LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – May 18-May 24, 2017


  Dear Artvoice,

There have been certain happenings across America and within Buffalo and Erie County that speaks on the lack of faith that people have in our criminal justice system.

This past election, Hillary Clinton spoke of how the economy is rigged, and Donald Trump spoke of how the political system is rigged. Yet, despite a national pandemic of innocent people spending decades in prison, only later to be exonerated, there are no repercussions for the police, investigators, judges or prosecutors who oversaw the wrongful convictions. Locally Lynn Dejack and Anthony Capozzi come to mind, but the Innocence Project is a national testimony to the hundreds freed after being wrongfully convicted. With the constant police shootings and brutality, people, especially politicians need to start discussing and reforming the most obviously rigged system in America and New York State, the criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system in New York and other states has created a super race, a system where police, prosecutors, and judges are above reproach and accountability for wrong-doing.

In America a person is innocent until proven guilty. However, ask anyone if they really believe that our criminal justice system treats defendants as if they are innocent until proven guilty. That principle of innocent until proven guilty is now a myth, part of American folklore, replaced with now you are guilty until proven innocent.  In cases of police shootings the victims don’t even get a day in court. Their fate is determined by police officers who decide to be the judge, jury and executioner with little or no accountability.

In England, Japan, China, and Russia police officers are prohibited from carrying guns. Additionally, police officers in England are expressly prohibited by law from misrepresenting fact or evidence and lying to suspects to obtain information and/or a confession. In America, the law ALLOWS police officers to lie to people and suspects to pressure suspects into giving statements or confessing to alleged crimes. Not only do we allow police officers to lie, but they are also given a creative license with those confessions, often writing the confession for themselves, putting words into a suspects mouth and fitting the facts and circumstances of the case into the confession or statement for the suspect to sign.

In America, police unions endorse judges and prosecutors, and judges and prosecutors openly seek the endorsements of police unions. And what do police unions receive in favor for their endorsement?

when was the last time you heard of a judge explicitly state that “if elected, I will ensure the rights of the innocent are protected”? Most likely never.

There are faults within the Plea Deal system; faults within the jury system; faults within mandatory sentences; faults within the prison system. We can no longer afford to be silent. Criminal justice reform is necessary and needed. Locally, there have been way too many people wrongfully convicted of crimes. Too many people beaten and/or killed at the hands of the system with no accountability. We cannot continue to allow police, judges, and prosecutors, to use their thumbs to cheat the scales of justice. The US has more people in jail, probation, prison, and parole than China, India, Russia, and Iran combined. We are either doing something wrong or we are the most evil society on the planet.


Mayville, NY


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