I live in Illinois, a state that a couple of years back put a moratorium on capital punishment because too many people on death row were found to be not guilty thanks to DNA evidence or whose trials proved to have had very many serious flaws. You would not
believe - or, if this movie appeals to you, you probably would believe - how vitriolic the letters to the editor got in my very conservative hometown paper. The bottom line was virtually always " he was proven guilty in a court of law" blah blah blah. Nothing was said about actual guilt or innocence. Nothing was said about the very real fact that out of all the people involved in capturing, investigating, defending, prosecuting, and judging a person's crime there might be a mistake or two, a deliberate lie or two, a bad apple or two, someone with their own particular agenda
that could be detrimental to discovering the truth. No. A horrendous crime has taken place. Someone has to pay. If that someone happens to be guilty so much the better but it is not an absolute requirement. We all need closure. We all need revenge.
There are so many things that jurors should be made aware of ahead of time before judging a case. From this documentary it would be 1) not all police are honest; 2) some police are ruthless; 3) not all signed confessions are the truth (forced extractions are just one of several reasons why); 4) not all murder investigations are thorough; 5) and eye-witness accounts and identifications are not always accurate.
At the end of the trial when the lawyer for the prosecution was summing up, she said (and I paraphrase) "We have an eye-witness that says this young man did it. That is the only proof you need of his guilt." That woman was lying and she should have been called on the carpet right then and there for it. First of all the witness could have been lying (but I don't think he was, in this particular case) and second he could have been wrong. Time and time again eye witness testimony has been proven to be wrong even though the witness is not actively lying. I have to believe every officer of the law and every officer of the court knows this. Why was she allowed to say that and get by with it? In this case, it is a comfort to know that she didn't get by with it.
Thank God for this particular Public Defender and his crew who not only believed their client was innocent, but were intelligent and savvy enough to find the flaws in the State's case.
Thank God for the jury. Not all juries would have been so smart or unbiased.
Thank God for director de Lestrade and his crew for being at the right place at the right time. We as a nation need to be made aware of the underbelly of law enforcement. Night after night on channel after tv channel we are told about all the criminals out there and their dastardly crimes. We are all becoming paranoid which could make us even more eager to put away every unsavory and unsavory-looking person out there.
Thank God for the defendants' family who were whole (in so many
ways) and who stood by him every step of the way.
We need to be careful, vigilant, and demanding of excellence in all things that we do, not the least of which is in seeing that justice is done. In the Old Testament of the Bible , the single most prevalent concept is Justice. We need to remember that punishment is not any part of Justice, if there is no Truth.