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Living a Nightmare of Wrongful Conviction: The Case of Clarence Moses-EL


Living a Nightmare of Wrongful Conviction: The Case of Clarence Moses-EL

Amy Goodman, Denis Moynihan

As dusk settled over Denver on Dec. 22, the first day of winter, Clarence Moses-EL walked out of the county jail, free for the first time in 28 years. The shortest day of the year would be the end of the longest nightmare of his life. It was all because of a dream.


How truly sad that human beings can use the system to do injustice to an innocent person when they obviously believe that person is innocent.

Who gets prosecuted for the crime of imprisoning an innocent man? Unlawful imprisonment is an actual crime but only when people do it not when the system does it. Who gets investigated for destroying evidence? Who was responsible on the day or the shift when it happened?

Why aren't prosecutors' decisions (which may mean life or death literally) up for review and misconduct punished? Why are police killing people for not instantly obeying some order?

Why are human beings treated like this and no one is punished for doing so? How is it even possible that a dream can convict a man? Is that competent jurisprudence?

If prosecutors and judges were held liable for sending an innocent man to jail they'd do a better job than they do now.


You would think that ANY DNA testing, that can prove either guilt or innocence, would have to be paid for by the Government and would have to be tested within 90 days of it becoming available. This man lost his best years, the real guilty ( if there are any) got away, and the taxpayers are out 3 or 4 million.

The justice system in this country sucks.


You kind of think that the DNA evidence wasn't destroyed because they thought that it would prove that he was guilty. It really looks like they were covering up the fact that he shouldn't have been sent to jail.


That's exactly what I thought too.


Justice Scalia indicated.

This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.

So when you get down to it the Justice system cares more about PROCESS than whether a person innocent or guilty. When it becomes about process corruption in the system becomes inevitable and persons will manipulate the process to get a conviction even against the innocent. The process becomes paramount.


Yep. The legal system --like nearly all bureaucratic systems-- is about the process, not the product. It's a bean-counter's outlook, not a creator's. To the bean counter, all that matters is that the process run to completion on time and within budget. Even if it produces a perverse outcome, too bad: "the system worked".

As lawyer and author Lisa Scottoline points out in her latest book, about kids caught in a corrupt system, what people really want is for things to be put back the way they were, which can never happen. Even legal vindication for the innocent is only a consolation prize, and many never get that much.