Jail Pass

In 1996, a 19-year-old man was arrested, and charged with murder. Although, the man claimed he was innocent, he was convicted of the crime, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 2006, after serving ten years of his sentence, a man came forward with an incredible story, that he, in fact, was the person that committed the crime, and the wrong man had been in prison for the past ten years.

After an intense investigation, it was concluded that the man was, in fact, telling the truth; he committed the crime. He had too many details of the crime that were never released to the public, and could answer questions, that, until now, remained unanswered.

After a short trial, this man was convicted of the crime, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The 19-year-old man (now 29) that was wrongly imprisoned was released the next day. He was issued a formal apology, and was given a check for a measly $5,000, to help him start a new life, and find a job.

Shortly after the man’s release from prison, a third man came to the police department, and confessed that he, and the now 29-year-old man, committed a robbery, in 1993. So, after being released for only 6 days, the 29-year-old man found himself arrested once again, and back in the court room. After a trial that lasted 5 weeks, and all the evidence was presented, along with a confession from both men, they were both convicted of the robbery.

The third man was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his part, and the 29-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison, for his part in the crime. Now, the 29-year-old man obtains a lawyer, and asks to have his case dismissed. His lawyer presents the argument that he should be released from prison. His sentence is ten years for the robbery; however, he has already spent ten years in prison for a crime that he was acquitted of committing.

The victims of the robbery seek justice, and want both men placed in prison.

Critical Thinking

  • What does the judge do?
    • How does he decide the fate of the 29-year-old man?
    • Should the man remain in prison, and serve his ten-year sentence, or should the previous ten years that he served for a crime that he didn’t commit, be applied to his current sentence? It was a sentence for a different crime, but he was wrongly convicted because of a failure in the justice system.
  • Should the man be required to give away another ten years of his life, or should the system give him a break, and set him free, with time paid?
  • Should the judge give him a jail pass?
  • Would it even be legal, for the judge to give him a jail pass?

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