Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My apologies to Batman who will be seeing this twice...

DNA Clears Man of Two Child Murders

In short, this man was convicted of raping and murdering his girlfriend's two children twenty years ago. He has now been exonerated using modern technological advances.

"It is better that 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man stands convicted" - Thomas Jefferson

It would be nice if our system made it impossible for an innocent man to be convicted of a crime he did not commit. However, our system is run by men who are by nature flawed. Therefore, our system cannot help but have failure in it. As reprehensible as it may be, there are and will continue to be innocent persons who are punished unjustly. This, not the willful act of the people, but one which simply cannot be avoided.

When this travesty does occur and a person's life has been destroyed, one cannot help but feel remorse for the one imprisoned wrongly, and their loved ones. I feel that it is incumbent upon us to do our best to restore said person to the best of our abilities and also pay restitution for the hardships they were forced to endure.

Apparently the government agrees … and has set that amount at $25,000 per year. (This is where I start to rant…)

Let's start with the fact that this money isn't paid automatically, he must APPLY for it. Well, I feel that time in prison by an innocent man is application enough.

Also, $25,000 a year isn't NEARLY enough for what this man has lost. After twenty years in prison he is eligible for a mere $500,000. If the U.S. Government gets to tax it, he might walk away with a little over half of that. But I'd like to examine what this man endured, his trials, over the last twenty years to determine if the $500,000 is truly a worthy number:

20 years of the title "Child Molester and Murderer";
20 years of the stigma that goes with his title;
20 years of confinement;
20 years of sexual assault (let's not bury our heads in the sand and pretend we are unaware of what happens in prison, particularly to rapist and child molesters);
20 years of prison fights;
20 years of prison food;
20 years without daily physical contact with those he loves;
20 years without vacations or respite;
20 years of hell most of us would not even want to IMAGINE, much less live.

I look back over the last twenty years of my life and at age 36 I am heavy-hearted of what he missed out on:

Love and commitment;
first steps;
first words;
family picnics;
family vacations;
a career;
the chance to take what he has earned and invest it;
a home to call his own;
a life in general.

Does $500,000 really provide any justice at all for what this man has been through and what he has lost?

Let's see, the woman who foolishly opened a containing of hot coffee in her car as they pulled away from McDonald's received how many MILLION in compensation for her own irresponsible act of stupidity?

I realize that in reality, we as a society can never repay this man for what it has cost him, but we could at least put forth a serious effort. How much is a man's life worth when it has been stolen from him?

I would say that $500,000 isn't nearly enough. Yes, we need to set a limit, but what is that limit knowing that it will never be enough? Realizing that money can never restore to him what was stripped of him, we should at least see to it that he can live comfortably for the rest of his life. We owe him that much.


The Dung Beetle said...

I agree 100 percent. You took the words right out of my mouth. It's truely tragic.

Hmmm... I wonder if he'll file a lawsuit. I know that sounds dumb and obvious, but think about it... he might be so traumatized that he just wants to walk away.

Krystal said...

can't even begin to imagine what's going through his mind. I still find it abhorring and reprehensable that the government would say he has to APPLY for a compensation that is so below what he deserves that it's insulting.

You know, I've been mauling this over in head and I started to wonder how his jury must feel. I mean, they went on good faith with the evidence they had at the time and you can't blame them for that... But to find out that you convicted an innocent man and took his life away from him in a sense. That's something I wouldn't want to live with. Not that they are the victims here, but I'm sure they feel horrible. At least he didn't get the death penalty.

This is very upsetting to me.

Barney said...

I agree with you..
he has missed out on so many opportunities in his life...
as you pointed out..

Now he must go forth into the world, and figure out how to survive.. 500k is NOT going to pay that debt.. let alone... what about what the tax payers have already payed to keep an innocent man behind bars?

I am glad that the state dept was finally able to find no fault w/this gentleman.. however.... turning someone loose after the majority of his life in prison brings many questions to my mind.
How will he mentally cope?
How will he emotionally cope?
Who is he today?
After living all those years under lock & key, and in such a strict and structured enviroment.. how will he be able to go about "polite" society?
He will now have more of an edge than what you would normally find w/in the inner cities?

I hope the government does more than just the 500k.. that is not nearly enough!!!!

Krystal said...

Barney, that is an excellent point. This man will probably need help adjusting to society. Much has changed over the last twenty years.

But it appears as though he has a loving mother and brother to help him. Let's hope that they are there for him and help him adjust.

BostonPobble said...

Amen and Blessed Be! I cannot imagine, nor do I want to, what the last 20 years of his life has been like. Everything you listed that he endured, that he missed, and all the time knowing ~ KNOWING ~ he had done nothing wrong. *sigh*

Glad to see you posting again. :)