Sunday, August 21, 2011

How not to fix a wrongful prosecution

On Friday the news broke that the "infamous" Memphis 3 -- Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were freed

Freed, but not cleared. 

The trio, convicted nearly 20 years ago for the brutal rape and murder of three cub scouts in Arkansas, have spent half their lives imprisoned despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence. So why were they freed but not cleared? If you don't know the answer to that question, you haven't been paying attention to the horror that is the modern American "justice" system.
[A] 1996 HBO documentary titled "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" drew the attention of celebrities including Vedder and Maines. Joined by other stars, they helped fund a legal team that sought a new trial.

Last fall, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for the three, asking a judge to consider allegations of juror misconduct and whether new DNA science could aid the men or uphold the convictions. Then, suddenly, there was the plea deal.

It involved an unusual legal maneuver that allowed the men to maintain their claims of innocence. But with murder convictions still on their records, supporters say they've got to find whoever's responsible for the boys' deaths to clear the men's names.
Just to clarify that last paragraph (the AP must have an affirmative action program that requires them to hire the mentally challenged as reporters). The three were forced to make an Alford plea, "admitting" guilt as "overwhelming evidence", before the execrable Arkansas "legal" system would free them. Actually, as bad as that sounds, it's worse than that. One defendant was told to take the Alford plea or his friend wouldn't be freed from Death Row!

These are not the actions of a justice system. These are the actions of predatory prosecutors who are only interested in keeping their won-lost record intact, the innocence of those prosecuted be damned. This was about prosecutors covering their ass rather than administrating justice.

This is, to put it bluntly, a complete miscarriage of justice.

Either give the three fair trails in which to prove their innocence, or pardon them, or exonerate them. But don't pull this obscene abortion aimed at deflecting attention away from criminal prosecutors (take that naming either way you choose) who are utterly disinterested in justice and only interested in winning.