A Worthy Experiment
North Carolina's new Innocence Inquiry Commission is a worthy experiment. It gives wrongfully convicted prisoners a final chance to prove their innocence after the judicial system has declared their convictions final.
Cases will be reviewed by a finely balanced, eight-member panel: a judge, a prosecutor, a sheriff, a defense lawyer, a victim's advocate, and three at-large members. If a majority finds compelling evidence of innocence, the case would go to a panel of three Superior Court judges, who would have to rule unanimously to overturn the conviction.
Whether the panel will feel insulated from political pressure to keep the convicted behind bars is unclear, but North Carolina is at least responding to the serious problem of wrongful convictions.
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