Duke case raises awareness about wrongful convictions


A closely followed sexual assault case came to a close last week in North Carolina when charges against three Duke lacrosse players were dropped. A column in today’s Sacramento Bee compares the injustice in the Duke case to the 198 DNA exonerees who were convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.

And yet more tragic stories with more severe consequences — where innocent people aren't just wrongfully accused but tried, convicted and incarcerated — are often greeted with a shrug. Oh, many of us may have been shocked the first time we read about how an innocent person — usually, according to the statistics, an African-American man — was released from prison after a decade or two, thanks to DNA evidence. But as these cases became more common, I dare say that many of us stopped being shocked and became immune.

One of the Duke players told the media that he was grateful to have the resources to fight these charges in a way many people could not have.

"Many people across this country, across this state, would not have the opportunity that we did, and this could simply have been brushed underneath the rug just as another case and some innocent person would end up in jail for their entire life," David Evans told a news conference after the charges were dropped. "It's just not right."

Read the full column here

. (Sacramento Bee, 4/18/07)

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