Judge: Dewey deserves at least $1 million

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This is a difficult case.
On the one hand, in Medtronic v. BrainLab, U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Matsch said, “The fairness of the adversary system of adjudication depends upon the assumption that trial lawyers will temper zealous advocacy of their client’s cause with an objective assessment of its merit and be candid in presenting it to the court and to opposing counsel. When that assumption has been contradicted by a trial record of conduct reflecting a winning is all that is important approach to the trial process, the court has a duty to redress this resulting harm to the opposing party.”
That is all the more true of DAs than mere “trial lawyers”. Too many DAs and police investigators too often take the attitude “whatever I can get away with is fair, after all, I’m trying to protect the public from the bad guys.” That is why zealous adherence to the rules of procedural due process is so crucial, albeit frequently ignored. Such inappropriate behavior needs to be vigorously deterred by sizable punitive awards given to wrongly convicted actually innocent persons. Mere token wage-compensation based on some hypothetical earning potential of often undereducated persons cannot serve the intended purpose of punishing and deterring miscarriages of justice.
In Dewey’s case, the Innocence Project said, “The police and prosecutor built a circumstantial case against Dewey.  He initially emerged as a suspect in the case when police heard from several of Taylor’s friends that she was afraid of Dewey.  Police also learned that Dewey hid from them when they came to question him and several of the victim’s friends. Furthermore, when police later found and questioned him, he initially gave police a fake name…The prosecution also emphasized Dewey’s suspicious actions during the initial stages of the investigation.” From that, it is reasonable to conclude that Dewey’s behavior in dealing with investigators was problematic, and therefore a possible factor in his wrongful conviction.
None of that explains the whole problem, however. Inconvenient truth is, most jurors don’t give a hoot about procedural due process, a presumption of innocence, or the U.S. Constitution. They just want “the bad guys to get what’s coming to them.” That inexcusably ignorant attitude is what prevents a jury from finding reasonable doubt, which exists BY DEFINITION in the case of an actually innocent person.
My unsolicited political advice to any unlucky accused person is: 1) always tell the truth, and 2) try not to help the jury dislike you.

Kudos to the Sentinel for including a link to a pdf file of Judge Richard Gurley’s order. In my opinion, that constitutes an important public service to the Mesa County electorate which gets to vote on whether or not judges should be retained in office.

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