When Innocent People are Wrongly Convicted
Most Americans seem to agree that the criminal justice of the United States begs for reform. Yet as debate rages over capital punishment, overcrowding in our prisons, and early parole, a crucial issue is usually overlooked: wrongful convictions.
It is not surprising that lawmakers want to keep this problem from the public eye. But the disconcerting truth is that thousands of innocent Americans are sent to prison every year--and some are even sent to their death. This is perhaps the worst kind of injustice created by our "justice" system--and certainly the least discussed.
In Presumed Guilty, Martin Yant courageously examines this alarming, embarrassing aspect of our legal system.
What makes the situation so terribly tragic, says the author, is that most mistaken convictions could be easily avoided. No criminal-justice system can be infallible, he notes, but most errors are not the result of carefully considered decisions that happen to be wrong. Presumed Guilty shows that are usually that they are the product of "prejudice," outrageous carelessness, investigations that conform facts to theories rather that vice versa, the use of long discredited investigative techniques, and the desire of police and prosecutors to "win" convictions at any price.
As a result, Yant maintains, an innocent person goes to prison and a guilty person often goes free to commit more crimes--including murder--that might have been prevented if the wrong person hadn't been convicted.
Few of these cases ever come to light. Those that do become media sensations because they are believed to be isolated incidents. But in reality, they are all too common--and the problem is getting worse instead of better. Something must be done to turn this tide; the right to remain silent should not extend to those who know the frightening truth. Presumed Guilty breaks the silence.
Hardback, 231 Pages. 8 Page Photo Insert.