Criminal Justice

This Week in Innocence

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The Sun-Sentinel tells the remarkable story of Barney Brown, convicted at the age of 14, and who then served 38 years in prison for a robbery and rape he didn't commit.

Stopped by police in Palm Beach County, Brown and his friends were arrested and jailed in connection with a 1969 rape and robbery. He was brought to Miami-Dade County, tried in juvenile court and acquitted — the victim couldn't identify him despite numerous lineups and an appearance on the stand.

Somehow, he was put on trial again, despite the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. Brown didn't know the law and didn't know to ask why it was being ignored. This time he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. It would be 38 years before [Judge] Marin would recognize the injustice.

Emphasis mine. These cases just keep churning up new ways to inspire outrage. It's just stunning that after an acquittal in juvenile court the prosecutor merely moved on to try Brown for the same crimes as an adult. And no one noticed. You write about these stories enough, and you tend to get a bit jaded. This one is still jarring.

And it gets better: At the time of his conviction, Florida allowed the death penalty in certain rape cases. This was a black kid accused of robbing and raping a white woman. So push on. The prosecutor asked for a death sentence. The jury voted 7-5 to spare his life. It then took nearly 40 years for the criminal justice system to acknowledge what had happened.

More on Brown here.

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  1. My ovaries hurt.

  2. The article really is light on the facts surrounding the constitutional question.

    I’m just guessing that his trial in Juvenile court might have been a “status” offense. Juveniles can be incarcerated for non-criminal offenses based upon their minor status. The “actus reus” of a status offense can be ambiguous, and thus it might not have been clear to the court that the separate trials invovled the same acts?

    Otherwise, regardless of how unsophisticated he was, he would have had access to a public defender at the time, and the double jeopardy thing seems a no-brainer defense.

    1. Poor black kid.
      Florida.
      1969.

    2. From the second link:

      “This case,” Judge Marin ruled, “presents a clear example of a grievous constitutional double jeopardy violation[.] As a result of this clear constitutional maxim, Mr. Brown should have never been forced to defend himself against the same rape and robbery charges a second time. His life sentences for the 1970 adult court convictions should have never happened. His incarceration within Florida’s prison system for most of his adult life should not have taken place.”

      1. I actually searched Westlaw and found 8 opinions that seem to reference the same Barney Brown. Some are from his prior appeals, others are Habeas petitions, but none are the one from Judge Marin.

        It’s a shame that it would take 40 years to bring such an obvious defense.

        1. I actually searched Westlaw and found 8 opinions that seem to reference the same Barney Brown. Some are from his prior appeals, others are Habeas petitions, but none are the one from Judge Marin.

          Indeed, the Supreme Court ruled that juvenile trials constitute jeopardy in Breed v. Jones .

          It’s a shame that it would take 40 years to bring such an obvious defense.

          Indeed, esepcially since he could have gotten out as early as 1976 had an attorney used this argument.

    3. Non-criminal offenses?

      1. It’s the bane of juvenile court, but yes, minors can be incarcerated for being whipper-snappers who populate your lawn and play their loud music and twitter too much.

        see here: http://www.act4jj.org/media/fa…..eet_17.pdf

  3. Too jaded to even work in a “new professionalism” reference?

  4. I’m sure he was guilty of something.

    1. being a passenger in car while being black?

    2. Due to the ridiculous number of laws limiting our personal freedoms, we all break the law daily.

  5. In an opinion that probably every person who has ever thought about going to law school would wish they could write, Judge Marin ordered Barney’s conviction to “be vacated and the defendant discharged from all liability for the charged offense.”

    Yeah, I’d like to be able to write that opinion, but I’d also like to add: “And the prosecutor who prosecuted Brown after his acquittal in juvenile court is sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead.”

    1. “Followed in rapid succession by the judge who allowed it to proceed.”

      1. “Preceded group violation of his body by a Noah’s Ark-like collection of wild animals.”

        1. STEVE SMITH’S PEOPLE NOT LET ON NOAH’S ARK. STEVE SMITH’S PEOPLE HAD TO RAPE WHALES FOR 40 SEXY WHALE DAYS AND 40 SEXY WHALE NIGHTS. ALL IS WRITTEN IN SACRED BOOK OF STEVE SMITH’S PEOPLE: THE INA GOD-DUH DURR VEDAS.

  6. Where are the names of the prosecutor and judge in this case. Do these fuck-sticks get qualified immunity for this shit. Publish the names of these “honorable public servants” so the people of Florida can remove them and their get from the gene pool.

