Neil Rockind, a former hard-charging state prosecutor turned defense lawyer, is a part of this blog because he cares about more than just the acquittals he wins – and there have been plenty – because he cares about justice for everyone.
Wrongly Accused David Camm Not Guilty — Remember Him And Others — The System Wrongfully Accuses and Convicts People Everyday
During jury selection, I usually ask jurors what they think of the system. Prosecutors hate when I ask this question. Why? Because I want to know what jurors think of the system. Most have never given much thought to whether the system works, how it does and when it fails, how it fails. Most tune out stories of wrongful accusations, wrongful convictions and the wrongly incarcerated. They might hear a story here and there but they’ve never really thought about it. I ask them. Prosecutor’s don’t. The reason that prosecutor’s don’t is that jurors will inevitably concede and then openly discuss how the system has failed fellow citizens.Wrongful accusations, wrongful convictions, lying police officers, bad or no science, lying or paid off experts and disinterested or uncommitted jurors. I have had some jurors express different opinions — the system fails because guilty men go free, a few have said. I wonder about these people — what kind of life must they live where their only complaint with the system is that it doesn’t get enough people. How quick they must be to judge. How little burden of proof or evidence they must need to conclude that someone is guilty. Remember: the system is imperfect and regularly ensnares the innocent or not guilty – REGULARLY!!!!! David Camm is a shining and awful example of an innocent man convicted. The system failed him 2x and for 13 years. It finally got it right: today, he was found not guilty. He has been incarcerated for 13 years, accused of killing his family and deprived of the basic needs and wants of a man whose family was murdered — the ability to attend his family’s funeral, grieve for them and lay a flower on their grave sites. Shame on the prosecutors and police who perpetrated this crime on David Camm. Shame. I often wonder if it wouldn’t be a fairer system if prosecutors had to pay a fine if they wrongly prosecuted someone. Shouldn’t the state pay the attorney’s fees, incarceration fees, cost of defense and lost opportunity costs of those they accuse but fail to convict. Wouldn’t that limit the depths and lengths that they were willing to go to convict an accused. I can think of several prosecutors right now who would undoubtedly try far fewer cases if limited or sanctioned in this way.