Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Insist on justice: Innocence Projects

Can you imagine being wrongly accused of a crime? And then convicted? And then sentenced to death? Unfortunately many people in the United States have lived (and died) just that scenario. Some, including the state of Illinois, argue that the number of innocent people sentenced to death (a punishment that is not reversible) is reason enough to outlaw the death penalty. I agree. But even if you don't, you may still prefer that your tax dollars not be used to incarcerate and kill innocent people.

With the advent of new scientific testing methods, particularly forensic DNA testing, many cases are being reevaluated. Innocent people are being discovered in prisons in every state. Here's how you can help free them:

* Get more information on the death penalty and innocence.

* Learn about and support the innocence projects in your state.

* Spread the word. Click the envelope below to e-mail this post to a friend, or compose your own letter.

Thanks to Jenrae for mentioning the Georgia Innocence Project in a comment which inspired this post.

Don't make the innocent pay for the sins of the guilty. Insist on justice. 152 innocent people have been freed so far. Who will be next? How will you help?


Karama said...

Another reason I think the death penalty should be outlawed (and the justice system revamped) is that it is unequally applied based on the race and class of the victim. People who kill rich white folks are more likely to get the death penalty that people who kill poor folks of color. This violates the formal principle of justice and suggests the incorrect notion that wealthy white people are more valuable, their loss more trying, than poor people of color and their loss. Until that disparity is corrected, I cannot fully support our current system of criminal justice.

Leftcoastman said...

Thanks for letting us know about Innocence Projects in each state. Your site led me to the link that I will add in my next post at my post at WeAreGrowing.

God Bless You.

Karama said...

Leftcoastman: I'm so glad you found this useful. Thanks for posting about the innocence projects. They are very important. Thanks also for stopping by. Please visit again soon and spread the word.

Peace and blessings to you and yours.

All: Check out this site as well: They started it all.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Just wanted to throw a few bits of information out...

First, death penalty information:

Second, while this is not exactly capital punishment, you can't discuss capital punishment and not understand criminal justice:
Georgia is developing their public defender office into a statewide defender system.

Karama said...

Thanks for these links, Anonymous. I especially appreciate the death penalty links. Please stop by again soon, and spread the word!

Karama said...

For more on Clarence Harrison who was recently freed as a result of work by the Georgia Innocence project, read this AJC article. Free registration may be required to view it.

Karama said...

Click here for some recent changes in the death penalty.

Karama said...

And check out this article titled "Genetic Justice" in the New England Journal of Medicine.

marissa said...

Your blog is great! It's hard to find blogs with good content and people talking about dna testing these days! I have a secret dna testing blog if you want to come check it out

Karama said...

Here's yet another reason to support innocence projects and work for justice:

DNA absolves inmate of 1981 rape
Release in works; lawyers say another convicted felon implicated

Bill Rankin, Don Plummer - Staff
Thursday, December 8, 2005
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Robert Clark always said he was innocent of the rape that has kept him behind bars for nearly a quarter of a century. Now DNA evidence has proved him right and revealed that the real culprit is a man who went on to commit further crimes, Clark's lawyers said Wednesday.

During his time in prison, Clark's two children have grown into adulthood and his mother has passed away. Today a Cobb County judge is expected to set him free.

Clark, 45, was convicted in 1982 of a brutal attack on a 29-year-old woman the year before. The woman was abducted outside an East Atlanta fast food restaurant and then taken to Cobb County and raped repeatedly.

During a three-day trial, the victim identified Clark, saying "I will never forget the face, the skin color and his voice." Clark, who maintained that a friend of his was the likely perpetrator, was sentenced to two life terms plus 20 years in prison for rape, kidnapping and armed robbery.

Recent DNA tests, which were unavailable at the time of his trial, show Clark is innocent, a court motion filed Wednesday by Clark's lawyers said.

"Despite the fact that Robert was a head taller than the description, once the police locked in on him, it was all over," Peter Neufeld, one of Clark's lawyers from the New York-based Innocence Project, said in a statement. "Tunnel vision not only cost Robert a quarter-century of freedom, it enabled a serial rapist to assault at least three more victims.""

Karama said...

Score another one for the Georgia Innocence Progject:

From today's AJC: "After almost 22 years falsely imprisoned, Willie O. Williams became a free man Tuesday night with a few simple pleasures in mind: a steak and potato dinner and a hot bath. . . . It had only been five days since the Georgia Innocence Project discovered his DNA did not match a swab taken from the women he was convicted of raping in 1985. On Monday Fulton County DA Paul Howard announced he would free Williams, now 44."

Great work!!

Karama said...

The Sunday (11/25/07) New York Times has a nice article on life for the 206 people who have been exonerated by DNA evidence. All the more reason to support Innocence Projects.