samedi 6 mai 2017

Bottom of the barrlel: Locking up victims

So convicting someone of a crime they didn't commit is a terrible thing, but at least (in most cases) the authorities genuinely believed they were locking up the guilty party. How about locking up the victim of the crime?

'Scared for my life': Why are crime victims being jailed?


Marc Mitchell was at work when the police came to arrest him, last April, at the New Orleans hotel where he was a houseman. They handcuffed him in front of the customers and staff and took him to jail...

...The DA's office worried he might not testify. They obtained a material witness warrant, and five days before the trial was due to begin Mr Mitchell found himself at Orleans Parish Jail, under the same roof as the man he was due to testify against, who had already ordered his murder once.
Yes under 'material witness' warrants victims of crime can be locked up to make sure they testify. They aren't really being treated as criminals of course, because:


in most states detainees are not granted the basic constitutional protections afforded to suspects under arrest, such as Miranda rights, the right to a public defender, and the right to a prompt appearance before a judge.
Problem number one with this is it's traumatic for the person being detained and can ruin their lives just as effectively as being falsely convicted, Marc Mitchell lost his job for example, but it can also promote miscarriages of justice:


In 2010, Jabbar Collins was released from prison after serving 16 years for murder when it emerged that a material witness had been detained in a Brooklyn hotel room until he agreed to testify against Collins. Other witnesses had been threatened.
The case revealed an allegedly routine programme of detaining witnesses in hotel rooms, without access to counsel or a phone, and Mr Collins successfully sued the city for $10m (£7.7m), and the charges against him were vacated.
To my mind this really is the bottom of the barrel, subjecting people who have often been the victims of violent crime to yet further trauma on little more than the whim of a DA.

via International Skeptics Forum

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