Today’s Boston Globe had and interesting article on steps the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA) wants to take to cut down on wrongful convictions. Read the article here or here. The concern, according to the Globe article, stems from the large number of wrongful convictions in the state.
“We always have to be scrutinizing what the police do and what the prosecutors do to make sure we obtain justice,” Williams said. “It’s not just about convicting the guilty, but exonerating the innocent.”
The report is the outcome of a 2004 initiative launched because of wrongful conviction concerns . At least 15 erroneous convictions surfaced in recent years, mostly from Suffolk County, which includes Boston.
The Globe article also quotes Boston defense attorney Stephen Hrones giving qualified praise to the initiative. It sums up his position like this:
“The toughest thing of all is changing the mindset of the police,” Hrones said. “They still believe that once they have a suspect, their whole effort is centered on getting as much evidence against that particular suspect instead of thinking the suspect might be innocent and getting leads on someone else who may have done it.”
This mindset will be familiar to anyone who has studied the Benjamin LaGuer case. Witness the observations of former FBI agent, assistant district attorney and private investigator Richard Slowe.