2ndlook

Desert Bloc Justice – Innocence Isn’t Enough

Posted in America, Current Affairs, Desert Bloc, India, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 5, 2012

Between USA and EU, the Free World, as West calls itself, has 27 million prisoners. More prisoners, than any cultural bloc ever in the history of man.

Region /Country Prisoners
EU – Total 607681
Austria 8114
Belgium 8605
Bulgaria 9918
Cyprus 1254
Czech 18669
Denmark 3435
Estonia 4571
Finland 3433
France 56957
Germany 74904
Greece 8841
Hungary 17862
Ireland 3100
Italy 55670
Latvia 8483
Lithuania 11070
Luxembourg 341
Malta 283
Netherlands 16930
Poland 80467
Portugal 13918
Romania 48075
Slovakia 7758
Slovenia 1099
Spain 59251
Sweden 5920
UK 78753
World Total 8,570,051
Source nationmaster
For Ireland crimecouncil.gov.ie

West is the Global leader

On a population base of little over 80 crores, the EU (total pop. 50 cr.; prison pop. – 6.07 lakh) and the USA (total pop. 31 cr.; prison pop. 21 lakh) together have about 27 lakh (2.7 million) prisoners.

With 27 lakh prisoners, the West is a world leader in imprisonment. Coincidentally, the West labels itself as the Free World.

If you exclude children, the old and women from the population ‘eligible’ for imprisonment, we are left with around 27 crore adult males. This would mean that one out of every hundred Western males is in prison.

Comparably, in India, with an overall population of 120 crores, the numbers in prison is around 3 lakhs. Of the nearly 30 crore males, India has just 3 lakhs in prison. Just one in thousand, adult Indian male is in prison.

Marriages are impossible

Desert Bloc social structures make marriage difficult – leading to low levels of family creation. This leads to low population growth. Hence the need to import labour.

Parts of the Desert Bloc that have had large successes, had access to cheap labour. Cheap labour has usually meant slavery – and in modern times, it is immigration.

To keep this ‘imported’, captive, labour in place, large scale imprisonment is seen as essential.

Leading to cases like this.

EDWARD LEE ELMORE turned 53 in January. For more than half his life, the soft-spoken African-American who doesn’t understand the concept of north, south, east and west, or of summer, fall, winter and spring, was in a South Carolina prison, most of it on death row.

Edward Lee Elmore was in prison for 30 years, convicted of a crime that the evidence strongly suggests he did not commit.

On Friday, Mr. Elmore walked out of the courthouse in Greenwood, S.C., a free man, as part of an agreement with the state whereby he denied any involvement in the crime but pleaded guilty in exchange for his freedom. This was his 11,000th day in jail.

Mr. Elmore was convicted in 1982 for the sexual assault and murder of an elderly white widow in Greenwood. His trial lasted only eight days, including two spent picking the jury. The state concealed evidence that strongly pointed to Mr. Elmore’s innocence and introduced damning evidence that appears to have been planted by the police. For three decades lawyers for Mr. Elmore, who were convinced of his innocence, sought to get him a fair trial.

Headlines and news stories about men being released from death row based on DNA testing suggest that this happens often. But it doesn’t. Once a person has been convicted, even on unimaginably shaky grounds, an almost inexorable process — one that can end in execution — is set in motion. On appeal, gone is the presumption of innocence; the presumption is that the defendant had a fair trial. Not even overwhelming evidence that the defendant is innocent is necessarily enough to get a new trial. “Due process does not require that every conceivable step be taken, at whatever cost, to eliminate the possibility of convicting an innocent person,” Justice Byron R. White wrote for the majority in a 1977 case, Patterson v. New York.

In other words, innocence is not enough.

I came to the Elmore case indirectly during the 2000 presidential campaign. On “Meet the Press,” George W. Bush, who as governor of Texas had presided over more executions than anyone in history at the time (Rick Perry has surpassed him), told Tim Russert that he was confident that every person who had been executed or placed on death row in Texas under his watch was guilty and had had a fair trial. This led to a reporting assignment in which a New York Times colleague, Sara Rimer, and I wrote about capital punishment, starting in Texas and then ranging from coast to coast.

It was an eye-opening experience. But no case grabbed me like Mr. Elmore’s. It stands out because it raises nearly all the issues that shape debate about capital punishment: race, mental retardation, a jailhouse informant, DNA testing, bad defense lawyers, prosecutorial misconduct and a strong claim of innocence. (via When Innocence Isn’t Enough – NYTimes.com).


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