The story, from this USA Today Article, basically goes like this: a Miami man was wrongfully accused, tried, and convicted of crimes he did not commit. He was convicted based upon faulty evidence which had been manipulated by the local prosecutor who was looking to score a win. By the time the truth came to light the life of an innocent man, and that of his wife and children, was ruined beyond repair. How could this happen?
Sadly, the case outlined in the article is far from the only example of this. As our technology advances, DNA testing has freed many people from prison, and from the convictions they were wrongly given. In all of these cases, no matter what the differences are, you will fine one common thread: somewhere, at some point, the prosecuting attorney chose to pursue a conviction at all costs, rather than justice at all costs. Pandemonium around events such as the recent UT shooting (University of Texas) help us understand why prosecutors, as elected officials, get carried away with the pursuit of conviction rather than the pursuit of justice.
The reality of America today is that law enforcement, like all other public functions, has limited resources. Investigating crimes, chasing criminals, and legal prosecutions cost money — lots of it. Resources are scarce, and the waste that would incur from admitting a wrongful arrest, releasing the former suspect, and beginning the investigation all over again, would be enough to make any prosecutor look bad to his bosses. Essentially, there is a great deal of pressure on law enforcement personnel to get the job done, quickly, efficiently, and correctly; the first time around. When the uncertainties inherent in human life intervene, and for whatever reason an innocent person is accused of a crime, that pressure all too often prevents justice from being done. Rather, the prosecutors push ahead with the case, despite faulty evidence and flawed witnesses, because they need to look good to the public that elects them. Unless they want to be out of a job.
It is exactly this pressure that makes prosecutors biased attorneys, and should prevent them from having the power to choose to charge child offenders as adults. Despite the best intentions, despite the desire to see justice done, prosecutors simply do not have the requisite distance to enable them to examine cases objectively. Judges do, and for that reason, Colorado needs to change its current justice system. Let the sad stories of destroyed lives show us all that it does not take a willful decision to wrongfully imprison someone, it only takes one overworked and underpaid prosecutor choosing to take the easy road. This should never happen, but when it happens to young people, it is even more sickening in the eyes of justice.