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Posts Tagged ‘Innocence Project’

It’s news like this that makes me proud to be a molecular biologist.

Yahoo News breaks an AP story of yet another person exonerated by DNA testing. Mr. James Bain is the longest-serving convict of the 246 convicts freed nationwide by DNA analysis, having served 35 years in Florida prisons for the kidnapping and rape of a 9 year-old boy in 1974.

The great work of The Innocence Project demonstrates yet again why capital punishment is so very dangerous. Had the rape of this boy been a capital offense, as many are now militating for, then Mr. Bain would have gone to his death about twenty years ago.

Fortunately for Mr. Bain, he lived long enough for the exculpatory evidence to clear him, freeing him to live whatever life he has left in some measure of peace. I hope he gets millions.

Chilling are these quotes from the story:

“Attorneys from the Innocence Project of Florida got involved in Bain’s case earlier this year after he had filed several previous petitions asking for DNA testing, all of which were thrown out.”

“Ed Threadgill, who prosecuted the case originally, said he didn’t recall all the specifics, but the conviction seemed right at the time.
‘I wish we had had that evidence back when we were prosecuting cases. I’m ecstatic the man has been released,’ said Threadgill, now a 77-year-old retired appeals court judge. ‘The whole system is set up to keep that from happening. It failed.'”

Three cheers for The Innocence Project. The criminal justice system needs to be moved in the direction of facilitating the testing of potentially exculpatory DNA evidence. Justice demands no less.

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