Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why legal technicalities matter

Here's a terrible story out of Texas.

Seeking justice for convict who died in prison

Rape victim, late inmate's family have DNA tests, other man's confession to back their claim.

The family of Tim Cole cleared his name and had his rape conviction overturned. That is a small victory in a bleak, tragic story. Cole was falsely convicted and died in prison.

At the heart of the nightmare is a faulty, unduly suggestive police line-up that led the victim to identify Cole as the man who raped her.

When defense attorneys challenge investigative procedures, their arguments are frequently dismissed as trivial. Yet this case demonstrates why sound procedures matter. For Tim Cole, they were a matter of life and death.

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