Last Saturday and Sunday, the New Jersey-based news series Due Process aired its latest episode, Rape Exonerations: The Number Grows, which examines the issue of wrongful rape convictions in the state of New Jersey and those who’ve been exonerated. The show featured an interview with Rodney Roberts, who was exonerated of rape in New Jersey after he spent seven years in prison and then an additional decade in civil commitment. An encore broadcast of the episode airs tonight at 11:30 PM on NJTV.
Roberts explains that he pleaded guilty to a rape he didn’t commit at the advice of his attorney who told him that he’d likely receive a lengthy sentence if he took the case to trial. Ultimately, he spent 18 years incarcerated until he was finally exonerated based on results from DNA testing which revealed that he was innocent. Roberts’ case was recently highlighted in the Innocence Project’s GuiltyPleaProblem.org.
To learn more about Roberts and others who have pleaded guilty to rape and other felonies, go to GuiltyPleaProblem.org. This week the campaign is featuring a video with the Honorable Jed Rakoff—a federal district judge for the Southern District of New York—a preeminent voice around the problem of the plea deal system in the United States and the dire repercussions it reaps for the many people who get wrapped up in it.