Flagpole Magazine, p. 9 (December 27, 2000).


"When justice disappears," Immanuel Kant wrote, "it is no longer worth while for men to live on earth."

Justice disappears where there is injustice, and the most glaring form of injustice is the erroneous conviction of the innocent. Indeed, the greatest injustice that a legal system can perpetrate against the individual is to punish him or her for a crime they didn't commit, while the ne plus ultra of injustices is the wrongful conviction and subsequent execution of an innocent person. Viewed in this light, what is the current state of justice in America? Is the problem of convicting, even executing, innocent persons anything more than a theoretical problem?