Sunday, November 25, 2007

Vindicated by DNA, but a Lost Man on the Outside

Exonerated after 16 years in prison, Jeffrey Mark Deskovic is a free man who has yet to feel truly free.

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A startling number of wrongful convictions are based on police and prosecutorial misconduct. All too frequently, overzealous prosecutors and police believe that a conviction is more important than the truth or even a fair trial.

We can see the continuing erosion of confidence in the ability of the criminal justice system to deliver anything resembling justice. Public opinion polls show a decline in public support for capital punishment along with an abiding belief that innocent people have been convicted and executed.

Several issues stand out in the case of Mr. Deskovic. Like the murder victim's family, nothing can assuage the pain of their loss. The legal system continues to extract a toll on both parties and society by seeking to impose something that it cannot deliver - justice.

When will we stand up and demand a better system that minimizes its errors, admits its mistakes, and is accountable to the people?

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