's hard to fathom how this monster could have committed one single crime of that nature without leaving bits of himself all over everything, let alone multiple crimes.. but he did. I included the second link because it gives a fairly accurate and detailed description of the extent to which this perpetrator interacted with the victim's home and family:

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  4. Howell

    Howell Member

    I think you're being a bit unfair here, Lily. You're essentially asking me to put a price on a human life, in monetary terms. I can't do that. Whether we're comfortable with it or not, we accept these kinds of decisions every day. If we lowered the federal speed limit to 25 MPH we could save thousands of lives, but that would inconvenience millions of other lives. So, we accept that thousands of lives will be lost so that we can all drive faster on the highway. I think evidence needs to be tested within reasonable bounds. Testing the hair evidence against anyone who may have ever stepped foot in the Routier home would be an enormous endeavor, and far too costly to justify.

    Yes, there were flaws in this case, just as there are flaws in virtually every investigation and/or trial. Understand, no one is arguing against a reexamination of the evidence or the process. That's why the Appeals courts exist. And the courts have given Darlie every opportunity to retest and review the evidence/process, for 20 years now, and they continue to do so. What more do you want to see?
    Cindylou and Ladyslug like this.
  5. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Unfair, unreasonable AND misleading? Seems I hit the insult trifecta there, dunnit.

    You, though, are the one who raised the issue of cost... My (rhetorical) question was aimed toward the issue of whether "lack of funding for testing" is a good enough excuse for putting the wrong person to death. I don't think it is -- and therefore, as stated, where there is wiggle room for doubt or significant impropriety or lack of dutiful care from courts/LE, the death sentence should be commuted to LWOP.

    As I believe ought to happen, in the case of Darlie Routier. Nope, not gonna just suck up all the innocent deaths because that's the way the cookie crumbles, ya gotta break a few eggs, whatever. There is no 'acceptable loss' of innocent life. There just is not.

    And lol.. sorry but - a speed limit isn't quite the same as the grave, in terms of personal impact

    Didn't you state earlier that were no flaws? Glad to see you've changed your mind on that issue at least. ;)

    As for 'every opportunity' -- makes it sound so easy but along with stringent rules of law surrounding that process, and the fact that Routier herself has to come up with the funds (no matter that some of the original tests were incomplete or just plain faulty), there's this:

    Houston-area attorney Richard Burr said that Mulder — Routier’s trial lawyer — “should have asked for the assistance of forensic experts who would have recommended further examination of the prosecution’s DNA testing, but didn’t.”

    “There was a lot he failed to do,” said Burr, who has been involved in several high profile cases, including that of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. “There was a pretty broad and deep ineffective assistance of counsel claim against [Mulder] that includes not getting forensic experts to help with many aspects of the case.”

    Alleged mistakes in Routier’s trial are detailed in a 58-page Writ of Habeas Corpus filed in a U.S. District Court in San Antonio on Routier’s behalf. Such writs are to investigate whether someone has been illegally imprisoned.


    What do I want to see? I think I've stated that.. but again: the death sentence in this case commuted to LWOP.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
    Ladyslug and Cousin Dupree like this.
  6. Howell

    Howell Member

    If you interpret my comments as personal insults, then I'm being misunderstood, as that is not my intent. If you feel I've insulted you as a person, please accept my apology.
    Ahh, but therein lies the real question. You have yet to demonstrate that Darlie is "the wrong person", or that there was "significant impropriety". Again, that's why Appeals Courts exist. And to date, they have examined this case and have found no reason to commute her sentence.

