Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Exoneration

Acting at the recommendation of a special state innocence commission — the only one of its kind in the nation — a panel of North Carolina judges ruled Wednesday that a man was wrongfully convicted of murdering a prostitute in 1991 and freed him after 16 years in prison.


Another exoneration. Another day of news reporting. Pretty soon newspapers will have to add a new section - sports, business, opinion, wrong convictions.

Public confidence in the criminal justice system reside at 28% -quite a lot; 25% - very little; 45% - some; and 2% none. Public support for capital punishment continues to decline. You think that the almost daily reports of wrongful convictions might play a role in undermining the public's confidence?

While I am grateful for the work of organizations that represent the interests of the wrongfully convicted, it is very disheartening to realize that the states and the federal government are largely failing to remedy this problem. While the process in North Carolina is a step forward, a look at the length of time (17 years) and the number of junctures in the process that failed to correct this injustice suggests that a lot more work and effort is needed to minimize this problem. But the more people that we incarcerate, the greater the odds of more wrongful convictions.

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