The staff of the Innocence Project cannot be commended enough for the work that they do. Earlier this week they were able to free yet another person wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. According to their information, they reckoned that every three days they are able to free an individual.
Any system with an error rate that high, demonstrates deadly incompetence and should no longer exist. Yet, all we hear is talk of reform. Talk! I see no evidence that States’ Governors or President Barack Obama- by their lack of urgency, sometimes complete paralysis- appreciate the magnitude of the problem. I see no willingness to intervene with clemency actions to bring relief to the suffering innocent or the injustice of unconscionably lengthy sentences. It is alarming, yet it tells us more. That is, in the racial profiles of the exonerated. Poor, White, Black and male.
I was working on one similar when this appeared. In that matter, it was the refusal by an Appellate Court to hear an appeal of a man sentenced to life imprisonment for the theft of a hammer from a popular hardware store.
I can’t keep up with the many releases, due to the Innocence Project. So many, so fast. When we say that it’s the Criminal Justice System, that deflects individual contributions and responsibility. It’s like saying the government of Uganda murdered thousands of its citizens; that the state of Michigan poisoned its residents. No, General Idi Amin, President, murdered his citizens. Michigan, the cover-up and denials continue. Not front page anymore. But there too, people were the problem, not lack of information.
To get the link between criminal injustice and the official responsible, we need to clear the bush where the reptiles nest. If these “errors” cluster in the South, then narrow to which states, which judicial districts, which judges and which prosecutors lay most of the eggs. Where perjury or malpractice is present, the official must be dealt with condignly.
People make laws; people enforce laws; people murder under cover of law. So lets stop being shocked. Remove immunity and make people accountable. These are human lives. Some states even have the gall to refuse to pay compensation. Others do, but drag it out for years, hoping the victim dies. So fed-up!