J.A.I.L. News Journal ____________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California February 6, 2002
Message 1 of 1
, Feb 6, 2002
News Journal ____________________________________________________ Los
February 6, 2002
Convictions Rather Than
(Paul Craig Roberts, research
fellow at The Independent Institute)
THE LIGHTHOUSE "Enlightening Ideas for Public
Policy..." Vol. 4, Issue 1 January 7, 2002 http://www.independent.org -------------------------------------------------------------
OF INJUSTICE IMPLICATES LEGAL SYSTEM
If the U.S. criminal
justice system could make New Year's resolutions, it should make just one:
to make justice its highest priority. Unfortunately, according to Paul Craig
Roberts, research fellow at The Independent Institute, not only does the
justice system too often prematurely release the guilty, it also imprisons
the innocent, as DNA analysis is beginning to uncover.
"Justice is no
longer a concern of the justice system," Roberts wrote recently in his
syndicated column. "Careers depend on conviction rates. It is easier for
police and prosecutors to get convictions by piling charges on a convenient
suspect until they coerce a plea than to solve a case and find the
Even some forensic experts are now under investigation for foul
play, resulting in gross miscarriages of justice and quite possibly the
execution of innocents.
"One, Joyce Gilchrist, a 21-year veteran of
the Oklahoma City police forensic lab, is under investigation by Oklahoma
authorities, the FBI and a federal grand jury. Of her cases, 112 have been
set aside for scrutiny, with 500 more to be reopened. In nine of 10
Gilchrist cases being examined by the federal grand jury, the defendants
have already been executed."
In another case, an Arlington, Va.,
deputy clerk of the county circuit court "destroyed the DNA evidence and
alleged murder weapon in a death penalty case under appeal." It should be a
simple matter for police or forensic labs to store evidence that can be
reexamined by more sophisticated techniques that are later developed, but why
they, when there is no incentive to?
"Yes, there are some honest police,
prosecutors and judges. But the pressures they are under to match the
conviction rates of the corrupt and to clear court dockets will eventually
leave our justice system entirely in the hands of a heartless breed that
never suffers the pangs of a bad conscience," Roberts
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