The news is both good and bad.
One the one hand, it’s good news the number of people exonerated after being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit went up last year. The bad news, of course, is that innocent people in our country are convicted and had to be exonerated in the first place.
Nationwide, 149 people were exonerated after having served an average of 14-and-a-half years for crimes they did not commit. 54 of them were murder convictions and five of these came from death row, 27 came from false confessions and 65 convictions were helped along by official misconduct. Five people on death row had their convictions overturned. Since 1989 over 1,730 people have been exonerated.
Why this doesn’t have our entire populace up in arms is beyond me. Our government convicting the innocent is a national shame that should have all of us standing in the corner hanging our heads. It doesn’t, however, probably because for a lot of people unless they’re the innocent one being convicted it really doesn’t affect them.
It does, though. It affects all of us. One a government stops making guilt a requirement for conviction we are all in trouble. It is something that should bother all of us.
It bothers me. It bothers me enough that I made it one of the four tenets of my 2016 United States Senate campaign:
America must stop convicting the innocent.
The best way for this to happen is for us, you and me, we the people, to get involved at the ballot box. Once those running for office know voters have the highest possible level of interest in our government only convicting the innocent, and once we start showing that interest on Election Day, I think we’d be surprised how quickly the number of innocent people that are convicted drops.
It starts with you and it starts with me because we are the only ones who will make a difference. Those currently in office won’t make a difference because if they were going to make a difference they would’ve done so already. It isn’t going to happen until collectively we stand up and say enough, we do not want any more innocent people convicted.