POV | Uncertain Justice Revisited (11/26/13)
Seven years ago, I did a Point of View criticizing David Camm's attorneys for seeking yet another appeal right after his second conviction for the murder of his family. I wondered when Indiana taxpayers would get to stop paying fortunes in trial expenses, and why any accused killer could possibly deserve so many "do-overs."
Well, now we have the answer:
When they're not guilty.
Yes, David Camm finally did get his third chance, and this time, after a trial that finally – and correctly – shielded jurors from improperly prejudicial evidence, a jury of his peers acquitted him of all charges.
Some people will always have doubts, but it's clear that when the system finally worked within the proper legal parameters, that was the verdict. And likely would have been the first time around if everyone had done their jobs correctly.
Let me be clear – I owe David Camm an apology. My desire for economy and my cynicism about defense tactics prevented me from acknowledging that there are strict rules to follow when trying to put someone in prison for life, and that when those rules are violated, so are the rights of the accused.
"Git 'er done" is a phrase we often hear when tackling a tough job. But if the Camm case has taught us anything, it's that when a person's freedom is on the line, it's even more important that we "git 'er done right."
I'm Bill Lamb and that's my Point of View.