This I Believe

Nicholas - Belmont/MA/02478, Massachusetts
Entered on March 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe many things, but there is one belief that I have had for a while, one belief that has always been lurking in the back of mind, but has recently surfaced, has now been firmly cemented in my mind. That is the belief that the American Judicial System is riddled with problems, and, has more than once, many times in fact, wrongly convicted men and sent them to death.

Before I read the book “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham, this belief was slowly being brought to the front of my mind, the speed of which could have been described as a person, walking, the end of his journey being the realization of this belief. By the end of this book, the speed could be described as a jet, streaking towards its destination. The book details the events in the life of a man, Ron Williamson. He was convicted of murder, and then, despite multiple errors, frauds, and general injustices which I will detail later, was sentenced to death.

During the trial of Ron Williamson versus the state of Oklahoma, the injustices and violations of law almost ended a man’s life. One of the many violations was called a Brady Violation. The name references a case, in which the prosecution withheld information that was vital to the defendant. This is now illegal, and even so, the prosecution in the case of Ron Williamson, a tape vital to the defendant, Ron Williamson, was withheld, and nothing was done. Along with the Brady Violation, many of the Prosecution’s witnesses lied about the events that took place the night of the murder. The prosecution knew they were lying, and indorsed it.

Ron Williamson was convicted, and sentenced to death. At that point, he was mentally unstable, and did not receive any medication in his cell block. His condition continued to deteriorate, and by the time he was acquitted, he was described as looking 20 years older than he actually was. He died in 2002.

This book cemented the idea that the American legal system needs a serious rethinking, and that while the concept in place is excellent, the carrying out of the action needs updating. This I believe.