Location: Minnesota, United States
Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ah, Winter

Friday, November 11, 2005

After Innocence: Final Film in Get Real 5

Scooter stayed home with Eryn last night so I could go see the final (of 30) film in the City Pages Get Real Documentary Film Festival: After Innocence. The film put into live action the book The Innocents (which you can purchase here). Consider this a plug for the book. Scooter and I bought it after Barry Scheck came and spoke at Scooter's office.

Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld started The Innocence Project (links here and here) in 1992 at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and "only handles cases where postconviction DNA testing of evidence can yield conclusive proof of innocence."

Most affecting was the film's chronicling of the Wilton Dedge's case, where Dedge was convicted of
sexual battery, aggravated battery and burglary in 1982. He served 22 years of a life sentence in Florida before being released in 2004 when Y chromosome STR testing demonstrated he could not have been the perpetrator. Some interesting - and disturbing - facts from Dedge's experience:

-Dedge was demonstrably innocent in 2001 (the hair found in the victim's bed was not his, and the original conviction rested mainly on that evidence) but the prosecutor fought against his receiving a new trial for over three years. The DNA tests excluded him as the rapist, but the prosecutor felt it more important that the family of the victim have "closure."

-The state of Florida said that because the law allowing the use of DNA evidence wasn't in effect when Dedge won the right to have the evidence tested, he had proven himself innocent "too early" and was therefore not eligible to benefit from the law.

-Straight from The Innocence Project website, because it's very concise: "For three years, the State opposed Dedge's motions on procedural grounds, at one time admitting in court that they would oppose Dedge's release even if they knew that he was absolutely innocent." [emphasis mine] Um. Why? Really, Mr. Prosecutor? Your ego is more important than whether someone is actually guilty?

There were profiles of other men in the film - those who'd been exonerated before the filming began. One did 19(?) years before DNA evidence cleared him. He said the state wouldn't expunge his record - on which there are 16 counts related to the wrongful conviction - unless he ponied up $6,000.

Nick Yarris did 22 years (8,057 days) on death row for a murder he did not commit, before DNA evidence excluded him. The state of Pennsylvania will not compensate him, nor will it enter the DNA of the actual murdered into the national database. He spent the entire 22 years in solitary confinement, and was told he was not allowed to speak for the first two years.

A police detective spent 6.5 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit until DNA evidence exonerated him. He looked nothing like the police description. He said that he had fantasized about getting down on one knee in court to pick up his six-year-old son, but by the time he was exonerated, his son was 14 years old, 6', and 245 pounds. He said "He picked me up."

Wilton Dedge attended the screening of the film in Minneapolis last night and took questions after the film. Someone asked him if he thought Florida was anywhere near passing a compensation bill for innocents who have been incarcerated. He said "I'd like to corner him [Jeb Bush] and ask him about that." He also said that when he requested $4.8 million in damages from the state of Florida, a congressman told him that he was uncertain about passing compensation legislation or awarding him those damages because he did not want anyone who was exonerated to get out and feel like he had "hit the lottery."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It figures

Three days at daycare, and Eryn's got a nasty diaper rash and a temperature of 101.2.

Sigh. She was happy until the last part of today, when apparently she was ready to go home and "Daddy's not here yet." She says she's looking forward to being home with me tomorrow, and she also says she wants to go to school next week, so I guess all is well. This kid is definitely getting a flu shot.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

First Day of School

Scooter and I dropped off Eryn for her first day at Children's World today. She doesn't seem perturbed. This was her 2.3 seconds after entering the room:

She's fine, I'm sad.

Pictures of Eryn and Conner trick-or-treating are at Scooter's blog.