Just reading through the NYTimes article Cleared, and Pondering the Value of 27 Years. I'm not sure how much play this story is getting in the US, but it hasn't been on the news radar here in Canada (not that it should be....), but this story really touched me for a variety of reasons.
Imprisoned for the past 27 years for a rape crime that he did not commit, Michael A. Green is in the process of clearing his name and thinking about whether or not the offer of $2.2 million is worth the past 3 decades of imprisonment, abuse, and nonexistence in the functioning world.
For me, this "offer" and injustice strikes all the wrong chords...and reveals a lot about our flawed judicial system.....
- There is no amount of money that can compensate for a lifetime (at the very least, mine!) of living in prison....and Texas' offer of $2.2 million (would it be taxed by Texas as well??!!?!?) is almost a slap in Michael's face. The state of Texas has committed a HUGE injustice here, and I really hope Michael has a no-holds barred attorney to file a massive lawsuit.
- The article mentioned that Michael was offered a 5 year term if he had pled guilty. How can a justice system offer a sentence of 5 years in exchange for the admission of guilt.....but force a sentence of 75 years to the same man for the same crime when he says he's innocent?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?
- And what about the victim? I'm sure she's quite upset at having identified the wrong person for the crime - but there's no justice for her because those who raped her 27 years ago cannot be charged because the statute of limitations has expired.
- On the same note, I'm just wondering....is there some type of accountability in place that victims have to consider (like a penalty of some sort.....) when pointing the finger? I sympathize with the victim, whose emotions were probably running very high, and she wanted her rapists behind bars...I totally get that. But, when identifying someone once or twice in a lineup is all that a victim has to do to put someone behind bars for 75 YEARS, I'd hope that the victim is pretty sure....or that the law protects those who may be falsely accused for a crime they didn't commit.
- What is the state of Texas doing to ensure Michael's safe, comfortable and well-supported return to a highly technological functioning society, 27 years after he was removed? Is there a therapist, life coach, or support system that the state is putting in place for Michael...or are they satisfied by merely writing this off ?