Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | April 19, 2009

The importance of ‘allegedly’

Police and prosecutors are human. They sometimes make mistakes. They sometimes react badly to pressure to arrest or convict someone, anyone. They sometimes are corrupt.

This CBS News report details the experience of Beverly Monroe, who was convicted of killing her boyfriend after prosecutors withheld evidence that his death was a suicide. Her conviction was overturned after she served seven years in prison and her lawyer daughter gave up her job to focus on her case. Key quotes:

“The minute you’re falsely accused, your life is gone,” said Beverly. “Your life as you knew it will never be the same.”

“You lose everything that you had in a normal life,” Beverly said. “For me it was house, job, career, income, separation from my family. You lose health insurance, life insurance, all of the security that you had.”

One example: Now, despite a master’s degree in chemistry, the only work that 62-year-0ld Monroe can find is as an administrative assistant — a low-paying job without benefits.

The article also details the post-release experiences of two other people who were wrongly convicted — one who languished in prison for 17 years, the other for 23 years, for crimes they did not commit. Releasing them doesn’t give them back the time they lost, nor does it restore the lives they had before they were the victims of miscarriages of justice.

Remember, I have no idea if Melissa Huckaby killed Sandra Cantu. And neither do you.

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