Convictions Rather Than Justice
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California February 6, 2002Convictions Rather Than Justice(Paul Craig Roberts, research fellow at The Independent Institute)THE LIGHTHOUSE
"Enlightening Ideas for Public Policy..."
Vol. 4, Issue 1
January 7, 2002
EVIDENCE 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 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.
Copyright © 2002 The Independent Institute
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