Janet Uhlar | Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

The Truth Be Damned was written in response to the depth of corruption within Boston’s Department of Justice, which I witnessed first hand as a juror in the trial of Irish mob boss Whitey Bulger. Yes, Bulger was found guilty of most of the charges, but this did not justify the orchestrated trial (the fact that Bulger wanted to plead guilty to all charges and accept an expedited sentence, even death, should have been enough to dismiss the multi-million dollar trial all together!)

Why do I care? Because our judicial system was built upon the foundation of blood and sacrifice freely offered by men and women who understood the supreme importance of a just and fair court. If the right of a fair trial can be denied to one citizen, no matter how heinous his or her alleged crimes may be, that right can be denied to all.

Since the publication of The Truth Be Damned, I have received numerous letters from those within the prison system — state and federal — as well as those released. These individuals share a similar story — corruption within the judicial system. Each of them thank me for being willing to speak about this corruption.

We see it all around us — people arrested, their alleged crimes posted in the local newspapers, they are treated by the court and society as guilty until proven innocent. Once charged with an alleged crime, they often have to pay thousands in court and legal fees to prove their innocence. And, all too often, they never do. Lives are ruined; families destroyed, and, the corruption continues. That is why organizations like the Innocence Project are being created nationwide.

I recommend reading Blind Injustice by former Assistant US Attorney Mark Godsey. It was recommended to me by one of my pen pals in a federal prison. It’s time for serious county, state, and federal judicial and prison reform!

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