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Letters: Death row and DNA evidence

October 03, 2012

Re "300th prisoner freed by DNA testing," Oct. 1

The NFL's replacement referees blow a game-deciding call and it's decried as the unthinkable finally happening. The calamity is front-page news and even commands the attention of the White House.

But the news that yet another person on death row has been freed based on DNA evidence, the 18th death row inmate and 300th overall, elicits barely a yawn and is buried inside The Times.

The "bad calls" by prosecutors, judges, juries and appellate courts in each of these cases surely merit a little more attention and perhaps a little more analysis of how and why they were made.

Granted, sentencing someone to death for a murder he didn't commit isn't anywhere near as important as the Seattle Seahawks stealing a touchdown, but it does reflect pretty serious and systemic failures of the criminal justice system that merit more attention than they are getting.

Michael J. Faber

Pacific Palisades

Please inform me if your writers do not know the difference between "innocent" and "not guilty," or "inadequately represented" or "insufficient evidence to sustain conviction." Lawyer Barry Scheck surely knows the difference, but the name of this group, the Innocence Project, sounds much sexier than the Not Guilty Project.

Gov. Jerry Brown knows the difference. He is not in favor of capital punishment but admits that there are no "innocent" men on death row.

Joe Wambaugh

San Diego

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