John Grisham: Can Virginia Fix Its Criminal Justice System?

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The Commonwealth of Virginia should fall in line with other progressive states and adopt measures aimed at preventing wrongful convictions, writes author John Grisham in an op-ed for the Washington Post. Possible measures include: abolishing, or at least strictly monitoring, the testimony of jailhouse snitches; video recording the police during interrogations and prohibiting the use of deception, at least to minors; requiring expert testimony to be based on established science; establishing fair guidelines for police lineups and identifications; and removing the broad immunities that police and prosecutors now enjoy, and holding them accountable for when they engage in misconduct.

Grisham says that Virginia, and every other state, could also benefit from the work of pro bono lawyers dedicated to fighting injustice and that commonwealth officials should use their powers to pardon those who deserve it, instead of trying to thwart innocence attorneys at every turn. The recent decision by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to grant absolute pardons to three wrongfully convicted men is a step in the right direction and the example to be followed.

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