Upgrading Justice Essay, Research Paper
Taylor E. Schuss
31 August 2000
What is justice? By definition the word Justice can mean different things. To most Americans, justice is when someone who has committed a crime goes before a judge or a jury of his or her peers and is punished for their actions. At the same time injustice can occur in the same settings. For some Americans justice is served as long as someone is behind bars or convulsing violently in an electric chair. American justice being as blind as it is has made long strides and by added technology to its arsenal.
Many people today have technology to thank for their freedom. One such person is Mr. Rene Daye of San Diego. In 1984 Mr. Daye was convicted of Kidnapping, robbery, and rape(Pursuing Justice pg.8). Two eyewitnesses as well as the victim identified Mr. Daye. His description matched that of the attacker: gold front tooth, height, weights and race (Pursuing Justice pg.8). A jury found Mr. Daye guilty as charged and sentenced him to life in prison. To the victim justice was definitely served. The jurors most likely went home that night feeling a little better about the world. Justice had been served; another dangerous man was behind bars.
After spending ten years in the Solano state prison, Mr. Daye was released from prison. It took ten years for technology to catch up to justice, and allow for DNA testing to be used as admissible evidence in court. In September of 1994 Mr. Rene Daye was proven innocent of all charges, after DNA samples showed that Mr. Daye could not have been the attacker(Pursuing Justice pg.8). Mr. Daye held no grudge against the American justice system. If anything, one could assume that he would have thanked them for upgrading their systems, which allowed for DNA testing, which ultimately allowed for his release.
The one man Mr. Daye should really be thanking is District Attorney Paul Pfingst. District attorney Pfingst was a pioneer in the nineties for being one of the only DA’s in the country to order reviews of any cases in which DNA testing could be used to determine the truth. Over five hundred cases were found in the review.
DNA testing is definitely the powerhouse weapon in the fight for justice. Not only has it brought the American justice system up to speed “it has totally revolutionized the inclusive art of criminal identification in the past decade.”(Pursuing Justice pg. 8) Basically DNA testing is the best scientific evidence available to us today.
In the past the American justice system has shown that it too is not in any way a perfect thing. A good example would be the case of Mr. Rene Daye, accused of crimes he did not commit, and sentenced to a life he did not deserve. Yet, through technology and the struggle of one San Diego district attorney Mr. Daye was set free. It is unfortunate that errors occur in the American justice system. It is upsetting to know that Mr. Daye could no way be the only innocent man to live within prison walls. One can only assume that there are others who rot away to nothing in prison due to a lack of evidence. DNA testing gains more and more support with Bills being sent to congress to make it less difficult for inmates to be DNA tested. Its is the hope of many that justice not be blind. For now most will settle for near sightedness.
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