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tv   Lara Bazelon Rectify  CSPAN  January 19, 2019 5:00pm-6:12pm EST

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held at the university of arizona. later that month, the virginia festival of the book takes place in charlottesville. for more information about upcoming book fairs and festivals, and to what previous festival coverage, click the big transfer of the book fairs tab on [inaudible conversations] >> good evening. [applause] this is a very well supported book and absolutely a wonderful one. my name is barry scheck. i'm cofounder of an organization called the innocence project. which is been around for 26 years.
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and is in the business of organizing efforts to exonerate people who did not commit crimes. but one part of our mission, is also to do our very best to try to take care of those who are victims of the crimes, as well as clients who are certainly, victims of the criminal justice system. and today, we are really privileged to talk with lara bazelon, who has written this absently fantastic book entitled, rectify, the power of distorted justice after wrongful conviction. hold up the mike closer. and booktv even with all of -- [laughter] so lara, probably the best starting point for this, first
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of all, how did you come to write this book? you started off in the law is doing what? >> i started off like you as a public defender. of the federal public defender. then after seven years, i joined a smaller innocence project that is a satellite. so -- being very modest distorted movement. they started the innocence movement. as a result of the project many other smaller projects loomed all of the country. including one at loyola law school where i was going to be the director. >> in los angeles. >> exactly. so barry and i are connected. because of a man named cash register. he was my client. there was an experience we went through, it was a very small kind of innocence project of exonerating cash without dna. the experience really changed my life in a number of ways. one of which was really to
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think hard about not just the damaged cash which was performed because he was convicted -- in my lisp and he was convicted when i was in kindergarten and my son was in kindergarten when he was released. there was also his family and also to the victims family that really never got justice who we know what happened to these cases that the victims are told the story. which is, we got the bad guys and put them away. then the story is not true. so in the exoneration process there is all of this reach and before you came in and represented cash in the civil suit that was all this collateral damage. >> how did he spell his first name? k, kash. to have kash register and norman register.
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they were just all over the spectrum with the name game. >> the one thing that i really should say , it is not in the book but, the -- your close examination of many of these witnesses at the hearing that led to the exoneration was really terrific. and any of you that have ever done this postconviction work, you take a look at the record or civil rights lawsuits and you are waiting for the lawyer that can actually ask the questions and control the witnesses and get to the point. it was so good! [laughter] >> is interesting you say that because i was tell my dad the best compliment i ever got that barry scheck said it was the cleanest transcript he'd ever had. >> very true. >> was interesting about that i think and the experience of representing kash at the can also relate this is a public defender we're trained in a mindset that is extremely adversarial. so we see the world really in black and white. when his question of our client
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dying behind bars or getting out, we will do anything. it is basically about challenging and dismantling that case because they are often very rigid and unforgiving and refusing to admit they might have made a mistake. that was my mindset the whole time. i represented kash, cannot bear to meet his mother because my feeling was, it was heartbreaking enough just to have to metabolize a story and get to his direct examination. and i couldn't deal with the pain she experienced much less the pain the victims family had experienced. that have this like crazy encounter in the middle of the retrial where the victims family because it was a murder victim and so the daughter and the cousins whole family had shown up for the retrial and sat in the front row and as a public defender, i ignored them. i was in my head and i thought i'm not going to look at them. and i didn't. then this one day in the middle of a break i went to the bathroom and i was at the back of the line and they were off the front lawn. one of them turned around and
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saw me. and said to the other family members, something stinks in here. and then they all turned around and left. and i was alone in the bathroom. and i realize for the first time the agony they were going through sitting there, believing my client was guilty and they were being dragged through the worst experience of their lives for a second time. in the closing argument, i do the first sort of small restorative justice thing i've ever done. it was to say, i want to acknowledge that the victims family is here and i want to start by acknowledging their pain. it was kind of my first step in seeing that there is another side to this. >> you know, just to put a fine point on kash 's case. how many years did he do? >> 34.>> 34. the reason the city of los angeles gave him more money in the settlement and the largest individual compensation of any one, is that he went before the
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parole board.i can't remember how many times. >> 11. >> but we had tapes of it. and the reason why am going to mention it is that it has a lot to do with the main theme of your book, restorative justice, in mediation, am i allowed to talk about that? i think i can. in the mediation. when you play the tape of an innocent man the absolutely refuses, even though he can walk out the door, if you would just say he was guilty, just look at them and say, it is nelson mandela, and he really has that kind of temperament. >> he does. he comes across exactly the way he is. which is just very steadfast kind of stoic extremely genuine person. and the quote - from him that hangs in my mind from one of these hearings is, a mistake has been made here and no one wants to correct it.
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>> so, in this book, you do a wonderful job of -- it is very cleverly structured, if i may say. in that you start telling the stories of a number of exonerations. and begin to educate people about many of the causes of wrongful convictions. but as you tell the story, a sort of setting it up for the restorative justice moments between wrongfully convicted and the victims. first of all, what you tell not everybody knows what restorative justice is. maybe you can share with that is. >> i didn't know it wasn't till about a couple of years ago. i had no idea what it was. basically it's a different way of thinking about harm and reparation. in our system of justice we asked three basic questions. what crime has been committed, who committed it and what punishment it deserves.
