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Convictions Rather Than Justice

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  • jail4judges
    J.A.I.L. News Journal ____________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California February 6, 2002
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2002
      J.A.I.L. News Journal
      Los Angeles, California                                      February 6, 2002 
      Convictions Rather Than Justice
      (Paul Craig Roberts, research fellow at The Independent Institute)
      "Enlightening Ideas for Public Policy..."
      Vol. 4, Issue 1
      January 7, 2002


      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 truth."

      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 concludes.

      ISSN 1526-173X
      Copyright © 2002 The Independent Institute
      100 Swan Way
      Oakland, CA 94621-1428
      (510) 632-1366 phone
      (510) 568-6040 fax

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