Wrongful Convictions!

A Miscarriage of Justice

Update July 7, 2014: False imprisonment and the fight for freedom continues.

Take time to read this information and watch the entire video. If you do by the time its over, your emotions will probably run the gauntlet of anger, disbelief and fear. Fear for yourself, your family or anyone that shares your life. This young man was only 13 years old and when he was convicted of a crime that someone else committed. He held steadfast to his innocence but in 1994, TJ was sentenced as an adult, to 50 years in prison. One can only imagine the horrors he has lived through over the past 16 years. On May 1, 2009 TJ walked out of the Illinois’s Hill Correctional Center a free man thanks to the Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions.

No child should ever be tried as an adult or serve time in an adult prison.

"In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same."~~Albert Einstein
"In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same."~~Albert Einstein

TJ’s case is an example of how innocence is tried and convicted in a courtroom motivated by political agendas. A courtroom devoid of reason, proof, and ethics. This devious misconduct involves judges, prosecutors and juries. His case is a validation of how hideously immoral our legal system has become. It is a known fact that forensic specialists can, and do make mistakes. They have even manipulated evidence, in the prosecutions favor. Prosecutors have deliberately (as in this case) withheld evidence-proving innocence. They prosecute cases and gain convictions based solely on assumption---especially sex offense cases. Police are as guilty as the prosecutors when it comes to fabricating evidence or forcing an individual into a false confession.

It doesn’t have to be true---It only has to be said!

How Many Wrongful Convictions Occur

A law professor at the University of Michigan estimated the number of wrongful convictions, in death row cases, to be between 2.3% and 5%. In my opinion, the death penalty should be abolished in all states!

In another recent review of biological evidence (using 31 randomly chosen cases in VA) DNA placed the rate of innocence as high as 9%. With this discovery, two of those cases have been exonerated.

Justice David H. Souther, eluded to the fact that unusually high cases of false convictions were probably due to the investigations lack of help from the victim, intense pressure applied to secure a homicide conviction, and the corresponding incentive for the guilty to frame the innocent.

Justice Antonin Scalia (using an Oregon prosecutor’s questionable data) felt that even 1% of false convictions were acceptable stating that he was satisfied with the judicial system. He also stated, “One cannot have a system of criminal punishment without accepting the possibility that someone will be punished mistakenly.” He wrote, “That is a truism, not a revelation.”

Well Justice Scalia, you are part of the problem and reason our judicial system is corrupt. No judge, especially one sitting on the Supreme Court, should ever consider an innocent person sent to prison or death row as acceptable. Your comments strongly support why Supreme Court positions should have a two year term limit.

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. ~Edmund Burke

Comments 28 comments

Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA Author

JamaGenne, thanks for your comment and point of view. If a child is considered a "sociopath," then the best place for them is in a facility trained to handle the illness. Prison, is not that place and the child would have no hope of learning to manage the illness. They would only become more aggressive and mentally unstable. A 13 year old is defenseless against hardened criminals. They will deal with horrible abuse on a daily bases.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

First off, there are *some* 13-yr-olds who do need to be tried (and sentenced) as adults. Much as we hate to think of children being sociopaths, some truly are.

That said, the majority of children should *not* be tried as adults, and prosecutors and law enforcement officers who withhold or falsify evidence to get a conviction should be be imprisoned themselves.

The West Memphis 3 (WM3) is such a case. The judge who presided at the original trial, as well as subsequent appeals, should be jailed along with the prosecutor and the sheriff at the time. Any number of legal and forensic expects have examined the evidence and determined the WM3 were railroaded, yet they remain in prison. Very sad.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Jerry I appreciate you support and comments. This is a deplorable situation, which needs "us all" to stand up against a justice system out of control. One that, as your friend said is for political advancement while innocence is ignored!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!


Jerry G2 profile image

Jerry G2 6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

I know I've commented before, but I really enjoy this hub and this topic. What bothers me is the system is so broken. I have a few friends who became lawyers, and one who prosecutes made the comment at one time that he wanted to turn down a case because prosecutors apparently are supposed to not take a case if they think the person being tried is innocent. There were a lot of harsh words and cussing, and finally he was off the case, but told he really missed a chance to help his political career. Remember when law was supposed to be about right and wrong or guilty vs. innocent? Keep up the good work.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Lady_E, This unfortunately goes on more then one realizes. You have to wonder, what has happened to our humanity. Thanks for stopping by and I really enjoyed reading your article too.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK

Nancy, you must be Psychic;

After reading Ralph Deeds touching comments on my new Hub "Legally Stunned - When the Legal System doesn't make sense", I recalled reading this Hub sometime ago and decided to paste the link in my Hub. Just as I was going to, I noticed you'd read it and posted the link already.

I've put the link inside the HUB. It's sad to hear about cases of injustice.

Anyway, thanks for stopping. Much appreciated. :)


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Lady_E for reading my article---I appreciate your comment and time. Unfortunately, wrongful convictions are still a serious issue. Until people realize how grave this problem is, and demand a change in our corrupt justice system, it will continue!

Please take time to review the information provided by the Innocence Project. This group works tirelessly on overturning wrongful convictions…

http://www.innocenceproject.org/


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK

This is painful and a waste of innocent lives. (whether alive or dead). Must be excruciating for the families. I hope the numbers of wrongful convictions is decreasing rapidly if it hasn't stopped.

I wonder if such people could go back and sue the Judge for the wrong judgement imposed on them...

