Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Truth about "In Justice"

I am referring to the ABC drama, advertised in promos mentioning the many people wrongly convicted of crimes on a frequent. Immediately upon hearing that, I knew something was amiss, but shrugged it off as more Hollywood moralizing of Tookie Williams-type cases.

In today's New York Times, Joshua Marquis, president of the National District Attorneys Association, rebuts the premise of the show in convincing fashion. Some of the highlights:
  • Roger Coleman, executed death row inmate and poster child of the wrongfully convited- DNA evidence indicates he was the likely killer.
  • Only 14 inmates have been removed from death row based exclusively on DNA evidence. Many others find relief through the established court system.
  • It is possible that the U.S. legal system enjoys a success rate of convicting the right person of better than 99%.

He concludes:

American justice is a work in progress, and those of us charged with administering it are well aware that it needs constant improvement. But nothing is gained by deluding the public into believing that the police and prosecutors are trying to send innocent people to prison. Any experienced defense lawyer will concede that he would starve if he accepted only "innocent" clients. Americans should be far more worried about the wrongfully freed than the wrongfully convicted.

I agree.


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