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restorative justice system asks who is harmed? what are their needs? and whose obligation is it to meet the needs? so comes at the idea of an offender and a victim from a place of accountability and repairing harm and renaming the community rather than affixing blame in this kind of zero-sum or binary world that we live in in our traditional adversary system. >> what's most fascinating is the way you were able to frame the journey of the victim of a crime who has testified against somebody that was wrongfully convicted and their transformation and the guilt they suffer. >> yes. this is the other thing that was so fascinating to me that you would think that no one would have less in common than someone who has been wrongfully convicted and sent away and the person that testified against them. what's really interesting is that they share this 360 degree
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view of the system. which of the exonerated person was branded as a perpetrator and revealed to be a victim. the victim was told they were a victim and then let there a series of procedures operating in good faith that made them feel ultimately like a perpetrator because it contributed to someone being sent away. so they can both see it from the same side and from the opposite side and they are in a weird way that the only person the whole world who can understand the catastrophe from both perspectives. >> and there's one great booklet about this, many in the audience might have seen picking cotton. >> yes. >> is a story of jennifer thompson and ronald cotton. but this book really takes it to a step up and some of it, the work that jennifer does with katie munro. when a share with us, you just pick the one that right now, i can ask you to talk about so many of them.
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but -- maybe the haynesworth story would be a good one. >> this story is fascinating because it is so improbable. but what happened with this young woman, actually it's very close to my heart because they literally just came from an event where she was there. now she's obviously no longer 20 years old. what happened to her what happened in 1984. she was working in a daycare center at a church when she was 20. she was opening the church up. some were broken, she was white, it was an african-american man and he raped her at knife point. and like jennifer thompson, she was determined to survive the attack and also be able to comply with what the police were asking and make an identification. it was a serial rapist that inmates had gone into sexually assault four other women. one of those women saw this young man, thomas haynesworth, 18, on the street. he is literally on an errant from his mom to buy sweet potatoes for sunday dinner. he'd never been in trouble in his life. one of the victims said that is
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my rapist. she identified him, he was taken into custody. the police went to john and said we have someone in custody and want to know if you can make an identification. in her mind what happened was, she thought the person is there, i just have to find them. when you look at the mugshots of thomas haynesworth and the actual rapist they are similar. but of course she was not shown the actual rapist. so she picked some of haynesworth insulted all five of the women. so he was charged in five cases and convicted in back to back to back trials. by completely separate people and sentenced to 74 years in prison. janet's case had gone first because she was considered to be the most credible victim. she really was terrified the whole time but believed in her heart she was doing the right thing and protecting other people. when he was sent away she felt like some measure of relief. then it turned out that after he was placed in custody, 12
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more women were attacked. in a very similar matter in the same geographic area and then in december of that year they arrested a man named leon davis junior. and all the attacks stopped. then janice life went on. she believes she did the right thing, she got married and had children. 26 years later she was described today, the police showed up at her house unannounced. and they said there is this thing called dna and we ran these results and we have your rape kit and there is not one chance, and 6.5 billion, that the rapist is anyone other than this guy leon davis. and you made this mistake. and they gave her no warning. her children did not know she was a survivor of sexual assault. in her whole world just collapsed in that instant. then she was left to try and figure out what am i supposed to do now? what's so amazing about john is that she decided i will do everything i can to get him out. and so, i didn't realize actually until sean was talking about it, this is so you and
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peter, should have guessed. there was a stain to educate the people and judges about how unjust this whole thing was. thomas had not just been convicted of raping her but these other convictions that had to be overturned where there was no dna evidence. had to overturn those which was a huge lift because it could not conclusively prove it. jenna ended up being a real advocate. going to the press and anonymously and saying i truly believe i made this horrible mistake. >> oddly enough, there been quite a few other cases like this. it is very strange, you have a rapist in florida, there was another in st. louis and so, there is a whole string of rapes, they're all similar, the unit dna testing postconviction on a whole bunch of them but not all of them. and what really was striking about the haynesworth case, and he should share this with them because -- played a very interesting role.
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that what happens in these cases is, you know sometimes prosecutors will take the position you have to prove all of them beyond doubt. eventually in st. louis and florida and some of these other places, they do eventually capitulate. but not so quickly in this case. maybe if you would share that. >> is a really interesting thing. there are some, should not say luck, there are some prosecutors who really dig down and deny innocence. and that come with as you know these very contorted theories for how it could possibly be that in the dna exoneration case the person is still guilty. and thomas haynesworth case, the attorney general of the state of virginia is this guy, can, the cooch. -- he did not believe in gay marriage, you name a conservative position and he is to the right of that.
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the two commonwealth attorneys whose offices presided over the two remaining rate convictions went to him. without a lot of hope. thinking he would shut them down and say these two eyewitnesses have never taken back their testimony. there is no dna. he is guilty. and instead, to his credit, he spent weeks and months reviewing these cases and concluded he looked at all 18, that had to be the same person and there really wasn't any doubt in his mind. when he looked at the two mugshots side-by-side and saw similes that clinched it for him. as close as assistant could possibly come to restorative justice, he went there and he went before the court of appeals and begged nine justices basically shutting him down and saying, you're not even represent the state, what are you doing here?and him saying i am represented the state because i am a minister of justice and this man is innocent so i am doing my job. because it is virginia they won by one vote.
