Author Topic: DNA evidence exonerates a wrongly convicted BLACK man after 22 years in prison  (Read 1531 times)

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Offline Stavro

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Source:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/10/25/innocence.project/index.html

Interesting is the fact that DNA evidence exonerated 15 wrongly convicted individuals on the death row.
Also interesting is the fact that 55 % of the wrongly convicted individuals did not receive even financial compensation from the State who choose the jury that put them behind bars.


 
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Offline Fr. George

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Also interesting is the fact that 55 % of the wrongly convicted individuals did not receive even financial compensation from the State who choose the jury that put them behind bars.

And what should be done?  If someone is wrongly convicted and the state knew of it when it happened, that is one thing.  But if the case progressed with the available evidence and a mistaken conviction occurs, who should bear the penalty?  The jurors?  The prosecutors?  The state choses the jury pool at random; the lawyers have a lot of say as to who makes the final panel.
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Offline GiC

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And what should be done?  If someone is wrongly convicted and the state knew of it when it happened, that is one thing.  But if the case progressed with the available evidence and a mistaken conviction occurs, who should bear the penalty?  The jurors?  The prosecutors?  The state choses the jury pool at random; the lawyers have a lot of say as to who makes the final panel.

Well, the prosecutor works for the state, so the state should be liable for unjustly prosecuting an innocent man. If the state was liable under tort law for prosecuting an innocent person it may help cut back on wrong convictions. But, ultimately, I think we need to start moving away from having eyewitness testimony admissible in a court of law and requiring the prosecution to prove their case as one would a scientific hypothesis; it will certainly make the prosecution's job more difficult, but it will help reinforce the presumption of innocence...it's better a thousand guilty people go free than one innocent person be unjustly convicted.

Offline Fr. George

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Well, the prosecutor works for the state, so the state should be liable for unjustly prosecuting an innocent man. If the state was liable under tort law for prosecuting an innocent person it may help cut back on wrong convictions. 

There should be a distinction between a false positive and an inadequate investigation, at least.  I can agree to your proposition if the state is only liable for inadequate investigations.

But, ultimately, I think we need to start moving away from having eyewitness testimony admissible in a court of law and requiring the prosecution to prove their case as one would a scientific hypothesis; it will certainly make the prosecution's job more difficult, but it will help reinforce the presumption of innocence...it's better a thousand guilty people go free than one innocent person be unjustly convicted. 

I would even consider this (although I'm much more reluctant, in comparison to your first point), but eyewitness testimony should still be available as grounds for the procuring of search and discovery warrants, as well as for the questioning of other witnesses and suspects.
"If you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon Him and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord and He will help you. Walk straight in His ways and put your hope in Him. " Sir 2:1-6

Offline GiC

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There should be a distinction between a false positive and an inadequate investigation, at least.  I can agree to your proposition if the state is only liable for inadequate investigations.

If an investigation is carried out with complete objectivity (with they rarely if ever are) then I would agree that the state may not necessarily be liable for a false postitive, though some compensation to those wrongly convicted, comprable to what they could have likely made in the job force, should still be given for lost time as a matter of social justice. There are other, worse, ways in which we waste far more tax dollars.

Quote
I would even consider this (although I'm much more reluctant, in comparison to your first point), but eyewitness testimony should still be available as grounds for the procuring of search and discovery warrants, as well as for the questioning of other witnesses and suspects.

Oh, I certainly agree it should be admissible for gaining warrants, and I would say even admissible in a trial under certain conditions (more for describing conditions of a crime, especially in the sentencing phase, than identifying suspects), but as a general principle one should not be convicted on eyewitness testamony alone.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 04:47:24 PM by greekischristian »

Offline Psalti Boy

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Source:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/10/25/innocence.project/index.html

Interesting is the fact that DNA evidence exonerated 15 wrongly convicted individuals on the death row.
Also interesting is the fact that 55 % of the wrongly convicted individuals did not receive even financial compensation from the State who choose the jury that put them behind bars.


 

I was just curious . . . why did you have to point out that it was a "BLACK" man that was wrongly convicted?

PB