By William Fisher
Have you noticed? Aside from the dangerous mythology we're fed on the various CSI television programs, we're reading more and more real stories about innocent people being sent off to death row or serving long jail sentences for crimes they didn't commit. And then being freed -- usually years later -- by new evidence or old evidence intentionally buried.
Michael Keenan, now 62, spent close to a quarter century on death row. He is now free. He walked out of an Ohio courtroom after a judge determined that evidence that could have exonerated him in the 1988 stabbing death of a man found dead in a brook in a Cleveland park was withheld from his trial attorneys.
The judge dismissed the murder charge.
This is clearly a case of prosecutorial misconduct. There are many such cases, and we're beginning to read about these as well. There is a panoply of groups working to clean up our criminal justice system.
But dishonest or overzealous prosecutors, while able to wield their enormous power to inflict lifetimes of pain on innocent people, are not in fact the major causes of wrongful imprisonment.
Incorrect eyewitness identification is still the Number One cause.
But ranking a very close second is a faut discipline that sometimes appears to be less science and more Kabuki.