As a businessman, Donald Trump spent $85,000 on a newspaper ad calling for the executions of the five teens accused of an assault in Central Park; they later were exonerated. Asked now about the case, the president says, “You have people on both sides of that.”
Famed prosecutor Linda Fairstein is shown in the current Netflix series on he Central Park jogger case as the driving force behind wrongful convictions. Fairstein calls the series “grossly and maliciously inaccurate.”
Courts often agree to keep the details about wrongful convictions confidential. But if we’re serious about learning from these tragedies, the public deserves to know more than just the settlement amount paid in its name, argues a Boston defense attorney.
The 151 men and women released from U.S. prisons last year after their cases were dismissed spent a total of 1,639 years incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit, the National Registry of Exonerations said in its annual report. The Registry called it a “record.”
Prosecutors’ pursuit of convictions at any cost and public defenders’ insufficient resources have too often combined to thwart defendants’ chances of a fair trial. Here’s an alternative approach proposed by Miami’s public defender and a former deputy assistant attorney general.
Simi Valley, Ca., reached a $21-million settlement with Craig Coley, who spent more than 38 years wrongfully incarcerated in the brutal 1978 murders of a woman and her 4-year-old son. He was pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown.