Tuesday, May 19, 2009

They found a problem … but don't want to fix it.

We’ve all read numerous stories over the past 8-10 years about DNA tests that have proven the innocence of people previously – and mistakenly – convicted of crimes. Some of these people had spend many years in jail for crimes they did not commit. It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for them.

And now, in a recent story in the New York Times, we learn that in many of those cases, the prosecutors tried to prevent the DNA tests from being administered. Quoting from the story …

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.

Putting it another way, prosecutors who got the wrong guy 44 percent of the time, objected to a test that will make sure innocent people don’t go to jail.

What kind of justice is that?

And – here’s a thought – what about places like execution-happy Texas where some 400 inmates are sitting on Death Row?


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