(Until proven innocent…)
Gods but this really makes me very angry:
“In an age of advanced forensic science, the first step toward ending Kenneth Reed’s prolonged series of legal appeals should be simple and quick: a DNA test, for which he has offered to pay, on evidence from the 1991 rape of which he was convicted. Louisiana, where Mr. Reed is in prison, is one of 46 states that have passed laws to enable inmates like him to get such a test. But in many jurisdictions, prosecutors are using new arguments to get around the intent of those laws, particularly in cases with multiple defendants, when it is not clear how many DNA profiles will be found in a sample.
The laws were enacted after DNA evidence exonerated a first wave of prisoners in the early 1990s, when law enforcement authorities strongly resisted reopening old cases. Continued resistance by prosecutors is causing years of delay and, in some cases, eliminating the chance to try other suspects because the statute of limitations has passed by the time the test is granted. Mr. Reed has been seeking a DNA test for three years, saying it will prove his innocence. But prosecutors have refused, saying he was identified by witnesses, making his identification by DNA unnecessary.
A recent analysis of 225 DNA exonerations by Brandon L. Garrett, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, found that prosecutors opposed DNA testing in almost one out of five cases. In many of the others, they initially opposed testing but ultimately agreed to it. In 98 of those 225 cases, the DNA test identified the real culprit.”
The New York Times article gives more examples of prosecutors trying to circumvent or, if you want, sabotage the law. Some of these examples are truly disgusting. Like the one where a prosecutor claims that, since the original jury was “convinced of defendant’s guilt without DNA,” such a test wasn’t needed now.
It was even stated, without blushing, that the fact that 175 convicts were already exonerated by DNA was “statistically insignificant.”
Which is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard a law officer say.
Not so long ago, the prevailing thought was that it was better to let an X number of guilty go free than one innocent be imprisoned. That is no longer the case, it seems – but it is easy to see where and how things went so scandalously, so criminally wrong with the justice system.
I am no legal expert but it is not difficult to understand how a jury system, with both a defender and a prosecutor trying to convince this jury of the innocence or guilt of a defendant can’t help but become apersonally adversarial system, in which the egos of both defender and prosecutor become so inflated that the whole judicial process can become tainted beyond salvage.
In other words, for these two opposing parties winning becomes much more important than trying to find out whether the accused is actually guilty or not.
Prosecutors are by no means the only villains in this play. The law and the rules of law enforcement have become so complicated, so bizarrely Byzantine, that there are defenders who specialize in finding loopholes and even the tiniest procedural mistakes to get any defendant off, even if they privately believe their clients to be guilty, be it of tax evasion or mass murder.
However, the state is more powerful than any individual defendant, so the prosecutor should be most careful when he or she uses the full powers of that state against any individual. Playing ego games has, or should not have, any part in this.
It is also easy to see how the politicising of the criminal justice system has helped to corrupt it. When judges and prosecutors have to campaign to be elected or appointed, building up a healthy résumé becomes overly important. Again, winning cases becomes more rewarding than seeking justice.
So, it should not surprise us that so many prosecutors are trying to sabotage the law that enables the convicted to have these DNA tests.
This obstruction has nothing to do with justice. It simply serves to help these prosecutors keep their positive score sheets. Like certain sports players they don’t care all that much if they have to play the system, or outright cheat, to get these results.
To these ‘players’, their egos, public status and financial rewards are much more important than playing fair and being honourable. Winning has become all…
… and if that means locking up a thousand potentially innocent people rather than to stain their score sheet, lots of prosecutors are more than willing to have these people pay that price.
(Barry Bonds: Still not struck out for prosecution…)