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Doody cleared again

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A Thai-born US immigrant was again cleared by an appeals court of the 1991 murders at a Buddhist temple in Arizona. 

Left, Jonathan Doody, then 19, listens to his attorney Peter Balkin as he is found guilty of murder in 1993. Below, Mr Doody as he is today at 37.


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Doody again cleared of murder

Lamphai Intathep and Piyaporn Wongruang

Jonathan Doody

When he moved from Thailand to the United States, the land of hope and dreams for migrants, Veerapol Kamkaew was only six years old. He could not speak English and it was hard to adjust to his new environment in Arizona, not known for its racial tolerance.

But the boy did well in his new life. At 17, Veerapol, who changed his name to Jonathan Doody, became a commander in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, paving the way for a promising army career.

The lanky teenager dreamt of becoming a pilot and flying F-class fighters. But his dream was dashed when he was arrested and convicted of gunning down nine people –  six monks, two helpers and a Buddhist nun – at Wat Promkunaram in Phoenix, Arizona. He received a 281-year prison sentence.

Yesterday, a US federal appeals court for the second time overturned the conviction.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Mr Doody's confession, brought out over 12 hours of relentless questioning, was illegally coerced.

The US Supreme Court earlier had asked the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to review its ruling and the appeals court yesterday reconfirmed its previous decisions that Mr Doody's confession was involuntary and he was deprived of the Miranda rights.

Miranda rights require US police officers to inform suspects about their constitutional rights before being questioned.

The state of Arizona will now decide whether to release Mr Doody or again appeal to the US Supreme Court to revoke the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decisions, said Mano Laohavanich, a former abbot of Wat Dhammakaya in California and campaigner for freedom of the now 37-year-old Mr Doody.

"I think the state will go for the second choice," said Mr Mano.

attorney – a lawyer ทนาย
find guilty – to prove in a court of law that someone has committed a crime พิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิด
clear – to prove that somebody is innocent, i.e., that someone is not guilty of what they have been accused of พิสูจน์ว่าไม่มีความผิด
migrant - moving from one place to another อพยพ
adjust – to get used to a new situation by changing your ideas or the way you do things ปรับตัว
environment – the place in which people live and work, including all the physical conditions that affect them สภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
racial – connected with a person's race เกี่ยวกับเชื้อชาติ
tolerance – the willingness to accept somebody/something, especially opinions or behaviour that you may not agree with, or people who are not like you การยอมรับความคิดเห็นของผู้อื่น, ความอดกลั้น
commander – the head of an army or army unit ผู้บังคับบัญชา
reserve – an extra military force, etc. that is not part of a country's regular forces, but is available to be used when needed ทหารกองหนุน
pave the way – to make something possible or easier to be done  ปูทางไว้สำหรับ
promising – likely to be successful or very good มีอนาคตดี,มีความหวัง
lanky – having long thin arms and legs and moving in an awkward way ผอมและสูงเก้งก้าง
dash dreams – to make it impossible for someone to do what they hoped to do ทำให้ไม่สมหวัง, ทำให้ผิดหวัง, ทำให้เสียกำลังใจ
arrest – (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime การจับกุม
convicted – having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิดจริง
sentence – a punishment given by a court of law การตัดสินลงโทษ
federal – relating to the central government, and not to the government of a region, of some countries such as the United States เกี่ยวกับสหพันธรัฐ
appeals court – a court that decides requests that a decision made by a lower court be changed ศาลอุทธรณ์
overturn – to officially decide that a legal decision, etc. is not correct, and to make it no longer valid ล้มล้าง
rule – (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
confession – admitting that you have done something wrong or illegal การสารภาพผิด
relentless – never seeming to stop ซึ่งไม่หยุด, ซึ่งไม่ยอมผ่อนผัน
illegal – against the law  ผิดกฎหมาย
coerce – to persuade someone forcefully to do something which they are unwilling to do บีบบังคับ
involuntary – happening without the person concerned wanting it to ไม่ได้ตั้งใจ
deprive – to prevent someone from having something ทำให้ไม่ได้รับ
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
constitutional right – something that you are legally allowed to do or have under the constitution  สิทธิตามรัฐธรรมนูญ
release – to allow someone to go free ปล่อยตัว
revoke – to officially say that something is no longer legal  เพิกถอน
abbot – the head monk at a temple เจ้าอาวาส
campaign – a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์

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