Monday, January 17, 2011

DNA Exonerates Innocent Man. Again.

How many times is this going to happen before people really get upset about it? A Texas man has been freed after spending thirty years in prison.

DNA test results that came back barely a week after Cornelius Dupree Jr. was paroled in July excluded him as the person who attacked a Dallas woman in 1979, prosecutors said Monday. Dupree was just 20 when he was sentenced to 75 years in prison in 1980.

Now 51, he has spent more time wrongly imprisoned than any DNA exoneree in Texas, which has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001 — more than any other state.

Ben Franklin said it was better for one-hundred guilty men to go free than for one innocent person to suffer. Our tough-on-crime laws have led to far too many situations like this. No one wants to feel unsafe and politicians suffer no repercussions for calling for harsher and harsher punishments. Likewise, prosecutors rarely face punishment for misconduct. This is not justice. This is weaving the illusion of having done something to protect people, to mete justice.

It's a travesty. These stories should be generating a national conversation over how they can be prevented. Unfortunately most people seem to shrug their shoulders.

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