    A federal speed limit is exactly the same. Do you agree it should be lowered to 25 MPH? If not, then you are accepting that thousands of innocent lives will be lost as a result.
    I never stated that this was a perfect investigation or that there were no flaws. I stated that the process wasn't flawed, and I stand by that statement. The investigation was ethical, Darlie had competent representation, was given a fair trial and judged by her peers. There was no misconduct, no egregious mistakes; the process was solid.
    If Darlie wanted to pursue an appeal claiming ineffective counsel, she's had every opportunity to do that. Why do you think her sentence should be commuted? Because you think she's not guilty or because you have some fundamental disagreement with capital punishment? It seems to be the latter, because if you believe her 'not guilty', why would you find LWOP an acceptable alternative?
    Ladyslug likes this.
  7. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Forgive me, JJ.. I won't use quotes, for the sake of post length. Couple things:

    - "the wrong person" - I didn't mean Darlie. I meant, people up for the DP in general. There's a lot of people being exonerated by DNA these days, and IMO if the earlier tests were sub-par for proof, then the state and not the prisoner should pay for them. And there should be more funding for tests at initial arrest level -- think of the millions that they'd ultimately save for each innocent person's prison time/execution.

    - I am not going to agree with your speed limit analogy. It's nothing like the same.

    - Neither will we agree, it seems, on the 'process' having no flaws. There were several, but I think I'll make a separate post about that some time.

    - Re counsel.. How would somebody who is not conversant in the intricacies of the law even know whether their lawyer was doing right by them? It might take somebody else to point out the problem, and by then the damage might be done.. and perhaps options for said appeals have significantly narrowed.

    - I've stated several times now what my stance is, on this case. A/ there's a good chance Darlie did it. I am not 100% sure she did it, or that she did it alone. But I lean toward 'guilty' quite heavily. B/ I think 'commute the DP' because there *was* misconduct and sloppy work in this case, from the get-go and through the trial. The case was so circumstantial that there really should be no room for anyone to justifiably criticise LE/the court/doubt her guilt if she is to be put to death - yet there is. Commuting means she'll either exonerate herself.. or die in prison. But at least she'll have time to keep trying.

    - I'm not anti-DP (I've said this before, also). That said, it should be used with far greater care and discernment that it presently is, because it's NOT (no matter how anyone tries to justify it..) acceptable for innocent people to die at the hands of the law.
    Ladyslug and Cousin Dupree like this.
  8. Howell

    Howell Member

    First, can you tell me why you keep addressing me as JJ? Is there a joke I'm missing, or is that an abbreviation I'm not familiar with?

    It's certainly not acceptable for innocent people to be killed deliberately, and it does happen too often. Scott Peterson sits on death row today despite not a single shred of evidence against him. As I said before, I agree we should be sure if we're going to condemn someone to death or even find them guilty. I also think jurors should have to pass a cognitive skill/critical thinking test before they can be seated, but that's for another thread. I have no objection whatsoever to allowing Darlie to reexamine all of the evidence; give her every opportunity. She's been doing that for 20 years. If a substantial issue arises out of it, then I'll agree she should receive a new trial. As to claiming ineffective counsel, she's had every opportunity to do that with other attorneys representing her. None of her options have been limited.

    You say you lean quite heavily toward her being 'guilty', yet you think there's a good chance someone else placed the sock in the alley. That's seems a bit contradictory. If not Darlie, who did it?

    And can you explain the misconduct you're claiming took place? There were mistakes made, but I don't know of anything that was done by anyone on either side that rises to the level of misconduct.
    Ladyslug likes this.
  9. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Misconduct: 1/ illegal wire tapping. 2/ 30,000 errors and perjury to boot, 3/Linch's changing story re the knife dusting, 4/ her lawyer's failings as described by the legal professional above... I'm sure there's a couple more, but that's just off the top of my head. Then (I wouldn't call it 'misconduct' but..) there's the flat out failures of forensic testing I may have already discussed, but a lab's inability to gain *any* results rom a pubic hair with an intact root bulb is .. surprising, to say the least. Then there's that fingerprint.. here's two experts, on that topic:

    Scott Peterson is, IMO, a good example of a circumstantial case against the accused. His innocence is, in the face of all the evidence, highly improbable. I'm not going to argue semantics of an off topic case here, but Peterson clearly had means, motive and opportunity, and his action made it clear he was not expecting his 'missing' wife to return. Is his case stronger than that against Darlie? I think so. Is the circumstantial evidence against Darlie strong enough to warrant her arrest and trial? I think so. What worries me in her case.. well, I've made those worries clear in other posts. But basically, I am not convinced by some of the evidence, and I find Darin Routier's behaviour suspect on several levels.

    I don't know who planted/dropped the sock. but I do have my doubts that it was Darlie. On who else it could have been, I can only speculate.
    Ladyslug and Cousin Dupree like this.
  10. Howell

    Howell Member

    Was someone found guilty of a crime for the wiretapping? Until then, it's a moot point. 30,000 errors or any other number, demonstrate incompetence, not necessarily misconduct. Are you suggesting the stenographer did it deliberately? Did Linch perjure himself on the stand? If so, that would be a serious question, but there's been no finding of that. You(or others) may not agree with Mulder's defense strategy, but that doesn't mean he's guilty of misconduct. And you're still going to have to explain how any of this prevented Darlie from having a fair trial.
    We totally disagree on Peterson, but as you said, it's off-topic. Maybe I'll start a new thread...Every indication is that Darin was woken by his wife's screams in the middle of the night and came downstairs to find his two sons mortally wounded, and did everything that he could to save them. That he may have been a "shady" guy or had previously plotted some insurance scam has nothing to do with this crime.
    OK well, that's what I'm asking you to do. If you don't think it was Darlie, give us your speculation on who you think it could have been.

    And you didn't answer my question about calling me JJ. Seriously, please fill me in.
    Ladyslug likes this.
  11. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Are you being serious here?
    Ladyslug and Cousin Dupree like this.
  12. Howell

    Howell Member

    Of course I'm being serious.
    On what basis are you calling it "illegal"? There was nothing illegal about it. The courts found that there was nothing improper about the graveside surveillance.
    Ladyslug and Ranch like this.
  13. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    At 23 mins on this video, there's two seasoned, veteran homicide detectives and a retired DEA agent, talking about how unusual and unethical that wiretapping was. They also talk about how this impacted the trial (or rather, how it should have).

    And if this recording was 100% perfectly and unquestionably legal - why'd the lead detective have to plead the 5th at all? Isn't the whole basis of that 5th amendment plea the right to keep silence, on the grounds that the person may *incriminate* themselves?

    The fact that this wiretap skirted some very grey constitutional areas is also evidenced in articles like this:


    wherein professors of law cannot agree on whether it was actually a violation of privacy or not.

    So despite the court ruling, it seems to me the action itself crossed a very thin line, one which prevented the lead detective in the case from being cross-examined, which in itself, according to those highly experienced former detectives, should have been viewed as a serious problem.

    And I see that as a "flaw" in the "process".
    Ladyslug and Cousin Dupree like this.
  14. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member

    I like their outlook on the sock. They don't just ignore it.
    Ladyslug and Lily like this.
  15. Howell

    Howell Member

    With all due respect to the detectives in your video, they're not legal scholars, judges or attorneys. The courts have found that this was not illegal or improper. The Routiers had no reasonable expectation of privacy at the grave site.

    Detectives Patterson and Frosch pleaded the 5th and asked for counsel because Mulder essentially accused them of committing a federal crime. Now it's my turn to ask: Are you serious? What else would you have them do?!
    Ladyslug likes this.
  16. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Clifford S. Fishman, a law professor at Catholic University in Washington who has written extensively about electronic surveillance, said the police had violated Federal eavesdropping statutes. ''If a person is talking under circumstances where they don't think it's going to be overheard, then it's illegal to eavesdrop on it,'' Professor Fishman said.

