Feb 6, 2016

'Making a Murderer' Shines Light on Wrongful Convictions

Simon Booker at the Huntington Post notes the success of Making a Murderer has focused attention on the police-prosecutor-prison complex defining the American justice system.

The nearly daily reports of exonerations have seen 2015 record the most exonerations in American history.

But make no mistake the Blue Wall of Silence and careerism make wrongful convictions in America common and difficult to overcome, no matter how glaring the errors and injustice.

Readers here know this legal-political journal has worked locally in Madison, Wisconsin for a new trial for Penny Brummer, wrongfully convicted of first degree intentional homicide in 1994.

A petition for a new trial has begun quickly gathering 100s of signatures in the saturated social justice petition realm of the Internet.

The current District Attorney Ismael Ozanne (Dane County Wisconsin) knows fully well a new trial would result in a exoneration by Penny Brummer, yet refuses to stipulate to a new trial. Advocates await a response, an opportunity for Ozanne to stand up for truth and justice over convictions.

This will require moral courage, and decency.

Twenty years after Brummer's arrest and conviction no longer does being an out lesbian render an individual suspect, and garner dehumanization by prosecutors at trial.

Still, advocates expect this obstinate refusal of prosecutors and police to speak out against injustice.

A retired Madison Police Chief, David Couper writes me in response to a question about Brummer he is in "no position" to do anything, apparently forgetting that in America citizens are free to sign petitions, write letters, columns, contact their elected officials for a redress of grievances, and work with like-minded citizens to persuade the local District Attorney's office to stare truth in its face.

A growing number of advocates are looking askance at this I-don't-know, nothing-I-can-do posturing by retired police and active prosecutors as an innocent woman, whom reportedly even the prison guards have come to regard as wrongfully convicted, sees Year 21 behind bars.

Advocates await a champion to stand up for truth and are optimistic this year, for reasons I cannot explain here without breaking a confidence.

Dante Alighier wrote, the "hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."

Norman Cohn termed neutrality, "passive compliance."

The consequences of passive compliance are catastrophic. Ask Penny Brummer.

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