Saturday, April 07, 2007

I wish i had found this before

Here's an old article from Time that revisits the injustice done to Richard Jewell after the Atlanta Olympic bombing.

This quote does a better job than i did when i tried to bring the Rosenhan experiment into the discussion of criminal investigation:
According to Samuel Gross, a professor of criminal procedure at Michigan Law School, "there's a point at which an open investigation of who committed a crime becomes instead the prosecution of suspect X. If that happens early on in the case, the chances of making a mistake are very great." In the Atlanta bombing, the shift from an open investigation to the prosecution of a particular suspect does seem to have taken place very early, and the result was certainly a mistake.
Here we see the lack of ethics and self-awareness that plague big time reporters. They describe what Jewell went through and then make excuses:
If not despicable then perhaps excessive but also understandable. The Centennial Park bomb came only 10 days after the explosion of TWA Flight 800. Nobody knew whether it marked the beginning of a reign of domestic terror. The FBI was under tremendous pressure to solve the case almost instantaneously so that the Olympic Games' athletes and visitors would not be crippled by fear. But it is common knowledge in law enforcement that "the bigger the case, the lower the standard [of conduct]," says Tierney. "The pressure on the police, on prosecutors is overwhelming."
SO they make excuses for bad police work. The interesting thing (to me) is how they blame the media for it but do not accept or recognize their guilt.

If big stories cause bad police work, and the media makes a story big, then the media fosters bad police work. What are they doing to change this? I think that this question is especially relevant now because the media (especially cable TV) are on a constant search for crime stories that they can turn into programming extravaganzas.

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