    1. That’s what i was looking for in the newspaper article and could not find. The perps should be named, even if they are probably already dead. There is probably a grave somewhere that can be pissed on.

      1. And/or offspring that can be punished for the crimes of the fathers unto the 7th generation. It’s time to get biblical on these motherfuckers.

          1. Not vengeance, JUSTICE!!

  7. We’ve got two cases of “actual innocence” going on right now in VA. I don’t recall all the perticklers right now, but they’ve been reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch within the past couple weeks. Some of the crimes these guys were accused of were pretty horrible, too. They’ve finally gotten DNA testing done, and in at least one of the cases, the prosecutor, police investigators and even the victim are saying let the guy out, because they’re now sure he didn’t do it. After he’s spent something like 28 years in prison, and consistently maintained his innocence the whole time.

    1. here’s one of them.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ailarticle

  8. Mistake were made.

    1. God Damn it! “Mistakes” not “Mistake”. Has anyone in “public service” ever taken responsibility for their “mistakes”?

    2. Gotta love the irony.

  9. I am curious as to how they managed to get the conviction the second time, since the first jury acquitted.

    Did the prosecutor “talk” to some of the witnesses? Or was there a “jailhouse informant” who came forward for the second trial?

    1. The first jury was exiled to the Bahamas.

      1. Bahamas or Baffin Island?

    2. i wonder what the Reason Approved Opinion ™ is on second trials for the same act (not technically the same charges of course) such as used against cops e.g. the Rodney King trial. acquitted in state court, then prosecuted and convicted in federal court.

      frankly, i think they were guilty as fuck, but it’s ridiculous that double jeopardy is somehow not double jeopardy merely because you have different sovereigns (state v. federal) trying people for the same acts.

      1. I’ve wondered this for a long time as well.

        1. the theory behind double jeopardy is that no person should be twice put in jeopardy for the same crime. once jeopardy attaches, the state gets one bite at the apple. (cue discussion of mistrials and why a retrial doesn’t invoke double jeopardy protections)

          it does seem a fundamental injustice that in these limited cases (mostly cops etc.) that they can and are tried twice for the exact same ACT, just under different penal statutes by different “sovereigns”.

          the ironic thing is that several of the cops were obviously guilty of the charges under state law. the federal charges, frankly, were not proved. they got convicted of what they didn’t do, and acquitted of what they did do.

          regardless, once the state trial was over, that should have been the end (from the criminal side – lawsuit still ok since no jeopardy attaches in a civil trial)

      2. Oh go fuck your mother’s asshole you stupid cunt.

      3. Dear Officer Dunphy, you’re very upset
        Cops don’t get the respect here you think they should get
        We ain’t no Democrats
        We ain’t no Repubs
        We’re liberty-loving schlubs

        1. apparently, you are a pretend mind reader with no reading comprehension skills. what gives you the idea i am “upset” about it?

          I am neither a dem nor a repub either, considering i am pro drug legalization, and pro liberty. we call ourselves libertarians.

          i AM glad that overall cops get immense respect in our society, and consistently poll amongst the top rated professions in terms of respect.

          that’s however, completely tangential to the issue i brought up.

          those of us who believe in rule of law, believe in it, even when we think the suspects are guilty as fuck. iow, they deserve protection against double jeopardy as well.

          rule of law is the issue. it matters.

          dear tonio, hth

          1. i AM glad that overall cops get immense respect in our society

            How self serving of you. And guess what? It’s not respect, you tool. It’s fear. Still glad?

            1. no, it’s respect. check the polling data.

              i can provide some if yer skillz are lacking

              1. Yes, because polls are so truthful. Trust me, it isn’t respect outside of authoritarian conservatives. It’s hate and fear.

                1. ah, the cognitive dissonance is thick with you, isn’t it. yes, in anonymous polls, people are fearing the secret police will retaliate against them if they don’t give police a high rating.

                  it’s nice to know that (alleged ) libertarians can act like creationists when their petty prejudices are confronted with facts.

                  i don’t argue with faith based creationists. when you are ready to accept data over prejudice, let me know

                  hth

                  1. Sure, copper. We are the ones with the cognitive dissonance problem. No one fears and hates the police. Certainly not inner city dwellers, minorities, civil libertarians, or anyone else who has had to deal with them before.

                    No, it’s just love across the board.

                    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                    1. what is that, the royal “we”

                      i was referring to you.

                      the polling data is extensive and indisputable. i could bring up a metric assload of anecdotes that supports the polling data, but that would be … anecdotes.

                      if you ignore evidence, convincing evidence, that conflicts with your prejudices, you are no different from a creationist.

                      your argument is thus based on faith and prejudice, not facts. the facts are darn clear.

                      the reality is this – cops are amongst the most respected professions in american society.

                      you can argue WHY this is a bad thing (the public are misinformed bla bla) but you can only argue it is NOT the case if you can present actual evidence to counter the voluminous evidence that it is so

                      which you don’t

                      hth

                    2. “the polling data is extensive and indisputable. i could bring up a metric assload of anecdotes that supports the polling data, but that would be … anecdotes.

                      Then just link to the polls, asscunt.

                    3. ok

                      references the harris interactive poll
                      http://economy.ocregister.com/…..ica/15007/
                      (police rank near middle in prestige)
                      http://msn.careerbuilder.com/A…..cbmsn41178

                    4. Srsly, aren’t polls likely to be skewed in cases where there’s a publicly accepted “right answer”?

                    5. considering there has been significant movement in these polls over the year, and that the results are robust across multiple polls, etc. i would say no.

                      the reality is that most in the US respect police, and that our profession is ranked well amongst others (firefighters usually at or near top).

                      this matches my anecdotal experience.

                      when there’s this much data, it just sounds like so much cognitive dissonance when people refuse to accept polls because it disagrees with THEIR beliefs.

                      reminds me of pauline kael’s infamous reaction to nixon winning the presidency.

                    6. I notice that pastor/minister tends to be pretty far up on that list. Still, plenty of people avoid them when possible. By analogy, I’m not sure it’s valid to conclude that, since a poll gives a high degree of nominal respect to LEOs, that that excludes many or even most people from fearing or disliking them.

                      I’m sure you do get more respect from the average citizen than you do from this board, especially the frothier specimens, but I think those polls underrepresent a real ambivalence and fear that the average Joe has toward cops. My personal experience and anecdote, of course, but I don’t think it can all be written off as observer bias.

                    7. I think the commenters’ responses to you is reflective of the cognitive dissonance and mixed feelings that Americans have vis a vis LEOs. In my experience, (and my BF is a cop) is that Americans’ attitudes towards cops is exactly the opposite of a racist’s attitude towards blacks. He’ll say that he hates all black people, except his co-worker, “Jackson–he’s alright. Oh yeah, and a customer of his, “Wayne, he’s okay too.” On the other hand, cops, in the abstract, are heros who protect and serve– the citizens love -em, except when they actually have to deal with them. Then they avert their eyes and avoid and fear them. My BF says that when he’s in uniform (which is not that often because he’s plain clothes) people will avert their eyes and avoid him Also, no one ever recognizes him in plain clothes if they have seen him in uniform, because all they see is the uniform. I think that in general, people like the idea of cops who protect them; the idea that they are there if they need them (or think they are there) but are actually very, very uncomfortable around them.

                    8. My experience is probably the opposite. I’ve definitely had run-ins with police, but not where it wasn’t warranted, and not where their behavior was unprofessional.

                      At the same time, I can’t deny the evidence that there are a lot of bad cops out there, and a lot of cops worried about evidence showing that they’re bad cops. I just assume that different areas have different police culture, and that I would much more leery of them in Seattle, Chicago, or PGC. I suppose it’s a positive if that’s the case, since it suggests that a complete across the board firing might help to mitigate some of the problems in a really bad system.

                    9. Dunphrey

                      Here is a real easy polling question to see how loved your precious boys in blue.

                      On your way home from work, you are followed by a police officer – are you glad he’s there – do you feel safe?

                      I’d bet the majority says no. Then sub in ambulance, garbage truck, etc to see the difference

                      The polls you speak of – people respond as they believe they should.

                    10. nice strawmen btw. i never said NOBODY fears and hate the police. clearly, LOTs of people do

                      i never denied that.

                      you can;’t even respond to the facts presented, you have to create strawmen.

                      pretty sad.

          2. Dunphy, you humorless git: my post was a parody of the song “Dear Officer Krupke” from “West Side Story”. No deep meaning, just a jab at your ongoing pomposity. Your touchiness at a bit of harmless parody is very telling. Overreact much?

            1. fair enuf. as a fan of west side story, i should have picked that up.

              whoooooooosh.

              1. “as a fan of west side story”

                Given that the cops in that musical treat the kids like shit, I am not at all surprised.

                1. troll-o-meter: .0115

                  1. Thanks to Mothers Against The Trolling, that’s over the legal limit in most states!

          3. I am neither a dem nor a repub either, considering i am pro drug legalization mendacity.

            Thus sayeth the asscunt.

            1. troll-o-meter reading: .02

              1. I am not a troll; you are a lying asshole. To assert, as you did a few weeks back, that you have never seen a police officer break the law, brands you a pervericator of the highest order. That can not be pointed out enough

                – Pip

                1. you are a troll. when you are ready to discuss issues vs. trolling, lemme know.

                  hth

                  1. Calling a rose dogshit doen’t make it so. I have no interest in debating a bald-faced liar.

                    1. waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

                    2. the whinging is strong with you

                    3. My you choke on your own vomit. Lord knows there’s enough of it.

                    4. you are so frothing with childish indignation, you can’t even type correctly.

                      apparently, you are a frothy troll.

      4. I think they should have been convicted in state court, but I think retrying them in federal court for what were basically the same acts was a violation of the Double Jeopardy clause.

        I do think we need federal criminal civil rights statutes to deal with situations where local authorities won’t prosecute bad cops or other public officials.

        But that obviously isn’t what happened in L.A.

        1. thank you. we have the exact same opinion. like i said, i think they were guilty of the state charges, but the jury – as the finder of fact – disagreed. and that’s how our system works.

          i thought OJ was guilty, too. but the jury acquitted him. so be it.

          we DO have federal criminal rights statutes of course that adddress the scenario you mention, it’s just that we agree that it should be one criminal trial or the other. not both.

          and of course, you can’t ignore that there was immense pressure on the 2nd jury to convict lest there be more riots.

          1. “”thank you. we have the exact same opinion. “”

            I agree with you and Radley about the double jepordy, but I’m wondering who the “we” is. Many cops thought Mr. King got what he deserved for his actions prior to the beating. Certainly the cops doing the beating felt justified for what they did at the time. Largely, cops protect their own even when the acts are unspeakable, such as louima’s assualt by the NYPD.

            Just sayin.

  10. The job of a prosecutor is to get convictions. It doesn’t matter if the person did it or not, as long as someone is convicted. If the prosecutor focused on convicting people who are actually guilty, then the rates would drop so dramatically that they’d be looking for a new job.

    It’s a perverse incentive. Lots of convictions look good, so putting innocents behind bars looks even better.

    The ideal scenario would be to do away with the court system entirely. That way for every reported crime someone would be guaranteed to pay.

    1. The ideal scenario would be to do away with the court system entirely.

      The “Universal Imprisonment” solution? I’m sure the prison guard’s union would be glad to lobby for that.

      1. I mean that the prosecutor wouldn’t have to worry that the accused might be able to afford to defend themselves (obviously this kid was found guilty by reason of not being able to afford a lawyer).
        Just skip that whole defense thing and get right to the sentencing.

        100% conviction rate!
        Every crime is solved!

        Justice is served!

      2. The “Universal Imprisonment” solution? I’m sure the prison guard’s union would be glad to lobby for that.

        How about this?

        People caught in the act should be summarily executed.

        If they manage to get away, too fucking bad.

        1. Mayor: I don’t want any more trouble like you had last year in the Fillmore District. Understand? That’s my policy.
          Callahan: Yeah, well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard; that’s my policy.
          Mayor: Intent? How did you establish that?
          Callahan: When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross.
          Mayor: [after Callahan has left] I think he’s got a point.

          ——————————————————————————–

    2. not true, and i know a lot of prosecutors. it’s part of their canon, etc.

      a prosecutor’s job is –WHEN THEY BELIEVE THEY CAN present a case that establishes evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt — to present a case and get a conviction.

      we often get declines and rightly so on cases we forward to prosecutors (after arrest etc.) because the case does not establish a case of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

      their job is NOT to try to get a conviction when they don’t believe guilt has been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

      it’s an ethical thang.

      i am not saying all prosecutors are ethical or follow this canon

      here’s what california says about the role…
      “A prosecutor must always strive to discover the truth while carrying out all official duties”

      note this is very different from the role of defense attorney, obviously. a prosecutor MUST turn over exculpatory evidence. a defense attorney has no obligation to turn over incriminatory evidence discovered during an investigation, and as any good defense attorney will tell you – when he knows his client is guilty as hell and.or appears so, he is free to try to obfuscate truth, within the bounds of the rules. this is the reason why the chewbacca defense was invented 🙂

      1. You say “establish guilt”.

        That does not exclude the possibility of knowing the guy is innocent, but having evidence that could convince a jury to convict him anyway.

        Especially if you know the guy can’t afford a good defense.

        1. it does exclude the possibility, because if you KNOW the guy is innocent, then the source of that knowledge (exculpatory evidence) must be turned over to the defense.

          i’m not sure what exactly you mean by “know” though, if you are referring to something apart from evidence.

          note that even if the evidence of the defendant’s innocence was gathered via unlawful search, etc. it is STILL relevant and usable for this purpose (and then there are standing issues, but that’s a whole other ball o wax)

          1. Hey asscunt, they’re asking for you over at the “stop resisting” thread, you stupid asscunt.

          2. “it does exclude the possibility, because if you KNOW the guy is innocent, then the source of that knowledge (exculpatory evidence) must be turned over to the defense.”

            Q: If you KNOW that there is no way the defense can find out that you’re withholding that evidence, what incentive is there to give it up and lose your conviction?

            A: None.

            Sorry, but you are way too trusting of those with power.

            1. false.

              i was responding to a post about what a prosecutors job was supposed to be.

              NOT claiming for a second that some prosecutors don’t violate their canons and the law.

              we agree on that.

              my discussion is as to what they are supoosed to do, NOT that OF COURSE some rogue prosecutors don’t violate those rules

              two entirely different things

              iow, i agree with you. some prosecutors are corrupt assmunches

              1. Agree 100%.

                Much of the problem lies in how prosecutors are rewarded. “Tough” prosecutors get re-elected and “toughness” is determined by a high conviction rate. (In areas where prosecutors are appointed, the people doing the appointing wish to appoint “tough” prosecutors so again, it is the “tough” prosecutors who get selected.)

                Where toughness is really needed is in the area of prosecutorial misconduct where wilfull violations – suborning perjury (i.e. ‘jailhouse snitches’) and fabricating evidence means jail terms, financial penalties and being disbarred and forbidden ever to be a prosecutor again in any jurisdiction.

                1. Where toughness is really needed is in the area of prosecutorial misconduct where wilfull violations – suborning perjury (i.e. ‘jailhouse snitches’) and fabricating evidence means jail terms, financial penalties and being disbarred and forbidden ever to be a prosecutor again in any jurisdiction.

                  That is not enough,.

                  The death penalty is the way to go.

          3. “must” is a pretty strong word to describe a situation where absolutely nothing happens to you if you don’t do something because you have de facto and, by and large, de jure absolute immunity for your actions.

      2. It seems that this standard does not apply to sex crimes. It seems routine to try people for alleged sex crimes where there is no objective proof that an actual crime even occurred. The Duke lacrosse case was unfortunately not an anomaly in this regard. And many of the defendants are convicted without a shred of objective evidence, let alone “reasonable doubt.” Prosecutorial misconduct in these cases is commonplace rather than unusual.

        The injustice here may be far more than the issue of double jeapordy.

        I wonder if there was any objective evidence against this poor kid.

        1. It seems that this standard does not apply to sex crimes. It seems routine to try people for alleged sex crimes where there is no objective proof that an actual crime even occurred. The Duke lacrosse case was unfortunately not an anomaly in this regard. And many of the defendants are convicted without a shred of objective evidence, let alone “reasonable doubt.” Prosecutorial misconduct in these cases is commonplace rather than unusual.

          There should be a moratorium on all sex crimes prosecutions until this is fixed.

  11. Did he even have an attorney for the second trial? The article doesn’t really say much about that. This wasn’t too many years after Gideon so maybe he didn’t have a lawyer.

  12. it does seem a fundamental injustice that in these limited cases (mostly cops etc.) that they can and are tried twice for the exact same ACT,

    Bullshit that its mostly cops, dunphy.

    The doctrine that allows prosecution in federal court after acquittal in state court is called the “separate sovereigns” rule, and it is used mostly against non-cop citizens.

    1. i’m well aware of the seperate sovereigns rule, as i used that exact language regarding sovereigns.

      regardless, i concede you may be correct that it is used more often against non-cops. probably the cases against cops are more famous/infamous, which could create the erroneous impression that they were more common. again, if so, i stand corrected.

  13. There’s also an exception for separate offenses that arise from the same act. This allows the same court to try the same guy more than once for the same thing. For example, conspiracy – after getting acquitted of the crime, the defendant is retried for conspiracy to commit the crime.

    And again, the poor baby police aren’t singled out for this. It is applied far more often to non-cops.

    1. i didn’t say their were singled out. i said it happened disproportionately with cops, and if i am wrong, so be it.

      regardless, my point is that it’s an injustice REGARDLESS of who it is applied to.

      one bite at the apple should apply, seperate sovereigns be damned.

  14. 1947 794.01: Rape and forcible carnal knowledge: Whoever ravishes and carnally knows a female of the age of ten years or more, by force and against her will, or unlawfully or carnally knows and abuses a female child under the age of ten years, shall be punished by death, unless a majority of the jury in their verdict recommend mercy, in which event punishment shall be by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or for any term of years within the discretion of the judge. It shall not be necessary to prove the actual emission of seed, but the crime shall be deemed complete upon proof of penetration only.

    1. Rape and forcible carnal knowledge: Whoever ravishes and carnally knows a female of the age of ten years or more, by force and against her will, or unlawfully or carnally knows and abuses a female child under the age of ten years, shall be punished by death, unless a majority of the jury in their verdict recommend mercy, in which event punishment shall be by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or for any term of years within the discretion of the judge. It shall not be necessary to prove the actual emission of seed, but the crime shall be deemed complete upon proof of penetration only.

      A life sentence?

      I read that the average sentence for rape was 8-9 years.

  15. So what are we supposed to do? Open all prisons and let the criminals run wild to ensure that nobody who’s innocent is serving in jail? That’s not justice, that’s stupidity.

    Most people in jail deserve to be there, some even deserve to die.

    1. “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” -William Blackstone

      1. bingo. and remember again, that when an innocent is convicted, the guilty have gotten away with it AND nobody is even looking for them.

    2. “Most people in jail deserve to be there, some even deserve to die.”

      It is one thing to say that most people in jail have actually committed the crimes for which they were incarcerated (undoubtedly true) and it is another to say that they deserve to be there (a value judgment, and a poor one at that).

      Many people who have committed crimes (and I refrain from using the word “criminal” because it implies a profession of criminality, whereas many people in jail are first-time offenders), been convicted, and sentenced to jail time do not “deserve” to be in prison. By the same token, many people who did not end up in prison (mostly rich and/or famous) yet still committed crimes do not “deserve” to be free.

      Incarceration can be an effective punishment and deterrent, but prisons are full of crooks (and not all of them are prisoners). Many crimes (take drug crimes for instance) cannot be deterred by jail time, and in fact jail time often reinforces those acts (the drug trade is alive and well inside prisons). On the other hand, some crimes (rape, assault, murder) require incarceration in order to separate the offender from the public at large. I think most people would agree that the people who committed those crimes “deserve” to be in prison, but that is a minority of prisoners (the violent crime rate has been on the decline for 30 years, while the prison rate has been increasing).

      And there is one thing to remember: whenever someone is convicted of a crime he did not commit, then not only is he being forced into a den of crime and deprived of his rights without just cause, the person who ACTUALLY COMMITTED THE CRIME is still free.

      Does this mean we should close our prisons? No, don’t be absurd. But it does mean that we should find better ways to deal with these acts (whether they be alternatives to prison, greater accountability for police and prosecutors, better protection for defendants, or decriminalization of victimless crimes, for example).

    3. Leave it up to ersatz libertarian/Internet tough guy Gregory Smith to post law-and-order fascist crap.

    4. So what are we supposed to do? Open all prisons and let the criminals run wild to ensure that nobody who’s innocent is serving in jail? That’s not justice, that’s stupidity.

      How about just killing them when they are caught in the act?

  16. I wonder if the prosecutor is still alive, and if so, what his reaction to this story would be . . .

  17. Dunphrey

    Here is a real easy polling question to see how loved your precious boys in blue.

    On your way home from work, you are followed by a police officer – are you glad he’s there – do you feel safe?

    I’d bet the majority says no. Then sub in ambulance, garbage truck, etc to see the difference

    The polls you speak of – people respond as they believe they should.

  18. There is one factor to consider.

    At the time, it was not yet settled that a juvenile trial constituted jeopardy, as a commenter on another blog pointed out .

    Then the Supreme Court ruled that a juvenile trial counts as jeopardy in Breed v. Jones , and as such another trial in the same jurisdiction would count as double jeopardy.

    This begs two queastions.

    – Why did not the defense attorney move to dismiss? Nothing extra would have been lost if the motion was ultimately denied, and the client would go scot free if the motion was ultimately granted.

    – Why did not the appellate attorneys file for a writ for habeas corpusonce Breed was decided?

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