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it is a lesson in how prosecutors can actually be in some ways the heroes of the story and even more heroically, in the intervening time before when he was paroled and exonerated he was a registered sex offender. and ken's response to him not being able to get a job was to hire him. and the attorney general's office to work there as a registered sex offender which as you can imagine, caused a huge amount of pushback. his feeling was, i think he's innocent why wouldn't i hire him and give him his life back? >> you tell that story wonderfully. one other detail that i would ask you to talk about with the victim, herself. when i think you do so well with her and the others in the book is describing what the sexual assault did to her. in her life. and how you know, it is so difficult to deal with. and that was part of her journey here. >> is interesting because janet was just talking about this
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today. she was saying that for years, she felt responsible because she hadn't in her mind, really reacted quickly enough in time to the fact that the church was being broken into and she had an escape quickly enough in all the things that go through your mind. her boyfriend came there to the trial and look to him and said he's not even that big. which eluded to her, why didn't you fight back? so she blamed yourself. and what she was responsible for the guilty verdict she felt much more confident she'd done the right thing. then all of that was undone when she was told after everything that had happened, that she was wrong. and she describes as complete loss of faith in herself, faith in religion, faith in her own judgment, she talks about how when she meets thomas and they have this like amazing woman together, years after the exoneration when they both at a place where that can psychologically happen for them, he says you know, it's not that i can forgive you, but
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gods love is perfect and god can forgive you and so i can forgive you through that. and she felt this moment of sort of spiritual she talks about the fact that the nature of the continuing relationship which is like a very close, loving friendship where they talk every day has given her reason to believe again. it's like almost a spiritual journey. >> am so glad you mentioned that because it is one of the things i earmarked. because one of the really strange things is, you recount in this book, people are always amazed that somebody that has been in prison for so long and then gets out, is not completely crazed and screaming and yelling and filled with anger. and the answer is that, in order to survive, have to forget and -- have to forgive.
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but here it is. you may want to just read some of this. the exact quote - from ainsworth is pretty extraordinary. >> so, this is their meeting when the two of them finally meet each other. it was broken by the thomas haynesworth attorney for this remarkable woman. sean looked over at thomas, his face expressionless and she wondered how much he could absorbed in the moment. when it was his turn to speak he told her the truth. it was deeply and painful to know he was locked away for almost 3 decades while she'd gone with her life. but he said it was an honest mistake that was made. he had long ago come to see janet as a victim twice over. first, because leon davis had raped her and then because she identified someone else for his crime. haynesworth explained his
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philosophy. he said he had no ill will or desire for vengeance. he said, it's really that go to be free. you can see here and be mad all you want. be bitter all day long. but it will not change the situation. the damage has been done. being a devout christian, meant that while i cannot forgive with my love, i can forgive with gods love. my love is not perfect but gods love is perfect. and i can forgive that. >> so, there are so many stories like this. and they are told so well and you write this so well. but i would like to ask you to describe a little bit more about what jennifer thompson and katie munro, katie is featured in this book. her mother was someone that like so many have been working in the innocence movement, describe what they put together
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and these retreats. >> is very mentioned, jennifer thompson, like jennifer, was someone that had been raped, it was misidentification, very similar income to find that she was mistaken. and then she and exonerated, ronald condon wrote this book together which is called picking common. a lot of people probably heard of it. it was a best-selling book about their journey. the time that they wrote it, i would say their road to reconciliation because they too have this very emotional meeting at a church in then they became lifelong friends. and also, advocates for social justice. so they were able to advocate for changes and i witness and invitation in north carolina now best practices, they have a national platform now and jennifer just testify to california where we passed friendly eyewitness id reform. in any event, i think that jennifer really believed that her story was with ronald was
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somewhat unique. and it was almost like a freak accident of nature. then when picking cotton became the bestseller that it was, she met all of these people like janet who reached out to her. all these survivors and told her this is my story. she realized kind of in retrospect that was she and ronald had done were restorative justice. and they could replicate the model, start a nonprofit and ring people into basically develop the kind of relationships they had been so healing for them. profoundly life-changing. answer jennifer in this woman katie whose mother say was wrongfully convicted of murder, start an organization called healing justice. and it was a huge inspiration for me. i could not have written it without the two of them. and everyone introduced me to. one thing to do is have retreats that last for three days and really beautiful kind of role space. they bring together crime systems, exonerates and family members on both sides and they
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do these restorative justice practices where they sit in a circle and they talk to the harm and everyone gets to talk their story. it is hard to describe because people think that is kind of like a kumbaya handholding thing, which is not. it is super intense and it is very front to be in there. i went to one and there's a lot of pain and anguish and even anger coming out. in the end of it there these bonds that are formed between everyone that went. and they last. and people say, this is the most healing thing that's happened to me and all of these years after my life was upended. >> and i'm so glad you put in this book, jennifer thompson you know, she has gone around the country with the innocence organizations and testifying and she tells her story. and every time i watch it i cry. and i've seen it like 60 times. and every time i see it, you know, she is reliving it and i'm always feeling guilty like,
