From time to time, I become aware of cases that are particularly good examples of the flaws, problems, shortcomings, and actual injustices of our so-called justice system that I have been writing about here for the last 3 1/2 years. I thought it would be good to highlight some of them for the blog.
As a backdrop to this series, I’d like to refer you to The Blaze article The American Nightmare: The Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System by John Whitehead. Please also see our previous post Why I Think the US Justice System is Broken – and Why It’s Not Getting Fixed.
“Part 1” is the case of Ryan Madden in California. Here is what I think this case exemplifies:
1) Bad defense lawyering leading to a wrongful conviction and exclusion from the appeals process.
2) The fact that you can pay huge sums of money to a lawyer who screws up your case, and you still get wrongfully convicted, and …. the lawyer keeps the money.
3) The existence of arbitrary “time bars” in the law that serve only to value legal process and finality of judgement over true justice.
4) The fact that so-called “conviction integrity units” are, in my opinion, still under the complete and arbitrary control of the prosecutor, and are not a reliable remedy for wrongful convictions. (Please see our previous post, Conviction Integrity Units – A Skeptic’s Perspective.)
Ryan’s father, Michael Madden, posted a comment regarding his son’s case to the WCB article Equal Justice Under Law … Well … Just How Much Justice Can You Afford? His comment follows (with his permission), and is self-explanatory.
My son is currently serving 15 years for two armed robberies he did not commit. Shoddy and lazy lawyering led to his conviction through a myriad of miscalculations and mistakes, including failing to have ATM pictures of the actual suspect photographically enhanced.
During the appellate process, his once highly regarded attorney submitted his appeal 35 days too late, leading to the mounds of exculpatory evidence gleaned postconviction to be ADEPA time barred. He stands a very good chance under this system of NEVER having ANY of the exculpatory evidence considered by the courts… Including an actual confession letter written by the real perpetrator.
Even though his attorney miscalculated the allowable time frame in which to submit his appeal, my son is paying the price for his mistake, while the attorney suffers no consequences AND keeps the $85,000 fee.
In a last-ditch effort to have someone – ANYONE – examine the evidence, his fate now rests in the hands of the Ventura County Convictions Integrity Unit. Even though they are playing with taxpayers money, it’s amazing how frugal they become when it comes to spending it on possibly overturning a conviction they received nine years ago.
How did this “justice” system ever arrive at a place in which the timeliness of an appeal involving actual innocence trumps actual innocence?
Michael maintains a website about his son’s case: innocentinmate.com
“Part 2,” and more, to come in future.