Wednesday, May 5, 2010

DNA Yet Again

Want to know why we (that's the governmental "we," not you and I) are so scared to test the DNA?
Exhibit 250+ is Raymond Towler.  
Towler was arrested in June 1981.  That's almost 29 years ago.  He was charged with, and convicted of, raping an 11-year old girl.  The prosecutor called him "an animal."
Except, you know, he didn't do it.
In 1981, there was no DNA testing.  In 2004, DNA testing revealed nothing.  By 2008, DNA testing was more sophisticated.  Monday night the lab called the prosecutor.  This morning Towler walked free.  After 29 years.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he wants a new life and a pizza.
Raymond Towler freed after 29 years in prison for rape he did not commit

That's the wonder of DNA.  When it's there, it can tell us.  So why do they fight against testing it?
What are they afraid of?

H/t John P.


  1. Jonathan C. HansenMay 5, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    You are, of course, right. It has to be to save face. It can't be because prosecutors are supposed to try to uphold justice, or the fact that when someone is wrongly convicted the actual guilty party is still free, walking around.

    I can understand how someone thus freed would be grateful, but I would think being wrongly convicted would generate at least some, perhaps subsurface anger as well as a distrust for the system of justice...

  2. There is a guy in D.C. -- Donald Gates -- who served 28 years on a murder/rape conviction before he was finally exonerated through DNA tests. The amazing thing was his complete lack of bitterness toward the people who put him there.

  3. I find it stunning just how many of the men who served long stretches before exoneration are not bitter, hold no grudge. Same for many of those who've been exonerated from death row.

    For many of them, foregiveness must be part of what made it possible to do that time in the first place, knowing that they were innocent.

    Sadly, for too many the days and weeks immediately after release are the only good times. So much has been lost to them, ripped away without so much as a by-your-leave, and so little support is available to help with readjustment to the outside world after decades living in an environment wholly unconducive to survival on the outside.

    Exoneration is only one step. Peace inside and out helps, but it's not always enough.