The next time somebody you know tells you in a cocksure tone about how "foolproof" the death penalty is and about how the American justice system has set up this amazing series of checks and balances to make sure that only the most deserving receive the ultimate punishment, tell them about Levon "Bo" Jones. Jones is the third exoneree from North Carolina's death row in the past year and the 129th innocent person to be exonerated from death row in the United States since 1973.
At a press conference this morning at the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, Jones appeared with his lawyers to explain how he had lost 16 years of his life (and come within weeks of execution in 1997) for a crime he didn't commit. Although the attorneys talked at great length about the absurd details surrounding Jones' conviction and the behavior of prosecutor Dewey Hudson, the most poignant moment from the event came when Jones made his statement. Here it is:
I am innocent. I have always been innocent. In 1993, I refused to plead guilty before my trail because I was innocent. I have always told anyone who asked about a plea that I am innocent.
I am thankful to finally have my freedom. I thank my family for staying by me and always believing in my innocence. I than the Lord I survived this injustice. I pray that justice will come to Larry Lamb and that he too will be released."
We'll have more on this subject tomorrow morning in the NC Policy Watch Weekly Briefing.
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