no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Innocent Until…?

May 30th, 2008

Until proven guilty, right?

Unless the State withholds exculpatory evidence and convicts you anyways. And then maybe 26 years of three-hots-and-a-cot later, you might be exonerated.

As long as the justice system incentivizes convictions, in lieu of incentivizing the protection of innocents, there will be people like Walter Swift, who suffer unjustly (permalink PDF):

After an 11-year campaign, the Innocence Project — the legal group headed by Barry Scheck that investigates wrongful convictions — convinced Wayne County prosecutors to dismiss the charges against Swift based on a faulty identification by the victim and biological tests that indicated Swift probably was not her attacker. The evidence never was presented at trial. (emphasis added)

Swift spent the last 26 years of his life in prison for a crime it seems he didn’t commit. Twenty-six years is about half of one’s working, productive life. Twenty-six years from his prime and well in to middle-age. Twenty-six years without a family. It is unlikely that Swift will be compensated for these injustices, and even if he’s lucky enough to receive some sort of damages, he’ll never receive a fraction of what’s been taken from him.

Walter Swift can never get those 26 years back.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics