Wrongful Convictions

With the number of headlines about “wrongful convictions” sprouting up in the newspaper, you would think that police and prosecutors are conspiring to put anyone and everyone behind bars. Don’t believe it.

As a former prosecutor, I can say – with some authority – that I never prosecuted anyone I thought was “innocent” (or for whom the proofs were not established).  Never.  They were all guilty.  Everyone knew that.  Even defense attorneys.  On one occasion where there were doubts, my partner and I asked that the case be dropped.  And it was. Where there were mitigating circumstances, we had authority to reduce the charge.   The police for the most part were solid – upright – honorable men and women – whose job it was to put criminals where they belonged.   My colleagues — the prosecutors — were the same.  We read of some schools with projects designed to investigate those convicted – and “spring” them out of prison on the theory that they are “innocent.”  I am very suspect of motives. I tend to believe these projects are run by people with little motivation other than money and publicity. 

And remember — after a trial where one has been found “not guilty” that does not mean they are “innocent.”  It just means that a judge or jury did not accept the proofs presented for a conviction.