2011 October 17 Monday
DNA Exonerates Imprisoned Man For Wife's Murder
25 years in prison after someone else took his wife from him via murder.
GEORGETOWN, Texas — A Texas grocery store employee who spent nearly 25 years in prison in his wife’s beating death walked free Tuesday after DNA tests showed another man was responsible. His attorneys say prosecutors and investigators kept evidence from the defense that would have helped acquit him at trial.
One of the less noted problems with high crime is that the higher the crime rate the more innocent people are jailed by mistake. You are less at risk of being unjustly imprisoned if you live in the lowest crime neighborhood you can find.
It also helps to live a highly visible life where lots of people know where you are for long periods. If you at the office for 12 hours with lots of witnesses you can't be charged with murder or rape that happens somewhere else during that time.
I'd love to see IQ tests done on prosecutors who imprisoned innocents and also on other prosecutors. Are the ones wrongly putting people in jail dumber? What could be done to lower the false conviction rate? IQ tests for jurors?
IQ tests could do the society a great deal of good if only they were not taboo.
By Randall Parker at 2011 October 17 09:11 PM
Best bet is to have the prosecutors have some skin in the game. If a prosecutor sends someone innocent to jail he should be sent to jail for the same amount of time. This will force prosecutor's to be very sure of their evidence before they go forward. With great power should come great punishment when you screw up.
what's the chance that the original perpetrator is black (see: "along with that of a convicted felon whose name has not been released")?
this looks like the classic black crime who could be blamed in a white person (see: Amanda Knox) with an acceptable amount of creativity on the part of the prosecutor: "Prosecutors had claimed Morton killed his wife in a fit of rage after she wouldn’t have sex with him following a dinner celebrating his 32nd birthday".
The 80s were certainly a dangerous decade. Leftists had already marched well into the institutions while DNA was unavailable.
This reminds me of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax, in which three white athletes were falsely accused of raping a black stripper (now in jail facing murder charges). The Durham DA, Mike Nifong, failed to follow proper procedures and withheld and suppressed exculpatory DNA evidence. When the truth ultimately came out, Nifong was fired, disbarred and went to jail himself. According to this report, the Texas DA may have acted in a similar fashion. am generally sympathetic to prosecutors - they have a tough job protecting us from the worst elements of society. But when they break the law or fail to follow proper procedures themselves, they should not expect to get off scott free.
I don't have the statistics but it seems that in many cases the prosecutors are not sufficiently punished when they cause wrong convictions. In fact, I don't want to wrongly convict the prosecutors by saying that they perhaps feel the need to fill a certain quota of convictions, but the system should be reformed by introducing more checks and balances.
Anyone who trusts the U.S. Justice system, should google the string:
"'Paul Craig Roberts' OR 'Harvey Silverglate' prosecutors" for numerous instances of court misconduct.
The system is incentivized to convict suspects, guilty or not.
Two questions. First, was the guy on death row? And second, if he was, would Governor Perry have lost any sleep had he wrongly executed the guy?
>"Two questions. First, was the guy on death row?"
>"And second, if he was, would Governor Perry have lost any sleep had he wrongly executed the guy?"
That's a dumb question, since it assumes that the problem is with the death penalty when actually the problem is that people get wrongly convicted. Getting wrongly convicted and being executed is not a worse miscarriage of justice than getting wrongfully convicted and spending the rest of your life in jail.
"That's a dumb question, since it assumes that the problem is with the death penalty when actually the problem is that people get wrongly convicted. Getting wrongly convicted and being executed is not a worse miscarriage of justice than getting wrongfully convicted and spending the rest of your life in jail."
This ignores the fact that if you are sentenced to life without parole, you can be found innocent and exonerated. If you are dead, the DNA evidence can't free you. Kushibo's question was perfectly reasonable.
How many of those freed on DNA evidence had criminal records prior to their false convictions? I'd wager you're pretty safe from a false conviction if you've kept your nose clean, which is sort of the flipside to the reality that a high proportion of those who are murdered were often pretty unsavory people themselves.
>"This ignores the fact that if you are sentenced to life without parole, you can be found innocent and exonerated."
Hooray! After twenty-five years in jail you can be found innocent and exonerated! Is this a great country or what?
You know, you can be executed and later found innocent and exonerated. I simply don't understand this attitude of "Big deal, he was found guilty and served decades in jail for a crime he did not commit - but its all good because he was not executed".
People with your mentality are why people like Michael Morton exist.
>"If you are dead, the DNA evidence can't free you."
If you've spent the best one-third of your life behind bars, the DNA evidence can never give that back to you. This is why the death penalty should be mandatory in murder cases - because it forces dumb juries to take their job seriously. As it stands too many people take the attitude of "Let's send him to jail - he's probably guilty and if he's not, he'll get out eventually. But we don't want to have to make any tough choices".
For you and people like you what's important is not justice, it's feeling good about yourself.
Solaris, An imperfect criminal justice system is the price we pay for having any criminal justice system at all. Me personally, I prefer returning to the time of "family honor" and clan feuds and 1/3rd of all humans dying violently.
The truth is that we've done a very good job at reducing violence over the centuries, and that wrongful convictions appear to be an extremely slight portion of all convictions.