It certainly can’t be that there are more people being exonerated — so late in our social development as humans — of crimes they did not commit, right?
Is it possible that the new media’s reporting of things like this is disproportionate of the reality? It’s hard to say. We can easily side with the possibility that it’s revealing about what is wrong with the criminal justice system.
Just recently the Associated Press/MSN news reports that Susan Mellen was exonerated after being imprisoned for seventeen years for a crime she did not commit.
Pretty moving stuff. Especially when the judge says: “I believe that not only is Ms. Mellen not guilty, based on what I have read I believe she is innocent.”
It doesn’t take a lawyer to break that sentence down and see that by just saying she is not guilty, is not enough. He has to add that he believes she is innocent.
What kind of judge does it take to add the following: “For that reason I believe in this case the justice system failed.”
Is he humbled by this outcome? Because, there are some kind judges out there, which many would argue are weak on crime. You know, those people that obstruct due process.
Freedom Is Free Until Someone Takes It From You
A few weeks ago, there was another report about two half-brothers Henry McCollum and Leon Brown who were freed after spending thirty one years in prison; wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit.
I think it’s pretty safe to say now that prior to the involvement of science in investigative forensic research, the likelihood that anyone with the law on their side was doing their best to find evidence is false. For every single person imprisoned during those days spending the rest of their lives in prison, have been put to death or waiting for it, those involved with the conviction have their own agendas.
Don’t kid yourself and think that any of these people on the side of the law can’t entirely disassociate themselves from general reason. For instance, in a very recent FRONTLINE piece called Death By Fire, those people interviewed who were involved with convicting Cameron Willingham (I’m not going to use the derogatory three name association, as the media generally likes to do with serial killers) to death for the killing of three children in a fire; there is no doubt in their mind that he was the evil person they made him out to be.
Footage of Rick Perry is also in the FRONTLINE special, showing the same kind of resilience he shows in this video by the Texas Tribune. But earlier in the same program, the context with which the events are portrayed where people described the “satanic” images on Willingham’s walls as “proof” of his sadistic nature is simply ignorance of popular culture. Shows that some of the people in charge are certainly sheltered from the rest of society.
Of the two half-brothers previously mentioned, when asked about being freed, he said what’s commonly said in these cases: “I just thank God that I am out of this place.” What pisses me off about this though is when he says, “There’s not anger in my heart. I forgive those people and stuff. But I don’t like what they done to me and my brother because they took 30 years away from me for no reason. But I don’t hate them. I don’t hate them one bit.”
What this tells me is that he and his brother are not going to go after the justice system for taking three decades of their lives away. To add insult to near fatal injury is that when Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser overturned both of their convictions on Tuesday September 2nd, they still have to spend one more night in prison before being released.
These brothers are letting down American citizens by not retaliating and suing everyone involved with their imprisonment. No doubt those involved are retired and fat off their pensions or in a higher ranking position, while these guys are learning how to put on a seat-belt.
If I were running things, I might lock these guys up myself, along with Mellen for not standing up against a corrupt bureaucracy, that doesn’t pay the price or even apologize for the lives it’s ruined, is ruining and will continue to ruin in the future.
Deutsch, Linda. “Woman Exonerated in Murder Case after 17 Years.” MSN. MSN, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2014. <http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/woman-exonerated-in-murder-case-after-17-years/ar-BB8zHyD>.
“Exonerated North Carolina Men Freed from Prison.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 3 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/exonerated-north-carolina-men-freed-from-prison/>.