In a new book, former Ohio attorney general Jim Petro writes about his gradual embrace of advocacy on behalf of those wrongfully convicted. Cleveland Plain Dealer Connie Shultz says Petro's transformation began with a series in the newspaper about Michael Green, who spent 13 years locked up for a rape he did not commit. “The series [about Green] .. was my introduction to the travesty of wrongful criminal conviction,” Petro writes in “False Justice,” co-authored with his wife, writer Nancy Petro. “I didn't know it then, but for me, Michael Green had broken the seal on a Pandora's box.”
The Petros began to examine other cases of wrongful conviction. The book's subtitle makes it clear where the self-described law-and-order prosecutor has landed on the issue: “Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent.” In a brave and graceful narrative, the Petros describe how their basic assumptions about guilt and innocence were shattered. They also expertly rebut the following myths: Everyone in prison claims innocence; our system almost never convicts an innocent person; only guilty people confess; wrongful convictions result from innocent human error; an eyewitness is the best evidence; conviction errors get corrected on appeal; it dishonors the victim to question a conviction, and if the justice system has problems, the pros will fix them.