The full name of these Daily Cups at their beginning was A Daily Cup of Good News. I must confess that I have at times found it difficult to adhere to the Good News theme. My tendencies generally run in the direction of “If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” So I’m delighted be able to write a good news cup about something about which I am often outraged – prosecutorial misconduct.
I refer to the news item in the Washington Post last Friday, September 12, about the creation by the office of the U. S. Attorney in Washington DC of a “conviction integrity unit” to identify potentially wrongful convictions and to do something about them. Of equal note in the article was the announcement of a new priority on justice and not just winning convictions.
If you didn’t see it, here’s a link.
I was afraid it might go unnoticed, but I was delighted to hear of it on radio news programs a couple of times over the weekend. How long, O Lord, how long has this taken. God grant that it is a pilot program that will spread throughout all the AG’s offices in America.
Hopefully we are on a new course: away from prosecutorial overbearing, withholding of exculpatory evidence, plea bargaining, limitations on appeals, and all the evils that are exemplified by the exoneration of innocent people after 10, 20, 30 years of imprisonment, examples which are tragically not exceptional but common, examples which make a mockery our professed ideal of equal justice for all. When did we drift away from the notion that it is better for a hundred guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be convicted?
So I read the item in last Friday’s Post as the best news in the paper that week, and I am delighted to share it with you as a Daily Cup of Good News indeed. Drink up.
For Courts of Justice
Almighty God, who sits on the throne judging right: We humbly beseech you to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates of this land; and give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of you alone; through him who shall come to be our Judge, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. (BCP pg. 821)
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 16-September-2014