There have been
2,000 exonerations since the University of Michigan School of Law began
wrongful convictions in 1989. That means the government made 2,000
mistakes which resulted in an innocent life being wrongfully impriosned!
These are just the known figures which do not include those falsely arrested and charged, whose charges were eventually dismissed, or the statistically probable tens-of-thousands of false convictions that
remain unsolved, and will likely remain so. It also doesn't take into account the many whom, on a daily basis, are coerced into plea deals through extortive measures by prosecutors who stack charges. Aside from those who have been wrongfully convicted,
there is another set of victims – the original victims of the
crimes, and/or the families of the victims who once thought justice
One of the most
underreported effects of wrongful conviction is the affliction felt
by a murder victim's family after being retraumatized by learning the
wrong person was found guilty. Imagine that you entrusted the government
to do the right thing, yet they framed
an innocent and led you to believe their conviction was lawful.
Next, you find out the prosecutor hid evidence that could have proved
who the real killer was, which is what happened in Michael
Morton's case out of Texas. Morton lost 25 years of his life while
the public and members of his family thought he'd murdered his own wife.
Ken Anderson, the
prosecutor who withheld exculpatory evidence (evidence that shows innocence),
when finally caught, accepted a plea deal and was ordered to spend ten
days in jail. He only served five days before being released.
What about the parents,
children, and other family members and friends of the deceased wife
in Morton's story? What about justice for them? They were fortunate
as the real killer, Mark Norwood, has now been convicted for the murder
that caused an innocent husband 25 years of his life. Unfortunately,
(murder) and thier families do not share the same outcome.
Opening up a chapter
in the lives of victims' families that deals with potential scenarios
like the real murderer roaming free can cause extreme pain and suffering,
doubt, and a host of psychological traumas.
Some victims' families
have gone on to meet with the exonerated to apologize, also in pursuit
of finding the real
Thomas Sowell said
it best, "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous
way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands
of people who pay no price for being wrong.”
and judges lose their implied immunity (inability to be sued) there
will be much more hope for the wrongfully convicted and the families
of victims who are retraumatized.
As a taxpayer, I
would certainly hope that each person concerned with government accountability
would equally be concerned with helping exonerate the innocent, just
as they would support the victims' family and the pursuit for the real
criminal(s). Your tax money is wasted on wrongful prosecutions, incarceration,
and costly compensation for mistakes made by those who rarely, if ever,
pay a price for being wrong. Also, one should not forget the cost to
reinvestigate these cases, some being decades old when discovered.
The first step toward
freedom is knowledge! Understanding the effects of wrongful conviction
is paramount to promoting a 'free' society. It is difficult to think
of anything worse than the life of an innocent being taken unjustly.
A great concern is that the movement for criminal justice reform will
fall upon deaf ears... After all, we live in a society where someone
on YouTube might just be more likely to go viral than this report.
Let us change that - keep the cup of criminal justice reform half full
by spreading awareness!
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The US~Observer's investigative journalism shines a light on a broken and often abusive Judicial System. It exposes the truth behind the prosecutions of innocent people and those officials who are pushing to convict, for no other reason than to put another notch in their belt. Help us sustain our independent investigative journalism with a donation. Your support allows us to continue to report the truth and hold the judicial system responsible.