The House Case and the Causes of Injustice
A feature story in Reason magazine’s July issue looks at the case of exonerated Innocence Project client and delves deeply into the causes of wrongful conviction nationwide.
House served 22 years on Tennessee’s death row before evidence of his innocence cleared him of murder and led to his release. House suffers from chronic multiple sclerosis and lives with his mother, who helps him eat, bathe and get around.
Reason Senior Editor Radley Balko calls House’s case “a textbook study in wrongful conviction” that also “embodies the tribulations and frustrations that the wrongly convicted encounter once they get out.” Balko then goes on to ask some challenging questions about America’s criminal justice system: “How many innocence people are behind bars in America today?” and “What can we do to address the problem of wrongful conviction? Balko writes:
When I ask Paul House why he thinks it has taken so long to clear his name, he starts to answer, then stammers, looks away, and retreats again to Oh well, his cue to move on because he has no answer.
That may be an understandable response from a guy with advanced M.S. who just spent two decades on death row. But for too long our national response to the increasing evidence that our justice system is flawed has been the same sort of resignation. DNA has only begun to show us where some of those flaws lie. It will take a strong public will to see that policymakers address them.
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