A cognitively challenged man, 50 years old waits in his bedroom, that he calls his cell, to be allowed to come into the kitchen for breakfast. When he gets there he asks for his "tray" instead of for someone to pass the scrambled eggs. This is what happens after 30 years of systematic abuse. But in this case the abuser wasn't a Grimm Fairy Tale inspired step-parent but rather was the perfectly legal prison system where Henry McCollum lived on death row as an innocent man. This isn't a diary about the abusive practices of prison, though that subject could be a series of diaries in and of itself. This diary is about the consequences of sending an innocent man to prison for 30 years and about how the horror doesn't end with exoneration. Or maybe more accurately, it is about the lack of consequences to anyone other than the innocent man.
Today in NC two innocent men were freed 30 years after being wrongfully convicted of murder. Which means for thirty years the innocent 11 year old girl left lying in a field after being raped and suffocated to death didn't get justice. Which means that for thirty years the real killer did not pay for his crime. Which means that for thirty years, the real killer was able to destroy the lives of even more innocent people.
Both men, who have IQ's below 70 falsely confessed to crime. As is usual in these situations, they confessed after hours and hours of pressure, locked in a room. Contrary to what people believe, people do confess to crimes they didn't commit.
According to a University of Virginia report released Aug. 21, nearly 20 percent of defendants who have been exonerated by DNA evidence had falsely confessed to the crime.
DNA found at the scene and finally tested after all of these years, exonerated the two men. The prosecutor did not even oppose the Motion to dismiss the charges against the two men. In fact, the DNA implicates a man already convicted of similar crimes at a time very close to the time this crime was committed. But really, at this point, the exoneration of innocent men is hardly big news. At least 317 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence.
The real news is below the fold:
Most people following the state of politics in the country know what big money has done to destroy a once fairly progressive southern state. And the news has been pretty much all bad as we watch Art Pope and his minions pass bills allowing fracking, guns in bars and opting out of the expansion under the ACA. As they repeal the Racial Justice Act, cut unemployment benefits and institute drug testing for people applying for benefits. The list goes on and the horrors don't don't stop. But yesterday there was some good news in North Carolina. While we don't dare to get too excited here in the Tarheel State because we know we have an uphill battle, we are happy to celebrate victories when we can. Follow me below the fold to celebrate a small, but bright, victory yesterday.
Mr. Romney has lately come under fire for his inartful campaign and many gaffes. He has failed to mention our troops or the sacrifices in Afganistan. He has called foreign policy a "shiny object" that is not important enough to mention. And on the 11th anniversary of the horrors of 9/11 he announced to all the world that he did not support our embassies and staff even as they fought for their lives. While the political coverage has talked about these events as gaffes, it is time to recognize that these beliefs are a feature of Mr. Romney, not a bug. Mr. Romney did not support Americans doing the business of the American people, even as they were in mortal danger, because it did not profit him to do so. Though he dishonestly pretended that he was criticizing statements of the President, Mr. Romney knew those statements were coming from the Embassy in Cairo. And he knew why they were being made. He knew that the people making those statements were doing everything they could to keep themselves and our country safe. But instead of supporting those people in that dangerous situation Mr. Romney chose to mine it for all the ways he could profit from it. Sound familiar? More below.
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