Posted: October 28, 2012 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , , , ,

wrongly convictedAre there innocent people in our prisons? Yes, there are. And there are a lot of guilty people, who do not hesitate to tell you that they are guilty.

But an innocent man doing time for a crime he didn’t commit – that bothers me. Here in British Columbia, Canada, there is a man in prison for murder who has served nine years of a life sentence, while always maintaining his innocence. Two DNA experts have analyzed blood from the crime scene and have excluded this man. Videotape from an area camera confirmed that the man was an hour’s drive away when the crime was committed.

How can this happen in our society? The man has appealed his conviction to the different levels of courts and the same verdict comes back, guilty.

Impossible, you say. Our justice system works. But sometimes it doesn’t, as several famous cases have shown.

Affirming that you are innocent is a hard thing to do in prison. Prison officials like a man who humbly admits his guilt and willingly takes all the programs the officials line up for him. But if a man says, “I didn’t do it,” how can the instructors claim success?

When a crime is committed, society puts pressure on the police. “Solve this problem. We don’t want any killers running free in our city.” Most times the police and the prosecutors are fair, but sometimes they give in to pressure and send an innocent man to prison. It’s happened before.

Another problem is that the legal profession is a network of judges and lawyers. No one likes to overturn the work of a colleague. As the saying goes, it’s a good old boy network. Does that mean that a man must suffer imprisonment so as not to disturb the network?justice

What can the average person do? Certainly I can’t sit back and say, “Oh, well. That’s life.” But what can I do? I don’t know. Do you?

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  1. Morrighan says:

    what you wrote is very true…especially the part about them not wanting to admit that one or all of them screwed up. the thing that has always bothered me is that the ones that are responsible for this type of mistake would rather let a man die in the prisons than just say “hey..we were wrong” they probably think like one of my felony judges did on my very first case, she said quote un qoute “ms.xx while this is your first case,i’m quite sure this isn’t the first time you broke the law” so she slammed me. so yeah, i got no respect for the judicial ‘players’. great post as usual.
    as for what can be done? that is a great question..maybe do a better job of holding the ones responsible up to the light instead of letting them continue to do these things.

  2. Joanne says:

    Now there’s a topic! And a very difficult one at that. Within the ranks of our prison system, the old cynicism affects people’s attitudes greatly. There are many people in prison who declare themselves innocent. Only a few of them are truly innocent. This makes it even tougher on the ones that are. But we clearly have a broken system when innocent people are not only going to prison as punishment but also for punishment due to the changes that have come about with our current government. I too do not see an easy solution.

    Many who are against capital punishment say this is the main reason they oppose it. But failing to execute an innocent person does not give him back his life when he has spent a majority of it in prison having been falsely convicted. This is simply not acceptable collateral damage.

  3. Catana says:

    The same thing happens in the US. There are people in prison who have been proven not to have commited the crime, but the system is rigged to keep them behind bars. What’s needed in both countries is more advocacy projects, staffed by experts on evidence, but mainly by lawyers who will take on these prisoners as clients and fight for them, up to the highest courts, if necessary. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen.

  4. AIna Baron says:

    I know the man you are writing about and it makes my heart bleed for him. He is not a criminal in any sense of the word and just because he is a good person was too naive to recognize the evil in his midst. This is a case which is baffling since the defense never did ask for his DNA profile in court. None was found at the crime scene at the crime scene or on the knife sheath. The cops should be ashamed.

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