QUESTION # 8. What nation has the worst known track record for unlawful mistakes in its public prosecutions?
THE WINNER?: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
FACTS: "A landmark Columbia Law School study of virtually every state and federal death-penalty appeal from 1973 to 1995 reported that 'courts found serious, reversible error in nearly 7 of every 10 of the thousands of capital sentences that were fully reviewed during that period.' There were so many mistakes, the study found, that after "state courts threw out 47% of death sentences due to serious flaws, a later federal review found 'serious error' -- error undermining the reliability of the outcome--in 40% of the remaining sentences.' Without federal habeas corpus, those serious errors would have gone unchecked."
So what did Congress do once it realized that government was getting even death penalty prosecutions wrong 73% of the time back in 1996? They passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that same year outlawing our Constitutional right to challenge these errors! Rather than fix the corruption of our courts, they chose to keep us from proving their wrong-doing and mistakes. Our system of justice has been getting worse--far worse--ever since.
The quote in paragraph One came from the New Yorker Magazine's June 21, 2015 article by Lincoln Caplan, "The Destruction of Defendant's Rights," discussing the decimation of our right to challenge illegal detention and unlawful prosecutions via our Constitutional right in Section 9 of Article 1 of habeas corpus.
In 1996, just a year after it came clear that government almost always gets it wrong, President Bill Clinton and Congress took away our right to challenge court and prosecutor errors rather than fixing the broken system. With a 70%+ error rate in prosecutions where someone's life is at stake, how horribly rotten do you think non-capital cases handled by these same prosecutors and judges, especially now that our right to challenge a wrongful outcome has been all but taken away by Congress and the courts?
If you aren't awake yet, then you deserve what is coming.
We must force Congress to revoke A.E.D.P.A. and fully restore our unlimited right to challenge court and prosecutor injustices at every turn of the proceedings, or we are already a Police State in my opinion.
Back to Rule of Law. Back to Constitution. We may need a Revolution after all, but let's start with a Devolution until next November. If we don't get our habeas corpus rights back by then, perhaps we need to change tunes.
Viva la devolution!!
Howell W. Woltz, TEP
Author of "The Way Back to America: a 10-step plan to restore the United States to constitutional government." available at Amazon.com
Born in North Carolina and educated at the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Caledonian University in Scotland, Howell now lives in Warsaw, Poland with his wife, Dr. Magdalena Iwaniec-Woltz. Howell is the European Correspondent for The Richardson Post and Chairman of The International Centre for Justice.