A very touching Hub.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for stopping by Tonymac...I agree with you, the death penalty is evil! I consider it state sanctioned murder. To execute any person is a horrible wrong but, to execute and innocent is inexcusable!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for sharing this. I have always believed that the death penalty is an evil which needs to be stopped. In South Africa it has been ruled unconstitutional, but there are folk here who want to change the constitution to allow it back, in the, I believe, vain belief that it will help stop crime. I think that on the contrary it will simply make a bad situation worse and make the possibility of wrongful deaths higher.

Love and peace

Tony


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Rtippie, thank you for taking the time to read my article and comment. It is important that people fight this type of injustice through informational hubs, etc. The Innocence Project is a good place to start gathering information and refer others too.

I agree that charging a child under the age of 18, as an adult is CRIMINAL especially, when the child has a serious development issue! I always suggest that everyone track their prosecutors, judges and police on how they handle cases. Then, if you see disparity, VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE! This is the only way to eliminate the injustices being done.


rtippie 7 years ago

I read this story when it happened. I had no idea that it was this bad. My heart goes out to TJ and his family. The judiciary in Illinois should take another look at "Drew's Law" and overturn it. It goes against everything our constitution stands for. Extremely good article. We have a case here in Kankakee County where a juvenile who is 15 with an IQ of a nine year old is being charged as an adult and faces at least 35 years. I have rallied against this but the judge is a former prosecutor so we knew how he was going to rule at the begining. I loved the article and video.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Lgali for your interest and comment on this article....


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

another good article


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Jerry G2, thanks for your comment and yes, wrongful convictions are raging out of control. The justice system we once could believe in is gone. Now it is up to us to bring it back...Track your judges by following their rulings and if the obvious is there; vote them out!


Jerry G2 profile image

Jerry G2 7 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

This is definitely a major topic that needs to be dealt with. So often it's easy to see corruption. I remember during my dad's bankruptcy hearings the judge told a banker to get off the stand because he was perjuring himself...and my dad lost the case. Go figure. Wrongful conviction is definitely a huge issue.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for your comment on this vital issue. It is one of the reasons I'm against the death penalty. Sadly, innocent people have been excuted! This happens all to frequently...I must remember your old adage, it is perfect---"it's better to let a guilty man go free than to convict an innocent one."


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

I've seen shows on this topic. It's so shocking. I agree with the old adage that it's better to let a guilty man go free than to convict an innocent one. I very seldom watch TV but occasionally watch "American Justice" with my husband. They sometimes touch on topics such as this. Our rush to hold someone accountable isn't always tied to finding the guilty party.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Delores, thanks for commenting on this very important issue. When I seen a picture of this young man at the age of 13, he was the typical child small in stature and thin. It was criminal to try him as an adult and commit him to an adult prison. In TJ’s case, the real criminals were the prosecutor, judge and jury.

Children are one third of our population and all of our future. ~Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

Nancy, what a horrible story. The cries of the mother whose son finally returned was heartbreaking - to see such joy be the result of such needless tradgedy, the thought of the lost years makes you wonder what kind of country we live in. A 13 year old should never be tried as an adult and the legal system should not be allowed to ignore evidence.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

SweetiPie, Thanks for taking time to read this hub and comment. Wrongful conviction is a serious issue that must be corrected. No innocent person should ever be convicted and serve time. Your right, it all comes down to social status. If you have money for a good lawyer then one usually walks free, if not, you get a public defender—good luck there!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I am sorry to hear this happened to this boy and his family. It sort of makes you feel sad when certain people are wrongly accused of a crime, and then others get off the hook for crime's they have committed because of their wealth and social status. You bring up some important points here.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Mike thanks for your comment and I am glad to know others out there recognize and stand strong against this type of gross injustice.


thevoice profile image

thevoice 7 years ago from carthage ill

You are so right this game of media poliitical justices its wrong hell its against the constitution to use these outlets to try people. I have beeb scream writing about this for years several case and risings its scary when people are put up the the court of public justice. Glad Iam not the only one sees the hell this world is making of life. Greay wrok thanks mike


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

shibashake,

Thanks for taking time to read my hub. You received the message I'd hope to convey. I intended it to be a wakeup call of the highest priority. The more I research I do on this topic; I realize how easily it is to be caught up in this horrible situation. People put our freedoms at risk by doing nothing when laws such as the “hearsay law,” (passed in Illinois) stand unopposed. This law encourages hearsay testimony in court cases. This opens up a Pandora’s Box, which can include lies and inaccurate recall!

You hit the bull’s eye with your comment of, “Sometimes, the culprit is looking at us in the mirror.”


shibashake profile image

shibashake 7 years ago

Hmmm. you bring up an interesting topic.

For most people who have not had to go through wrongful convictions (probably most of us), it is easy to turn a blind eye, and put the "safety" of your family first.

In a way, this reminds me a bit of the economic crisis that we are now facing. People, all of us, demand results, and we come to expect a certain level of performance from our government and from each other. In the economic crisis, people were demanding >10% yearly returns from investments, and that was *one* of the factors that caused the government and companies to engage in risky practices.

In the case of law enforcement, the people demand even more results, so the police, prosecutors, mayor, and everybody else are under a lot of pressure to deliver those results. Sometimes, the culprit is looking at us in the mirror.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks imaginonic... As Patrick Henry once said, "Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government and erected checks and balances to prevent abuse of power. However, where is the check on the power of the judiciary? If we fail to check the power of the judiciary, I predict that we will eventually live under judicial tyranny."


imaginonic profile image

imaginonic 7 years ago from Imagine-Nation

You're right Nancy,where there's (Evil)power, innocence hardly is able to speak out.Nice hub...

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working