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how can we put her through this? and you get to the bottom of that and also with darrell. >> right.this is the thing that is so tricky i think for people in the innocence movement. because barry and peter and all people live is to get as many people out as possible. and to educate the public that this is a very serious problem. how serious is it? in 2063 innocent people exonerated every week of the year. and so, a huge part of the work is getting the message out and there is no one who is a more powerful messenger than a sympathetic crime victim who turned out to be completely wrong. and so, for some like jennifer, it is a natural thing to ask, can you come speak to this audience? because there is nothing more convincing than that. more convincing than hearing from you and exonerated. the problem is that is exhausting from the perspective of the victim. and to some degree they feel or can feel someone exploited or
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used and there is a solid piece to it which is their victimization is not being addressed. and i think it's a super tricky thing advocates and the innocence movement because at the end of the day, we have to be down for our clients. and yet, there is this other whole segment of the population victimized in a different way. >> and you do that so beautifully here. bring that to everybody's attention. but going back to restorative justice, i can't remember, did you actually give the -- the contrast between the laws as we -- >> i did. >> you mention restorative justice. okay. so, tell us a little bit about application of these restorative justice principles, not just to crime victims who
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made mistaken identifications or families even, of the victims. but how it's actually being used in other places, new zealand, has been used in the united states and what the success of it is? >> is really interesting. i to brag but my adopted state of california is on the forefront with restorative justice. for so-called guilty people. so basically, it is being used a lot especially in oakland as an alternative to juvenile justice system which as we know can be extremely punitive and a spiral to the school pipeline. so instead of doing oakland is now mandated 100 percent of the schools have to have a restorative justice coordinator and a program in place by 2020. when i think over 50 percent of the schools have it. when the disciplinary cases come up i watched one where a young man had come to school
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and he had a loaded gun in his pocket and he fired up at the ceiling acting accidentally. but as you can imagine normally he would end up going straight into the criminal justice system. instead, the school did this where they brought in restorative justice coordinator, his mother, his biological dad, stepdad, the psychologist and various members of the community. they sat in a circle for three hours and talked about why this happened and some of the root causes and what led him to have this loaded gun and it was interesting that in the beginning, he didn't want to be part of it. he very much resisted opening up in any way. but then by the end of it, he was very emotional and talking about how i mean his mom was struggling and they were on food stamps and if allocated to commit this robbery and get his mom money. and you know having this whole story unfold and instead of his unfolding in front of a judge that was sent him away, it was
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unfolding in the circle people that were promised to be there support him and at the end of the statement of this plan for him and who would be there for him at such and such a time. and then a follow-up later and he successfully graduated from high school and he has a decent job. i'm nothing everyone ends up like cedric. what is a story about how you can use an alternative. anything oakland is really trying to do that more and more. the one final thing i will say is that, which is super interesting, a federal judge in boston, he is trying to do restorative justice for adults charged with really serious federal crimes are going to the federal system and are looking at a lot of time. and with a buy in from this attorneys office and probation department, they pulled him out and put into this super intensive 18 months restorative justice program and the graduation rate is pretty good. the numbers are low because it is new but he travels all over the country trying to convince other federal judges to set it up in their courtrooms. >> i think we are blessed with the uniquely informed audience.
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people from the criminal justice section of the american bar association. >> hi guys! >> come out and so there's a lot of people, but i just really wanted to make sure that people have heard about this sort of justice because you make the case so well here. you know, on a personal level you to -- tell a story. you get to this underlying issues. the restorative justice you describe, is not like just, it is kumbaya. it is very hardheaded. and people are really going to do something about mass incarceration in this country, is not just because we're just going to get rid of all of the low-level people, low-level marijuana arrests. someone has to deal with crimes of violence. and this struck me, and to make a persuasive case, an avenue
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that people ought to pursue and restorative justice is a nice thing to think about given the current climate of what's going on in this country in terms of people not understanding each other and attacking each other. so, i just love this book. thank you. >> thank you. >> so, questions? can we get a microphone? how does that work? no go[inaudbile] >> thank you very much this is been a wonderful discussion and i look forward to reading the book. you mention the experience and the actions of mr. -- you also mentioned three people per week are exonerated in the country. if the experience and the actions of a representative and that circumstances --
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>> a great question. he is pretty atypical. i think part of the reason he was able to do what he did was that he was so far right and it was such a law and order guy that was kind of like bring it on, whatever you want to say about me, you cannot sell my credentials. i find this a middle-of-the-road democratic da that are the most frightened of being seen as being somehow soft on crime or having made a mistake. that said, when i was at loyola for example, and i do not mean to malign anybody who loves los angeles district attorney's office. but we met nothing but resistance in kash's case from beginning, middle and end. it was nothing but resistance even though there was no case left. and it's been true as i understand it, through successive litigation. that said, i feel there is a movement to elect prosecutors. the best example our
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prosecutors running on a platform of we are not even prosecutors. and they were running on a lot of things. on shootings of black men by police officers and also running on this idea of wrongful convictions. and you know, since larry has been elected in philadelphia, their conviction review unit has gone from being a complete and utter joke, joke. to exonerating i think three maybe even four people. so if you look if you get a progressive minded candidate is because they're responding then you can really make a change. and hope we are moving steadily in that direction. >> before we leave that, just because her mother, not just because her mother is in the audience and your dear friend from childhood, morrison had a lot to do with some of the transformation in philadelphia, and not just philadelphia, because the woman that is running the conviction integrity unit probably is the best at this, are among the
