Thank You, Judge Kozinski

…for taking to the pages of the Wall Street Journal, not only to point out the perils of junk science in the courtroom, but also to succinctly highlight the enormous difficulty of righting our justice system once it has gone wrong and convicted someone who is innocent, and noting the obvious, if unheeded, moral obligation the country has to right these wrongs:

Preventing the incarceration and execution of innocent persons is as good a use of tax dollars as any…As for past convictions obtained through discredited methods, the outlook remains grim… Setting aside wrongful convictions has become exceedingly difficult under a 1996 law called the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which severely limits the ability of federal courts to review state-court decisions. Congress should amend the legislation to authorize swift federal relief to prisoners who make a convincing showing that they were convicted with false or overstated expert testimony…Among the more than 2.2 million inmates in U.S. prisons and jails, countless may have been convicted using unreliable or fabricated forensic science. The U.S. has an abiding and unfulfilled moral obligation to free citizens who were imprisoned by such questionable means. If your son or daughter, sibling or cousin, best friend or spouse, was the victim of voodoo science, you would expect no less.

One of the commenters to the piece of course suggests that Judge Kozinski should be put on the Supreme Court.  The article isn’t going to help that cause any, and the fact that Judge Kozinski harbors such thoughts is probably one reason he wasn’t in the running for the current vacancy, even in the opinion of the Obama administration.

Ugh.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Thank You, Judge Kozinski

  1. chrishalkides

    I had a conversation with a veteran of the ATF a few years ago. He said that he learned arson investigation in 1985 and everything he learned has been shown to be wrong. I suspect that most of this was because of research done since that time. What then of the people who were convicted on the basis of bad arson science?

    Like

  2. Well said, Judge Kozinski. Well said.

    Like

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