Analysis: Wrongful convictions sharpen focus on death penalty
For people wrongly convicted and sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, the opportunities for justice are few and far between.
“There have been no consequences for the prosecutor in my case,” said Anthony Graves, a Texas man who was exonerated three years ago after serving more than a decade on death row for a murder he did not commit.
“He’s never been in front of any board and is free to do whatever he wants, even though the court cited egregious misconduct in his handling of my case,” said Graves, who now advocates for criminal justice reform. Graves spoke Tuesday on a panel of experts at an American Bar Association conference in Atlanta. Earlier in the meeting, former President Jimmy Carter called on the lawyers’ association to campaign to end the death penalty.
Since 1989, 1,241 people have been wrongfully convicted and later cleared of all charges based on evidence that they were innocent, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the law schools at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University.
In another case of misconduct mentioned by the panel, the prosecutor was disciplined. Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson deliberately withheld evidence proving that a Texas man, Michael Morton, did not murder his wife. He will serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court for withholding evidence and serve 500 hours of community service. He will also give up his law license. Morton served almost 25 years for the murder he did not commit. …
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