    - from link in my last post

    The issue is not 'what would I have them do" - it's "was the process flawed".
    Ladyslug and Cousin Dupree like this.
  17. Howell

    Howell Member

    Again, regardless of how many law professors, judges, detectives, laypersons or attorneys may disagree, the courts thus far have determined that the graveside surveillance was fully within the law. Therefore, there was no misconduct in that regard. You or I may not believe that abortion or same-sex marriage are constitutional rights, but thus far, the courts have determined that they are. Whether we agree or like it or not, something is illegal only when the courts declare it is.
    Well, you framed the question as though the detectives knew they had done something wrong/illegal and that's why they pleaded the Fifth. That's not how it happened. If I was testifying on the stand and an opposing attorney accused me of a crime, I would have done exactly the same thing.

    Your approach is fair, but at what point do we call the process flawed? When a patrolman checks the wrong box on a report? When a crime scene technician fails to change gloves according to the exact protocol? Everything has to be balanced against reason; that's what juries are charged to evaluate. Was there pertinent information that the jury should've been given but wasn't? Is there any reason to believe that Darlie's representation was ineffective? That is, so inadequate as to justify a whole new trial? Was there any blatant misconduct on the part of the State? Planting, perjury, withholding exculpatory evidence, etc.? I just don't see any of that here.
  18. Ranch

    Ranch Well-Known Member

    Daniel J. Capra, a law professor at Fordham University in the Bronx, said the Routiers had no reason to expect privacy. ''The graveyard is a public venue,'' Professor Capra said. For 25 years, he added, the Supreme Court has upheld ''all sorts of searches that might appear intrusive.'' With that history, he said, ''the only truly private place is in your home.''

    Cousin Dupree likes this.
  19. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    I'm not here championing the cause for a new trial. Moreso, I believe the DP should be commuted to LWOP for several reasons. To recap on just a few those:

    - Once a person is dead, it's too late to change anything, in case further evidence comes to light and,
    - Darin Routier lied and lied, and changed his story on just about everything, and I believe there's much more to this all that he is not being honest about.
    - There's still more tests to be done. And is that bloody fingerprint a stranger's or not? It's such a vital piece of evidence, it ought to be explored as new technologies come up. Folk might pooh-pooh an alien public hair in the house, or the beard hair, or the two limb hairs found on the sock, but I don't think the print should be dismissed. Now, I am not saying I believe it's exculpatory for Darie (she is a liar as well, through and through, and I do suspect her strongly) but what if there's somebody else involved, whom justice hasn't touched yet?
    - I am yet to see a good explanation for why Waddell - in his own words - failed to even slightly notice a large vacuum cleaner laid down where it was, while describing how he 'stepped over' the broken glass in that area and moved around there several times. I think it's wholly possible the cleaner was moved by a paramedic or someone in LE - and nobody wants to fess up to that.
    - The impact of the silly string video on the jury. That should never have been shown, especially as the judge had heard the police tape, and how it wasn't all Darlie's idea, and there were somber parts to that event, etc. Without that evidence to balance the other (which could not be shown because the cops questionably wiretapped the graves) the ss video was very misleading and prejudicial. And out of a juror's mouth we hear how exactly how prejudicial that was.
    Cousin Dupree likes this.
  20. Howell

    Howell Member

    Ultimately, Darlie was convicted on the physical evidence. It all pointed at her, not Darin. Whatever shady things Darin was involved in or the lies he told about them have no real bearing on her guilt. There's no indication he had anything to do with this.
    Again, I have no objection to the evidence being re-tested. The courts have allowed her to do that. Unless something casts doubt on her guilt, I see no reason to commute her sentence.
    I think you should keep in mind the set of circumstances Waddell walked into. Two young children mortally wounded, and believing there could be an intruder in the house. I think the position of the vacuum cleaner was the least of his concerns at that moment.
    You don't seem to be giving this jury much credit. It was a factor no question, but surely they considered a great deal more than just the silly string video. A judge considered the rules of evidence and allowed the video in. Perhaps in my opinion he shouldn't have, but video or no video, it doesn't change the physical evidence.
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