Friday, July 12, 2013

More thoughts on wrongful convictions

Almost every day, after hearing what I do for a living, someone will say, "Well, all prisoners claim to be innocent."

Not true.

The truth is that most prisoners know those who are innocent. When I worked to free Maurice Carter, some admitted that they belonged in prison, but they thanked me for helping Maurice because they knew he was innocent.

I just received a letter this morning from a guy who claims wrongful conviction, and it sets my mind to thinking about situations like that again. Do you ever wonder what it would be like, what your state of mind would be like, if you found yourself behind bars for something you didn't do? I'm not sure I could stand it. I know that I could not have remained the gentleman that Maurice Carter was.

When my friend Kenny Wyniemko was in prison, wrongly convicted, his father died. He was unable to attend the funeral, and it broke his heart.

In the letter received this morning, Leo tells me that his two grandmothers died. Oh, and his dad died of a heart attack, also. Oh, and he lost track of his two kids, also. Oh, he has now lost his home and his vehicles.

It's not pretty, ladies and gentlemen, and if his claims of wrongful conviction are true (some very knowledgeable about the case support his claims), then we have another crime here. It's a crime that he's in prison. It's a crime that he has been robbed of these years of freedom. It's a crime that he couldn't be there when loved ones passed away. It's a crime that he wasn't able to keep his family together.

Sorry, don't mean to be ranting and raving, but this is serious stuff.

Put yourself in that position.

Pray for the wrongly convicted. And those close to them.

As Rubin Hurricane Carter told me, "If someone claims innocence all the time he is in prison, you'd better listen to him!"

1 comment:

marshall said...

It was a travesty that Mr. Carter was wrongly imprisoned, but the reason it was such an amazing story was that it was relatively rare. Is the justice system perfect? Of course not. But having a jury of our peers decide our fate is a better system than any other.
Fortunately, with advances in DNA examination and other investigative techniques, more of the unfortunate mistakes have a chance of being corrected.