Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Justice Derailed Wrongful Convictions Put Too Many in Prison

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Justice Derailed Wrongful Convictions Put Too Many in Prison

Article excerpt

A frustrating thing about America's criminal justice system is that some police and prosecutors seem more interested in arrests and convictions than justice. Institutional indifference to actual guilt can lead to outcomes that are, well, unjust.

This is why the report by the National Registry of Exonerations, at the University of Michigan Law School, is sobering and infuriating.

A record number of people, 149, were exonerated last year after being falsely convicted of crimes. That's 10 more than in 2014, the previous record year. Not only were the lives of innocent people disrupted, the convictions created a false sense of closure for anyone who thought justice was done.

The fact that three wrongfully convicted people are freed from prison every week in the United States should give Americans pause. Three of 2015's exonerations were issued to Pennsylvania prisoners: Lewis Jim Fogle of Indiana County, Zachary Handley of Northampton County and Han Tak Lee of Monroe County.

Fifty-eight of last year's exonerees had been convicted of homicide, including 44 whose cases were marred by official misconduct. …

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