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best that we have found, a woman named patricia cummings. he was someone that we found that nina did on a case in texas which was an exoneration that led to changes all over the state of texas. another question? elizabeth. >> already heard -- [inaudible question] >> i'm one of those people. [laughter] i am by nature, very adversarial. an attempt to see things in black and white and it really caught up in my own version of events. and my own version of what is the quote - unquote truth. and when i started looking into
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restorative justice are skeptical but i was looking for answers because what would happen to kash and his mom and i wanted to know what was going to happen. then i start thinking about this and the more he learned about the why aren't we all doing this? in small ways in her own life. so often at the interpersonal relationships or professional relationships we see ourselves as a victim and this other person is a perpetrator and there so often and what happened is so is usually far more complicated than that. also rather than writing people off, seeing them as potential people that we can possibly sit down and have a conversation with and understand, is actually thing a much healthier way of existing in the world. and i think the mentality are talking about which is the mentality i had certainly, i was a federal public defender, is exhausting. and is not a good way to live your life. i think you run out of energy, you run out of a lot of things. i think at the end of the day, recognizing there is a broader
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hostility for understanding and common humanity is just a healthier way to exist in the world. >> i want to have the question of restorative justice being mainstream. -- the context of mental health. juvenile court systems, with these sorts of things, exonerates, it's easy to say that even from a very conservative position, somebody was not guilty of the crime that the person was serving restorative justice but apart from at the edges, apart from the koch brothers in many that agree that maybe there are to be something other than just punishment, what is the real breakthrough to the public which a portion of which is feeling very embattled by crime
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and is buying the message that all really really need to do is be tougher in the end? because ultimately, is the public that needs a support or defeat for restorative justice measures. >> that is true. and i do think in some personal, where long way away from zone being charged with murder in the prosecutor saying will step away from a first-degree mortar charge and have restorative justice circle and then will all gone away. we are not there. but i do think that what happened, and is so interesting is just watching crown heights is wrongful conviction movie. and when you listen to the sound bites from nixon, reagan, bush one, bush two and clinton, they are indistinguishable. it could be the same white man talk about how we need to be imposing larger sentences and i do really believe that we are swinging back now, obviously we
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have jeff sessions and donald trump wilson of local jurisdiction and what they are facing. which is mass incarceration, huge cost, recidivism and nothing working. in california on think jerry brown is a bleeding heart liberal despite what people say about him. he's actually a cheapskate. you also save money. if you tell jerry brown, you can spend at college tuition to send this person to prison or you can try this other thing we've a pilot program and we have an 85 percent success rate. he will take a chance on that. it's only from the standpoint from fiscal conservatism. by thing is interesting, it also appeals to a lot of conservatives, restorative justice is not religious but a lot of people explain it as a deeply religious experience the idea of transformation and it resonates with a lot of people were traditionally more conservative. >>. >> am so glad you asked the question. i think the short answer to it is to read the book. i am being serious because when
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-- the year 2000, we wrote a book called actual innocence which was kind of a primer for setting up the network of innocence projects. the concept was among others, i will never forget the publishers saying this. just look through the shoes, walk in the shoes of the person that is wrongfully convicted and see that and then all of a sudden there is all of these exonerations happening, people across the country begin to think, something is wrong with the criminal justice system. there these problems. let's work on reforming it. because it's from the point of view of the one wrongfully convicted. what this book does, it begins to show us everything from the point of view of all the
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victims. everyone that is a victim and what you call the earthquakes. and so that is what i thought was so spectacular. it does open up the political space for people to start thinking of restorative justice solutions and the hardest cases. the ones with violent crime. >> and maybe clear culpability too. >> absolutely! >> i'm sorry i didn't -- >> no, no! that was good. >> i think you are saying that, right? >> yes. >> i have dealt with victims of serious crimes including murder who wanted everything from the offender to be executed to the offender being completely forgiven. not by the prison necessarily but forgiven. how much should the victims we're talking about -- we are
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not talk about exoneration. how much do the victims and survivors play in this process? >> there is no restorative justice without buy-in from the victim. it just cannot happen. in the case of stuckey met with janet and thomas, sean, the lawyer was saying it was taking the right exonerate in the right victim at the right time. so really can't workb& actually what the victims want. i feel like it is such an important point emphasized that is not like the criminal justice system where we have a rigid process in play and you follow it whether you want to or not. with restorative justice both sides have to come together voluntarily that do this work. >> what about the restorative justice -- [inaudible question]
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>>. >> i found a couple people that went through the system in boston in the had to plead guilty before they went through the restorative justice process. one of them was this guy named bobby fitzgerald who had his family had been entangled in the mafia with whitey bulger. which is strangely topical, rest in peace! [laughter] anyway, bobby spent his whole life in crime and dealing drugs and basically it had been his whole life, and he had always justified it to himself as my crimes are essentially victimless because i don't know where the guards got my money and i go home and i get high. then with the federal court program did was sit him down with a mother, whose son had been killed in a robbery over
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drugs that downstream income from this organized crime organization. with a mother of someone that had overdosed so he was confronted with something he done we had to account for his own behavior and on it. i think that really resonated with him. in a way that nothing else did. so just a confrontation between what you've done, your denial about it and the actual consequences for a lot of people, is that this transformative moment. and if you can get the person to that point and you can get the victim, enough their quote - surrogate victims because they're not direct to come in and speak, it often has profound consequences and there is another woman whose son was murdered and she went to see the man that killed him in prison. she sat down with them and said i know you are getting out. in six or eight years and he took my son. my only child, wait for me. and you owe me.what i want from you is a promise that you will live law-abiding lives in
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you'll never take anybody else away from their mother. and when they got out, she drove them to her son's grave and they stood on the grave together and they promised her that they were going to live law-abiding lives. and they both have. i think it depends on the case. it doesn't always happen but you have these moments are almost like out of body experiences that change people. >> does that make any sense to you? >> yes, i'm just thinking about, then what? >> well, so -- [inaudbile] restorative justice, and they discuss the consequences of the act, now what do you do? >> i think it depends on the
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case. under if you want to jump in barry. the cases i'm talking about, these men served a certain amount of time, right? and then they made this promise about what they were going -- it is about, whose obligation is it to meet the new needs of the victim? she said were her needs were and she says i'm holding you to account to meet my needs. and i expect you to meet them the rest of your life. they promised to spend the rest of their lives doing that. and so that is what's next for them in that particular case. the thing that i think is tricky about restorative justice, is case specific and victims and offenders need and want different things and it doesn't always work. >> was good about in reading the stories, is that when you, there is something liberating about the act of forgiveness. >> yes. >> it is funny because when you see it on the end of the person that is wrongly convicted and
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imprisoned, right? they have this spiritual transcendence and it is not always religious. is that they stop hating. they stop hating the people that put them there and once they do that, they are liberated even though they are behind bars. and what is so fascinating about this book is that you show us the other side. which is the victims of crime. and you know, it was so striking to me to read your descriptions of the victims you know, the family members of the victims and how crime really destroys lives. and all of everybody else in the family and you call it the earthquake, right? and here all of these people that have that happening to them. and it is not necessarily -- just hating the person that did
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this to you is not necessarily good for the people or person to whom it happened. and so that is really what comes home from this. >> i was wondering how we can apply this sort of justice to the rights of the convicted to have some sort of healing. >> i know we talked about examples but you can also downsize it to your own life. and think about what is the most, what is a relationship that really went wrong in your life that just because you also said pain and damage your life and make you angry? and you think about that relationship and you think about a story and how it broke and then you look at this narrative and regatta support did to who there is a place of forgiveness. there is such a relief in that.
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and letting go in our own toxic interpersonal dynamics. then if you bring that out that in a bigger space, i'm not saying every you know, every horrible crime but there are many crimes where the victims, with actually want is acknowledgment and accountability. it's really what they want. for the person to say i heard you, i did this, i am sorry and what can i do to make amends? more than whatever the death penalty, i think that there are other ways for victims to come to a point of reconciliation and this feeling of like freedom that comes from a truly forgiving in your heart instead of becoming a bitter hateful person. >> i think you sort of asthma question but i'm curious about the program you mentioned, what is happening for the 18 months? >> so, they go through, they have these incredibly -- i
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couldn't comply with it.they have to get a job, go to school, report and constantly, drug test, but then they have to do restorative justice workshops on a fairly regular basis where they will sit in a circle with often times, vertical surrogate victims. with a victimless car but i described before they bring in victims of drug and gun crimes and listen to this and engage with that behavior. so with bobby fitzgerald he had to deal with a family of does not just mobsters but addicts and how his father had abandoned him and he abandoned his son. and you're forced to deal with these really fundamental things. one thing that turned bobby around in the 18 months was not just that they put him in a sober living facility. and he couldn't drink or do drugs. but also that he decided he was going to take custody of his son. and he took that on is a responsibility having basically abandoned him.and it made him not just a sober but that he
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shouldn't go to prison even the face of all this time. it depends, that was his particular experience. i was in the federal program, it is extremely rigorous. >> yes, so some of the stories you tell about restorative justice involve faces where someone is guilty or you know, some is exonerated and they got the wrong person but most of the criminal justice system is ambiguous. where someone is may be guilty of something but probably not guilty of what they were charged with. or maybe they were. but it gives a model first restorative justice in a place
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of ambiguity. >> your speaking to a cause close to my heart although i about to step on the third rail in be electrocuted like a new york city rat. but i will say the place where i see this happening is in a lot of these title ix cases. you have these incredibly ambiguous facts. so my clinic, we represent students have been accused of sexual assault and in different circumstances. every single one, with funds at the end of the day, everyone's life is basically ruined through a process that is adversarial and just awful. and i think everything of time, what if we had tried restorative justice? at least tried it? and schools don't. but i do think that is one of the, one of the factual situations where it actually could work, to the benefit of both parties. i just went to court for a client and we won. it was the end of the day after three days in trial, the judge basically said, this is one of the most destructive things i've ever seen in these two people are just so damaged and the finding is made not out of joy but because there is no evidence to support it by the
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standard and you know, i just wish none of us had to be here. and in my head i was like yeah, i wish we didn't have to be there either. it was painful! yeah. >> just to follow up on that, i totally agree with you. and as far as mediation on campus is concerned, i think the obama administration is saying that there can be none with a real problem but i wanted to ask you before you raise the question, in cases i have seen where they use restorative justice on campus, there is a little bit of distortion and it in that it is based on him saying yes, i did what you said i did. and there is an interesting example that was broadcast.
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there was a kind of mediator and she turned and the each describe the situation. it was extremely ambiguous. both of them did not really remember what had happened and you know so there's no clear story but the mediator at the end turned to the boy and said, is the time you used the word to say what you are. and he said, yes, i am a rapist. and i think that can be terribly concerning in a situation where you have someone in kind of this administrative setting being forced to admit to a crime in order not to go through a title ix process. >> i agree. and barry and i were just talking about this. we just had a client that basically they run a pleat just we can get out of 30 years. and it's a similar thing, he does want to get out and you will say some that is not true. and is a total perversion of restorative justice. the problem with my fantasy is that schools are not very good at implementing the regular ã
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the restorative justice programs that don't work is because the people implementing don't know what they are doing. so what you are describing someone that doesn't know what they're doing because that is not what restorative justice is. for it to work you have to have people that are competent on the ground and it's a big asking a lot of schools. >> and of course with our clients you know, the innocence who you know kash register. you know you see somebody, the whereabouts or exonerate somebody who had to go before those parole boards and deny, deny, deny. and then finally, you know with his father dying, you know, got everybody in the family to write letters and say, all yeah, i was a crack addict and you know, that is why i committed this crime. nothing could have been further from the truth.
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so you are so right about the ambiguous fact situation. but -- well, yes. >> i was wondering if you can say little bit about the exonerate will actually were coerced into making confessions to crimes they didn't commit. i think is one of the fascinating things in the book of so many people actually confess to something that they didn't do. you hear them saying i'm innocent, but it is just impossible to imagine that you would admit you do something and you confessed to a crime that you didn't commit then on the same note, to the criminal justice system and how you are making yourself accountable for correcting people. >> this is actually good thing to talk about. the case that really comes to mind is the case in philadelphia. it was in elderly woman raped
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and murdered in her home in north philadelphia. her niece was a philadelphia police officer and there was a big push to get this person. a day later they arrested a guy, a 20-year-old, 20 right. the philadelphia police, because of a culture put in place by the police chief and the mayor, they were basically trained to beat confessions out of sub specs. particularly black suspects that lives they saw as being disposable. what they said to 20 right excludes my languages, we will poke your eyes out and skull fuck you. they explained to him that he would get the death penalty and he signed the statement after hours that they'd written out for him. and that was a statement that was used to convict him and condemn him. and it was those kind of practices in chicago under this horrible guy jon burge i think finally died. but really the way to get to the truth is to beat people or threatened them to the point
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where they really think they are going to die. extract these confections and then say to the jury, no reasonable person would confess to raping and murdering a 77-year-old woman. obviously, they are guilty. was interesting about tony's case i think is that the victims grandniece ultimately after reading about the case kind of realized, my god, he was coerced! and she said in this letter that she wrote to the da which is so moving, he could have been my nephew. i have a nephew that is 20 he was african-american and i can see him this position. i can seeing him so easily doing this and it was a way of her getting to the point of, you know she'd been one of the people advocating for 20 right to be executed. she was able to come to the point of view of, it's possible for the police to be so corrosive and vicious that people will falsely confess. but for most americans it's a foreign concept. and we believe if you feel you're doing something that horrible you likely did it. >> i just want to add, and i think barry can testify to this from his own voluminous
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experience. i don't think people realize how common false confessions are. and they don't necessarily have to be beaten out of you. if you give me another time and enough resources, i can get either one of you or anyone else in the room to confess to being a martian invader. i mean, it is not that hard if you know what you're doing and have enough time and resources to where the person done enough. it is certainly very common. >> yes, and i should say, you can be young, kids are incredibly susceptible. i never understand this but my juvenile clients was a i just said this so they can send me home. and i said in what universe did you think you would go home? but they think they are going home. >> interrogation process is designed to make them come to that point. >> yes. >> ellen? >> . [inaudible question]
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>> there's a disconnect between document exoneration, innocent people, the reasons innocent people get convicted and the daily practice of criminal law with prosecutors and defenders, right? it doesn't necessarily translate that if you are prosecutor looking at a case, not in hindsight but going forward that this could be a confession or the same thing is true for a defender. you have yet another case in the day.and this you will really believe them. we are teaching people the same things that we taught them 30 years ago before innocence. so other than electing new prosecutors, which we are doing a relatively good job of, what is your reaction to this? >> yes, that's a really great question. because i think i've been in that boat of your client saying, or sean actually, the attorney was saying we are giving the presentation, thomas had told her the story that
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he'd been in jail with leon davis junior, the real rapist. and when they were charged in subsequent crimes, he said hey, we come to court and sit next to me because we look so much alike, the victim in my case will be -- won't be able to figure out your life is over i can stick it out. and she said when he told him that she was writing it down and wrote a note to herself, obviously, not true. ... it's hard. >> that's actually one of the great challenges. we really have to rework the
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rules to protect against bias. if you play by the rules and tried to keep an open mind, investigations, prosecutor or lawyer, it helps. this is heretical thought. but because when i went there with saying that, if i had to rework legal education and clinics in the united states, i would give people their tuition money back if they were two years prosecutor and then look the next two years as defense lawyer and vice versa. it's i don't think, i think too much of this is tribal and within my limited life in the law, i have seen that defenders
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and prosecutors, they get these jobs and stay there. they don't go out on the other side and i don't think that's good. i don't that's good for the profession, i don't think that's generally speaking, good for the way people look at things. you and then chris. i'm sorry. >> i to say to you, i think that the one big thing that we are missing is all of this, the impact that trial judges can have when hearing the cases if you have the experience of the culture, every one should have to read your book and have to know that there are people that are innocent, that are coming in the court that do get confessions, false confessions. and every investigator is not the best in perfect.
