In the wake of the Troy Davis execution, there has been increased scrutiny of the death penalty in America. Even death penalty supporters have been forced to stop and think after the execution of an innocent man.
The sad fact is that our justice system is broken and the forensic system is even more fractured. The logic goes like this: the heavier the penalties, the more scrutiny that case faces. A death penalty cases has an extensive judicial process- and we still manage to get it wrong and sentence innocent people to death.
So if we can’t get death penalty cases right, then what about cases lower down the pecking order? One look at The Innocence Project site and you will see that hundreds of people have been exonerated based on DNA evidence. If you calculate the time these exonerees served, it amounts to thousands of years spent behind bars for crimes they did not commit. This is a tragedy of epic proportions- and unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg because as we speak- many more people are being robbed of their lives by a broken judicial system and are rotting away in jail cells across America.
One of the main causes of false convictions is unreliable or improper forensic science and this is a huge problem especially in DUI and drug cases where the evidence is normally a forensics report and the opinion of a police officer. But there is no call for forensic reform and no action being taken by our politicians in this regard. Instead they are blindly increasing the penalties on DUI without thinking about the thousands of people who are falsely accused of DUI every year.
Just increasing penalties is not the solution- there needs to be changes to protect the innocent.