Thursday, May 24, 2012

Are wrongful convictions real?

You bet they are!

A recent joint announcement from Northwestern University's Law School and the University of Michigan revealing a new and complete list of all persons who have been exonerated once again focused our attention on wrongful convictions. Here in the HFP office, it's in our face every day.

I can give you the names of three prisoners who, right now, are sitting in their cells asking the question, "How can this be? I'm innocent, but I'm sitting in prison!"

One of these inmates has just learned that his last legal recourse has been exhausted. There's nothing else to try. All doors have closed. So jump in my shoes for a minute. What do you tell this guy? "Just trust in the Lord, because he has other plans for you?" He's a man of faith, but don't think for a minute that he doesn't have questions.

One of these inmates just learned that the innocence project that claimed to be working on his case has dropped it. He's indigent, has no family, and now has no help. What do we tell this guy?

And one of these inmates is learning that he may not have the necessary evidence left in his files to prove his innocence. Attorneys are saying if something can be found, perhaps something can be done. If not, he may be stuck behind bars.

Just imagine the feelings of helplessness that must overwhelm these three individuals. They are not just statistics. They have names, they are relatively young and could have a life ahead of them, they have feelings and emotions and hopes and dreams. But the hopes and dreams are fading.

In short, the system isn't perfect.

In conclusion, here's a specific prayer request: please remember those behind bars who have been wrongly convicted. All of these stories will not have happy endings.

No comments: