Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Innocence Project

The Innocence Project is a collection of defense attorneys that specialize in post-conviction services. They help inmates who have questionable convictions seek new trials or even total exoneration. They do this by carefully researching each case looking for improprieties. These improprieties come in many forms but the innocence project has narrowed them down to a select few that are the most common:

*Bad Lawyering (lazy, ineffective defense attorneys)
*Prosecutor/Police Misconduct
*Junk Science (non-scientific evidence being used as scientific evidence or questionable science)
*Eyewitness Misidentification
*False Admissions
*Questionable informants

The Innocence Project also provides reforms that, if applied would limit or eliminate these improprieties from taking place.

On the heels of Troy Davis' execution many should see the work of the Innocence Project. In Davis' case a large majority of the witnesses either recanted or their testimony was in some other way compromised. All this has lead in the now widespread belief that Troy Davis was indeed innocent. The only people that truly believe he was guilty was the family of the victim and the prosecutor. Davis sat in prison for over 20 years and even though his case never caught national headlines until right before his execution, it has raised a crucial debate about the criminal justice system and capital punishment.

The Innocence Project has had many cases overturned, and the convict exonerated and very few of these cases ever made national headlines. The thought then becomes that anything which raises questions about the belief in the legal system, a belief mind you that must be there if the system is to work, is ignored or minimized. The Innocence Project's work, Troy Davis' witness recants and contradictions are just two of the things that cause great, widespread disbelief.
Despite all the efforts of the ACLU to prevent Davis' execution it still took place, despite all the efforts of the Innocence Project many men and women who are truly innocent are executed or still sit in prison, all for the sake of protecting the sanctity of a disturbingly unbalanced system.

To learn more about the Innocence Project check out their website:

http://www.innocenceproject.org

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