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3-13 7:15am Tommy, wrongful conviction?

Mar 13, 2014|

Tommy talks to Rob Warden, the Executive Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, about an innocent man who spent 30 years on death row

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Yesterday is big news as the -- Glenn Ford. That's spent thirty years on death row and angle he walked out yesterday after the prosecution came forth and said. He wasn't even there one even at the scene and some other information I think that the judge. Did not make. -- -- in thirty years. Death row wrongfully convicted of first degree murder. And whereas and you does this change you'd thought about capital -- where at least make you think twice rob warden joins us right now. Executive director of the center for wrongful convictions in morning rob. Thanks for taking the time with me. I guess we can start with Glenn Ford's case in specific game and move out smaller generally the justices -- how could something like this happens. And how and how uncommon is it. Well well it is not -- -- on uncommon. There have been literally scores of cases throughout the country. In which that. That's sentences. Have been reversed and people have been exonerated based on. Persuasive acquaintance of actual. Innocence as as mr. Ford. You know this case it was simply little -- -- that prosecutorial misconduct and that's leading forensic evidence. Perjury in the courts you know -- ineffective assistance of trial counsel. If it's just an egregious case. And you know of course here or going. Where -- -- somewhere along the conviction was based at northwestern. -- university's School of Law. We have had. You know about 6% in the capital sentences that were imposed in Illinois. It turned out that the defense that the defendants were innocent. As a result we finally managed to get the -- of penalty. Abolished in 2011. On the legislature and governor determined that it that the error rates were simply could not be tolerated. Now we've had more in Illinois than anywhere else except Florida. And capital sentences beavers but. I think it's partly because they've received so much attention here that we just identified. So many of them here -- the the system simply. Is unworkable. And as long as we have we're going to execute innocent people. Rob I don't mean interject this insulin clinic and look -- conservative by nature but I think you'd have to be delusional not to think. That we -- a different time in his country 3040 years ago like -- remembered Ono local grocery store shall Edmonds. And the white and colored drinking fountains remember your doctor Whitney -- -- white waiting room on one side -- way to ring waiting room on the other and I guess the problem and get into -- I got to believe that a lot of people went in that time because. That the white guy that did it and man trying to make it racial and just on -- the country was man. And to the first black guys on said he did it and from that point did it again is pretty much guilt. How well I think that race is certainly benefactor and hit it it has always been a factor. Not only in the south -- north as well. -- -- -- is in terms of where the country was then and people that have been in jail. That law is for that long aids seems like now we did you do it. Like I think indeed itself and of course you know -- Louisiana has developed been in fairly recent years a wonderful. A really powerful public defender's system. That I have really been impressed with but the quality of the work that that they've been doing and I think that this is much less likely. To occur now. That it was thirty years ago I don't think anybody would disagree with that. But we still. That there's still many many problems though with the capital punishment system. And you know as I sit here in Illinois about 6% of our cases so where did that wrong determination was made by the jury's been finding the person guilt. Now under the law we're supposed to be reserving the death penalty for the worst of the worst that we can't even get -- fundamental question of guilt that was guilty and who's innocent. Correct. Up and we possibly. Rely on that the system to make the right decisions have been serving who was the we have -- who is to die. -- a couple of moments rob I do exactly we have to lump we have to take a break and I'd like to talking about. The role of DNA moving forward because we talked about the way the country was 304050 years ago I'd like -- talk about the way it is now with scientific advances and I can make -- Some might as wouldn't happen again 723 more with rob warden our -- executive director of the center for wrongful convictions talking about Glenn Ford. He got -- angle after thirty years on death row convicted of first degree murder and he can do it -- to traffic. Province. Tommy tiger continuing a conversation about wrongful conviction and a gentleman that was on. -- on Angola thirty years and -- into a convicted of first degree murders of rob warden. Tell me about DN. Man and how available it is and in that testing policy -- guilty and gotten. I mean is such as capital punishment healing -- on -- jail for twenty years a woman for a salty if. Do even a day -- write -- -- that that's absolutely right. And -- one of the the only problem with DNA is it's actually available -- relatively few cases. For instance in the last 25 years. There have been a 106. People exonerated around the country in capital cases these are people have been sentenced to death. And later were exonerated. But only 23 of those 106 -- about one and five on had DNA. And in Louisiana. There have been ten on capitol sentences. Overturned. Based on substantial claims of actual innocence. And only two of those. Are involved pianist. So if you concede that DNA. While it's it's wonderful. It's available primarily in cases that involve sexual assault course some exchange of bodily fluids. In the other cases. And it it sort of well no value at all. We have had. As in the -- case -- you know here was say yeah. I think the paper bag with that -- -- so apparently be touched by the that the perpetrators. It might be able to get that would -- -- today. And of course she couldn't thirty years ago. We didn't have -- DNA in the in the courts the first case. In occurred in 1987 in Florida. In the -- violation occurred two years later here in Illinois. -- -- gotta run now we get to talking about it two quick questions before her you know. The theory that is better -- and in guilty people legal reason to punish one where did that come from. Well it's been it's -- it's an ideal that was articulated originally by a William Blackstone the British him the great English a scholar. And of course it's been reiterated. In in the United States. Among others John Adams and and it's in general. High principle of law but unfortunately we don't really believe that. In fact when you get a horrendous case like this with the facts are just horrible. Juries are unfortunately just prone to convict. In -- way -- the reason and Sony keep politics out of it -- an actor John Adams and the other question -- do you want any guilty criminals go free. No. You know I don't -- and know absolutely. Well and certainly we don't want guilty people go. Up unpunished. I mean I think it's sometimes there are draconian sentences and people say that served enough time. And you know sometimes after 25 years in prison or something like that. The person reformed and and we shouldn't just well. Lock everybody opened and. I get them what Assad yeah -- clearing day hearing even -- no I'm saying there's. This guy wants a letter body out of jail that's how -- you -- and all. -- no no absolutely not the same interest and have been in been conducting the right people our interest -- Accuracy. Got to thank you rob appreciate your time GeMS are happy to do it really.

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