The public has a very poor understanding about how our courts and our criminal justice system work. Although the system constantly denies this, there really is no oversight of the system. When a member says something was so, the system takes his or her word for it. This is an excellent vehicle for corruption.
Of course, not even our courts provide for consequences when we discover such behavior. To shorten a long story a jailor assaulted George Alvarez in jail. The jailor then accused Alvarez of assaulting him. The system lied to cover the jailor’s crime up. As is typical, Mr. Alvarez was threatened with a very lengthy sentence unless he confessed to the crime in return for a much lighter sentence. Mr. Alvarez did what 97% of the defendants do; he pled guilty and went to prison.
Later, evidence came forward which proved Mr. Alvarez’ innocence and the jailor’s crime. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals declared Mr. Alvarez actually innocent.
Mr. Alvarez sued in federal court and was awarded $2 million. That would have sent a powerful message to our criminal justice system to clean up its act.
Unfortunately, the US Fifth Circuit District Court of Appeals reversed that award, stating that because Mr. Alvarez pled guilty, the criminal justice system did not have to tell the truth. This ignores that Mr. Alvarez had to plead guilty precisely because our government covered up the truth. In other words, because the government had gotten away with lying about this crime, there are no consequences.
And we wonder why we have so many wrongly convicted innocent people.