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if you keep your mind open and no a can happen, because you work as a former prosecutor or what have you, they will see that. then you build what is comfortable and you are more open and on alert. we need to educate those that are working in the system. these things are happening daily. people know, people don't know. >> that is really true. one of the things that was so affirming to me, the judge who got the case, she had never ever granted this position in 30 years. it was not, it was a jail house war but it was compelling enough that she got something was wrong. then the whole time, i just noted her, it wasn't one of those judges were there like checking her e-mail or eating a bunch of things, she would completely focus on us the entire time. the second day she called us up to the bench and said the prosecutor, you think he is guilty? the prosecutor said, they said
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he was guilty 1979. that's not what i'm asking you. what are we doing here? that's when i knew it was over. she signaled, there's no way i'm going to uphold this conviction. it seemed like she had really made this effort to reeducate herself. i felt that happening. she was very interactive during the trial, taking over the questioning. it was clear she was reading, thinking about things and she was like the model for me. somebody a career prosecutor was not inclined to believe any of this. something was not right here. i'm going to educate myself. then was very brave. >> in the end, she actually made a ruling, i was there the day she made a ruling that he was innocent. [laughter] >> you get to impose everybody.
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>> i'm prosecutor and worked with prosecutors on the country, i think there has been a change. i think there has been a key change among us prosecutors. they are intensely aware of this potential of innocence. i think we are benefited by a number of innovations, which you have proposed and you and i debated through the years. i also agree with it. we have seen interrogations on videotape, we watched the police working on body cameras, we are highly learning for more than we ever knew. i don't think people really understand the degree of our relationship with the police. it is not a rubberstamp. it is not, far more contentious than people understand. there is, i work with them all
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across the country. i'm sitting next to kim from kansas. we are intensely aware of the potential for innocence. it is for us, a great tragedy that there could be. we have a tremendous high burden and it is difficult for us. very emotional for us. from when i started the prosecutor, our world is different. i have to think him for bringing along, a lot of this to our attention. i do think of them, there is a change in the way prosecutors are doing their work. >> let me say, thank you to that. i do agree with you. there are all these progressive people being elected -- >> it's not the progressives -- >> i understand. i think it's a misconception, people should go back and look at the people in office and they
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are really changing their policies and the ones that we are most in the mid- innocence movements, when it is done correctly is these conviction integrity units and when -- but it's a different idea. it's not for everybody. the lawyers should bring the client in, think they will have this issue -- >> the dna test shows. >> so many of these are not dna. but when you have this process, where it is a joint search for the truth, you literally sign an agreement and say, here is my work product. you get the entire prosecutors file. with all the work product, and certain identifiers, all the
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work product in both sides sitdown, both conviction and say, what's in investigate plan, what experts can we agree on? which witness should be talked to first and you go step-by-step and you either agree that somebody is innocent or there was a constitutional violation, you agree it didn't happen or if you disagree, reasonable people can disagree. then you go to the judge and sell it. that model is really different. the post conviction conflicts that were not adversaries and i do see that this strengthens your point. that when people go through that, they begin to look at cases and begin to look at the system differently so to me, that's a very encouraging experience to see that and it's not just legal democrats. we have republican prosecutor in jacksonville, florida.
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>> in the county, sharon. >> sharon. >> i do, i think part of it, too, is -- and i will shamelessly say, only my dad will ever read, the idea is that you have to change the narrative about what it means to be a good prosecutor. if you look at the prosecutors obligations, it could be administer justice. that means they speak the truth even when it's inconvenient. too often, i think they are penalized for that or are being told they will be seen as weak or if you want that guy out, welch did you screw up with? there's an idea that this political suicide is a bad idea to conceive error. the more they hold people up as heroic into the right thing, like sharon or name your person, democrat or republican, cross
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racial, it doesn't matter. they are holding onto the principle that i'm here for the state of justice, i'm not here to hold on to a conviction no matter what. the more i think we will normalize bravery or normalize the idea that it's right in just two and braced obligation. it's political capital. >> i think this is it. this was a great discussion. it's been a wonderful audience. it's a wonderful book. [cheering] [applause] [applause] >> thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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>> you are watching tv on c-span2. television for serious readers. his tonight prime time went up. 6:10 p.m. eastern, liberty university was professor karen pryor. talks about the value in reading great nurture. at 7:00 p.m., gregory recounts his time as chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission. they, the see a meeting of the fremont's book club at the washington d.c. jail. it connects inmates with contemporary literature. and i'm tvs afterwards program at 10:00 p.m., from trump administration's strategist sebastian, offers his thoughts on how the u.s. can strengthen its national security. we wrap up our prime time programming at 11:00 p.m. white house reporter, april, she


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