Annie Duke

Annie Duke Weighs in on Judge Barbaro's Admitted Bias and Decision to Come out Against a 15-Year-Old Murder Conviction


Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/19/2014 -- As a student of cognitive psychology and someone who focuses on how people think, remember, and perceive events, prominent public speaker and former professional poker player Annie Duke has weighed in on the recent news that former New York Supreme Court Judge Frank Barbaro has decided to overturn his 1999 murder conviction. Barbaro found Donald Kagan guilty of second-degree murder, and now believes he made a mistake in the conviction due to bias.

After being convinced Kagan (a white male) was a racist, killing 23-year-old Wavell Wint (a black male) out of hatred, Barbaro has claimed he ignored the evidence of self-defense and went with a guilty verdict. He claims his racial bias didn’t allow Kagan to receive a fair trial, and has since become a witness for Kagan’s defense. Annie Duke writes, “(Barbaro) believes his sensitivity to racial issues and inequalities is likely what led him to the bias decision. He has always had a reputation for fairness when it comes to race, but in this case he believes that very sensitivity to race biased his decision.”

In a recent interview with CNN, the 86-year-old former judge claimed the defendant (Kagan) on the stand in 1999, and the look on the defense attorney’s face when the verdict was read, still haunts him. Duke claims that seeing a retrospective bias is extremely rare, and had some thoughts on the decision-making process, looking at the case through cognitive psychology.

“Cognitive dissonance tells us that our actions often inform our beliefs, not the other way around,” writes Duke. “When our actions don’t coincide with our beliefs, we get distressed and often change our beliefs to conform to our actions.” Duke finds the events that have transpired surprising. The nature of cognitive dissonance says that because Kagan was convicted, Barbaro’s belief should be reinforced that he was, indeed, guilty of second-degree murder.

The ultimate decision for a new verdict has been postponed until September 22. Will Barbaro’s admission of bias convince New York City Criminal Court Judge, ShawnDya L. Simpson, to overturn the original verdict? Simpson has delayed the ruling twice so far in 2014. Stay tuned for more information about this rare case, and in the meantime visit Annie Duke’s website to read her blog, and see what else she has weighed in on.

About Annie Duke
Annie Duke has a strong track record of success in the world of poker. She first burst onto the scene at the 1994 World Series of Poker, where she cashed in three events including making the final three tables of the Main Event. A decade later, she won her first WSOP bracelet and in 2010 became the NBC National Heads-Up Champion when she bested runner-up, Erik Seidel. Duke has appeared on Celebrity Apprentice and tutored Hollywood A-listers including Ben Affleck and Matt Damon on the finer points of the game of poker. She is also the author of three books on poker: Decide to Play Great Poker; Heads-Up Tournament Poker; and The Middle Zone. She also authored an autobiography, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at the World Series of Poker.

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