Monday, March 26, 2012

The Conviction of Alan Northrop a Must See on CNN and You Tube

Ever get cited for a traffic violation and rather than fight the citation you plead "no contest."   In your heart you know that  you were wrongfully ticketed but just chose to avoid all the costs and legal fees the state would be capable of throwing at you.

A friend of mine, he is black,  almost 40 years ago came to a plea agreement with his lawyer and an Ohio prosecutor to plead guilty to the possession of marijuana.  First time offender, the lawyers assured him  the "crime" would be a misdemeanor, not a felony, and therefore  he would serve no prison time.  

Well the judge did not agree and as an  18 years old he was sent off to prison for several years and his life changed forever. 

Or worse yet, can you ever imagine being convicted of a rape and kidnapping  and you were innocent?  

Well, CNN televised  the story of Alan Northrop  when in 1993 his life changed forever when he was arrested for the rape and kidnapping of a housekeeper.  Sentenced for 6 to 23 years in prison, Northrop was finally released after assistance from the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle.   He served 17 years of his sentence. 

Image from YouTube video 

Though released, he was never compensated for his time in prison and his life was changed forever.   Bad as that maybe, he was never compensated for his time because he lived in the State of Washington.  Incarcerated unfairly and not compensated for the injustice---just unbelievable. 

Most of us could never imagine being imprisoned for a crime that we did not commit. 

Can you imagine being sentenced to death knowing you are innocent.   Now we know that in countries like China, Iran, and Syria (to name a few) an innocent person being executed ain't a big deal.  But in the United States it is a big deal and has occurred.  

In 1996  a book was written, Convicted But Innocent: Wrongful Conviction and Public Policy by OSU sociology professor, C. Ronald Huff.  Huff  article noted  in his book there may be at least 10,000 people wrongfully convicted of crimes.  This was based on  on a survey of 188 judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs and police chiefs in Ohio and 41 state attorneys general.

As Northrup noted, it is not a conservative or liberal issue.   Conservatives should be concerned that there might  people who actually committed the crime still running free. 

With shows like Nancy Grace designed specifically to be the prosecutor,  judge and jury of a person's innocence, the potential for Americans getting a fair trial are being eroded. 

So the case of  Alan  Northrop  is a big deal and others incorrectly convicted.   Being convicted of a crime one did not commit could as easily happen to anyone  of us and should give most of us something to think about. 

Highly encourage all of you to watch the following You Tube Video.

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