If I were to write;
“A rising tide of prisoner exonerations, a significant number which have relied upon DNA testing, has revealed how miscarriages of justice can result from deficient practices of police interrogation and eyewitness identification, inadequate disclosure of exculpatory evidence, acceptance of ‘junk science’ and ‘snitch’ testimony, and ineffective assistance of counsel.”
Again, if i were to have written the above I would likely be derided and/or portrayed as some wahoo lunatic spouting psycho-babble as in “how dare some criminal question the virtuosity of our justice system.” My view on this is more of a fact born from first hand experience than opinion. As evidence, I suggest reading my sentencing minutes and compare these to the local media portrayal of the very same words. However, this is all secondary in relevance to another point.
For the record, the above quote was written fifteen years ago and came from a paper authored by a Boston University Law Professor. So was the following:
“We can never know the true number of false positives… on a fraction of wrongfully convicted prisoners can likely overcome the daunting obstacles they face to proving their innocence. In these efforts success often depends on the prisoner’s good fortune as much as anything else.”
In the time since this article was published there have been numerous articles in law journals, reviews and even mass media not only reiterating the same sentiment but providing the rare examples of good fortune.
The notion of good fortune floated by the author is mostly a slap in the face to my hope. While I’ve been the beneficiary of some occasional good fortune. The idea that the prevailing odds of clearing my name in this case are viewed by scholars as “good fortune” is not something you want to hear.
In an optimistic view, good fortune like opportunities are not solely the province of happenstance. To some degree I’d like to believe it is also the product of putting yourself in a position to catch the winds of good fortune. In turn, I’m gonna stand here with my kite at the ready, waiting for the wind to blow.
Source: Professor Stanley Z. Fisher, Professor of Law – Boston University Public Interest Law Journal Fall 2002 “Convictions If Innocent Persons in Massachusetts; an Overview”