Saturday, June 6, 2009

Yet Another Wrongful Conviction

Wendy McElroy writes of yet another wrongful conviction and later exoneration, this time in Ohio. The details are depressingly familiar: a crime is committed, the police zero in on a suspect, and then refuse to follow the trail to an obvious perpetrator. The prosecution pounds the square peg into the round hole and the jury -- yes, another American jury -- buys into the nonsense, since prosecutors always are right, even when they are not:

The Dayton Daily News reports, "(Private Investigator Martin) Yant can tick off a laundry list of other problems with the [Elkins] case: sloppy police work, haphazard investigation, authorities rushing to judgment, incomplete forensics.
Yant has written that he believes about 10,000 people in this country are wrongfully convicted each year. Of course, with all of the weapons that prosecutors are able to use, I suspect that even more people who are innocent are coerced into guilty pleas just because they don't have the resources to fight the state.

It is my belief that there are no excuses at all -- none -- for wrongful convictions. The forensic science is there to use, and everyone in the system is well aware of the real pitfalls in eyewitness indentifications. However, the problem is twofold. First, prosecutors rarely care. They are the products of law schools that preach winning at all costs, and since most of them either are elected or have political ambitions, being "tough on crime" is a requisite item on their resume, and being reflective and being thorough to make sure no errors are made simply is not "being tough."

Second, prosecutors can operate under cover of immunity. In most professions, people who make serious errors of judgment that result in real harm done to others are held accountable for their actions. Prosecutors, on the other hand, are protected by immunity.

Just as we saw reckless behavior on behalf of people on Wall Street who knew their backs were covered by the "Greenspan and Bernanke Put," prosecutors are covered by policies of immunity that protect them no matter how dishonest, illegal, and terrible their conduct. If one wishes to live a life of crime, I would tell that person to become a prosecutor, since the state always will seek to cover its own.

Michael Nifong never really had to pay for his crimes in the Duke Lacrosse Case. Even now, the system is bending backward to protect the police and Nifong for all of their lying, fabricating evidence, and criminal behavior. That is what "immunity" does: it enables those who "enforce the law" to break the law with impunity and pay no price for it.


Michael Morrison said...

Dear Mr. Anderson, thank you for your continuing efforts on behalf of freedom.
Until people realize that government is our enemy, freedom will continue to be endangered.
Actually, people do, at some level, realize that fact (look how nervous even the most law-abiding get when they see a police car), but try to deny it, try to sound sincere when they say "support our local police" or, worse, "I'm proud to pay taxes."
Being Irish and Scottish, I hate giving credit to any Englishman, but Lord Acton was right: Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

William Newmiller said...

Grassroots concern over the epidemic of wrongful convictions continues to grow. Activists in over a dozen states now plan events to continue to raise awareness. The national website is at

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anderson you are someone who hides behind a pen to distract other people front the fact that you must have a predator, coward, or both. You lie and distort facts. I truly pray for you that when you have to face God, you repent to avoid eternal damnation in the lake of fire. Can't figure out if your a molestor or just someone who hides behind a pen because of a vendetta you must have. You wouldn't know the truth if it bit you on the ass!