Saturday Quick Hits

Proposal For Decrimilaization

I am an advocate of ending the drug war. I do not spend a lot of time developing the perfect plan for day when Prohibiton ends. A blogger at To The Lighthouse has an interesting proposal. It’s a good start and I could live with it.

DNA frees another innocent man

Star Telegram reports on Eugene Hinton who has been exonerated of 1983 rape by DNA evidence. Hinton pled guilty to a rape that he did not commit.

Why would Hinton plead guilty? Hinton was offered a 4 year sentnece for a guilty plea. Hinton was facing life if he went to trial.

Every tough on crime law, every mandatory sentence, every erosioin of privacy puts more innocent people in jail. With the threat of a possible life sentence many defendants will plead to a crime they did not commit.

I never prosecuted sexual assault cases. I can only imagine how tough these cases are to dismiss. However, if a prosecutor is offering 4 years on a rape case it is a sign that the case should be dismissed. Unfortunately, many prosecutors viewdismissals as losses and guilty pleas as victories.

Convicting the innocent undermines the credibility of the entire criminal justice system. I shudder to think how many more Eugene Hinton’s are in jail.

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