Anyone Can Be Falsely Convicted
by Jay B. Van Story
March 1, 2004

Most prosecutors obey their duty not to convict, but to see to it that justice is done. Unfortunately though, the truth apparently becomes less important to some prosecutors than winning. 

We've seen this once again in the Delma Banks case. The February 24th decision by the U. S. Supreme Court in his case sends a clear message to prosecutors: using false testimony or hiding exculpatory evidence to get convictions will no longer be tolerated. The high court has resoundingly declared that the ends do not justify the means when the means are so offensively deceitful. 

Delma Banks may very well be guilty, but that is up to a jury to decide after having heard all the evidence, which hasn't happened yet. The prosecutors unconstitutionally withheld exculpatory evidence. Everyone, even Banks, deserves due process and a fair trial. 

When an innocent person is wrongly convicted, everyone pays, especially if the actual perpetrator is left out on the street to create new victims. Citizens literally pay for wasted prosecutions and eventual compensation for the wrongly convicted, and they lose confidence in the fair administration of justice. 

Most of all, the person who is falsely convicted pays -- with either years of his life or his whole life. The truly scary thing is that when prosecutors cheat, anyone can be falsely convicted. 

Think it can't happen to you? That's What Randall Dale Adams, Roy Criner, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, and Clarence Brand1ey thought, too. They, like so many others, were freed only after huge legal. fights, and years of false imprisonment. There are many more we don't know about. Some may even be six feet under, courtesy of the state's death needle. Most who are falsely convicted never receive the help they need in time to prove that they were falsely convicted. 

At least the high court's decision in the Banks case will help prevent such immense and unnecessary suffering and expense in the future. It is a huge victory for every American citizen, especially those who want to be free from false imprisonment. 
 

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