Best selling author speaks out against prosecutorial misconduct and false convictions

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By John Grisham . . . It is refreshing and inspiring that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has recently made use of his singular power to grant absolute pardons to three wrongfully convicted men.

Bobbie Morman Jr., of Norfolk, spent 22 years in prison though an innocent man. Joey Carter, also of Norfolk, spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Emerson Stevens, of Lancaster County, served 32 years for a murder committed by someone else. That someone has never been caught because police framed the wrong man.

Pardons and exonerations are bittersweet. On the one hand, the years of hard work by innocence lawyers ultimately pay off, and some measure of justice is found as the wrongfully convicted finally make their dramatic walk out of the prison gates. On the other hand, it is infuriating that our criminal justice system is so broken that bogus convictions happen at all. Innocent lives are destroyed. The guilty roam free. And the police and prosecutors are almost never made to answer for their bad behavior. If the authorities played by the rules, virtually all wrongful convictions could be avoided. . . .

Notwithstanding Northam’s courageous actions, the commonwealth can take no satisfaction in the pardons. In fact, the commonwealth was complicit in causing and perpetuating the wrongful convictions. From the incompetence of its investigators to the misconduct of its prosecutors, Virginia’s criminal justice system broke down along the usual fault lines. And the injustice was compounded by the years of hardball litigation required to uphold them. After the trials, the cases were handed off to the attorney general, who, by law, was required to fight the appeals filed by the wrongfully convicted. The appellate wars dragged on for decades.

Read the full piece here at the Washington Post.

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4 Thoughts to “Best selling author speaks out against prosecutorial misconduct and false convictions”

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  1. Tim in WI

    Keep electing former prosecutors as both parties have been doing for generations and this is what happens. Talk about lack of accountability in government. Head on over to wrongfulconvictions,blog to get more info about the scope that issue,

    There is nothing more i would like to do more than to make some of my own accountability in the context of an ex-post FTR felony case. There is a damn good reason the founders gave the indicted the powers of a king! I can prove by the congressional record the bill that created my states version of the Whettterling Act was hand fed to congress by the AG. Thus this defendant can make a prima facia case of unlawful caprice using the subpoenaed AG & testimony as a defense witness in the context of FTR. Fact is, there is no record of any obligation to register in the record! Where else is a jury weighing guilt in FTR supposed to look and find FACTUAL EVIDENCE OF such AN ACKNOWLEGMENT in the duty supporting of failure to register complaint laid by DOC??, Really, Can the people convict a man of absconding from probation if no record exists to the man being put on probation in the first
    case? Granted in the context of FTR they can if the state has a signed standardized waiver of civil right in its possession. That was the question affirmed in Connecticut DPS, but that ruling came with a caveat. That so few recognized it astounds me.

  2. q

    When your father is murdered by the health care system to cover-up for being a witness that they used to convict you in the first place then you know you have a problem.

    Except the People have been lied to. Thanks Kalifornia!

  3. A Mistake They Made

    Here in Indiana the favorite tactic is (your lawyer) did not object at trial so YOU waived your right to whatever was done wrong during your trial. Also the state has a right to a jury trial even when you don’t want one since technically you did not break the law but the people sure are not going to like what you did do. The you win in the appeals court and your verdict is reversed but the supreme court says you waived your right to the argument that makes you not guilty because of yet another mistake your lawyer made. Then you file for post conviction relief, and because of COVID-19 the hearing is via video conference, or simply the document with no in person hearing you go along with it and they deny your post conviction relief and neglect to tell your lawyer and the appeals deadline has expired. Make no mistake if they think you deserve it you will not escape regardless if you broke the law or not. Now I am waiting for my lawyer to find out what can be done about this giant mess.

  4. Perry P.

    It’s not surprising that this happens as frequently as it does here in the US. Especially to People of Color. ‘Jim Crow Law Practice’, continues to be alive and well. We all know who the groups are, that drive them as well. Until we find a way to rid ourselves of those groups, NOBODY will ever be truly safe from Prosecutorial Misconduct of any kind!