Pro se

    First Amendment Excerpt: “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    I would like to comment on the recent article by Craig Anderson – “Pro Se case long shot at trial” [July 15]. Bravo to Mr. Anderson, who gently touched on an even-graver issue.

    Sadly, our justice system is one in which your chances of attaining “justice” are directly proportionate to how much money you can spend on hiring a lawyer.

    If you are one of those who seek justice and cannot afford the shameful prices demanded by most attorneys, then, you find yourself (in your quest) in a David-and-Goliath scenario – or worst case, the lions’ den.

    Hopefully, you seek redress for grievances experienced on a civil level. I have to respectfully disagree with Deputy Attorney General and Kent County Chief Prosecutor General Ken Haltom on two points:

    “The DOJ represents the people of the state; we’re not there to win or lose, but to do justice.”

    That sounds magnificent, but the reality is, systemically speaking, they are more concerned with winning than they are about justice. Harsh but true, there are many documented examples of this. “USA Today” did an investigative series on federal prosecutorial misconduct that led to many an innocent man being convicted and sent to prison.

    The advent of DNA technology has exonerated thousands of innocent people who were wrongly convicted. Again, prosecutorial misconduct played a substantial role in these wrongful convictions.

    I will refrain from sharing my own personal experience regarding this subject.

    “He pointed to the state’s strong core of private defense attorneys, along with a state public defender’s office he described as ‘stacked’ with talented lawyers.”

    In regard to these lower-income citizens, the de facto mission of these court-appointed attorneys devolves into facilitating these “innocent until proven guilty” souls through the meat grinder – that we commonly refer to as the justice system.

    The high caseloads and pressure to conform to the “system” results in the public defender’'s ability to give only the bare minimum to each client. Those who will plead to something help expedite and makes everyone’s job that much easier.

    In closing, last week was the anniversary of the most hated woman in America’s acquittal – that of Casey Anthony. A vast majority feel she literally got away with the murder of her infant daughter. There was an outcry from the public for reform and legislative action to prevent such a miscarriage of justice from happening again.

    That same day, Andre Davis was set free from prison after spending 30 years in prison for raping and killing a three-year-old girl. Andre was exonerated by DNA evidence that showed conclusively that he was innocent

    It is just as egregious, if not more so, when the innocent (predominately lower-income) are convicted of crimes. Where is the same impassioned outcry for reform of a system that routinely convicts the innocent?

    Thomas Jefferson once said he would rather 80 guilty men go free than one innocent soul be condemned.

    Gordon Smith

Delaware State News July, 19, 2012

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