12 February 2010

250th DNA exoneration

On February 4th, Freddie Peacock, of Rochester, NY, became the 250th person in the U.S. to be exonerated via DNA testing. Peacock was convicted 33 years ago for a rape that he did not commit. His story is compelling, as described in a press release from the Innocence Project, which represented him:
Freddie Peacock, 60, was convicted of rape in December 1976. He was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and released on parole in 1982. He tried to remain on parole because he thought he would never be able to clear his name if he was released from state supervision. For the last 28 years since he left prison, he has fought to prove his innocence even though he was no longer incarcerated.

"Freddie Peacock was released many years ago, but he hasn't been truly free because the cloud of this conviction hung over him," said Olga Akselrod, the Innocence Project Staff Attorney handling the case. The Innocence Project is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. "Nobody in the U.S. who was exonerated with DNA testing has spent this many years outside of prison fighting to prove his innocence. Today, the decades-long nightmare that Freddie Peacock and his family have endured is finally over."
Think of how many wrongfully convicted people might still sit behind bars, unable to prove their innocence. And, worse, think of how many people may have been executed for capital crimes that they actually did not commit, simply because DNA testing wasn't available to them.

In my opinion, this is the best reason to oppose the death penalty.

>> Read a new report from the Innocence Project on wrongful convictions: 250 Exonerated: Too Many Wrongfully Convicted

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