Letter: Wrongful convictions not limited to murder cases
Re “A case to give death penalty advocates pause” (Monitor editorial, Oct. 21):
The Monitor makes several good points related to abolishing the death penalty. However, the most significant issue, wrongful convictions, is not isolated to capital punishment but pervades the entire criminal (in)justice system.
The advent of DNA testing has proven innocent and freed many on death row and exonerated many others, even prior to trial. However, DNA is available in a minuscule number of cases. Because of this, DNA cannot save everyone from wrongful conviction, incarceration or even execution.
If the numbers of people proven innocent by DNA are extrapolated to the more common cases where DNA is not an issue, the sheer volume of wrongful convictions becomes shocking to any normal conscience. Unfortunately, normal moral consciences take a back seat to the “never question a ‘victim’s’ story,” “convict at all costs,” “they wouldn’t be charged if they didn’t do something,” and “everyone in prison is guilty” mentalities.
The focus needs to be on the criminal (in)justice system as a whole, not just the death penalty.
(The writer is an inmate at the state prison.)