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The Champion

September/October 2003 , Page 4 

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The criminal justice system needs mending

By E. E. (Bo) Edwards

Read more President's Column columns.

At the annual meeting in Denver, I presented an overview of criminal justice in our country in mid-2003. The picture is not at all pleasing.

The American criminal justice system is broken and needs mending. For a system which is based on the core principal that the innocent must be protected above all, disturbing instances where the system failed to provide such protection appear in alarming numbers. In one state alone (Illinois), 11 persons on death row have been found to be factually innocent. These are not cases where constitutional error in the proceedings erased a murder conviction. In these cases it was shown that the person convicted and sentenced to die, did not do it. Yet a jury found them guilty, and a judge found that the state should kill them.

In these cases the system was broken, and the flaws almost proved fatal. And these injustices occurred in just one state. It can be said with virtual certainty that other innocent persons are imprisoned on death rows in every state tha

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