Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reading Assignment Three

Salutations! In my third post about "The Innocent Man," I would like to focus on a crutial group of characters in this story: the police officers who both investigated the crimes, and those who interrogated Tommy Ward. Tommy Ward was convicted of the murder of a woman named Denice Haraway, who was abducted from her job as a convenient store clerk not very long after the murder of Debbie Carter. Her body was never found. There were also almost no clues to help find her. Tommy Ward was falsely accused and convicted of her murder. You might ask," How could that be?" Well, Tommy was brought in for questioning by the police... and remained in their custody for over 8 hours. His interrogation is documented on film, but what is not seen on that film is the 5 hours of screaming and insults he experienced. Ward turned off the camera filming this, thinking it was against his constitutional rights. If those 5 hours had been filmed, his fate would be completely different. Tommy "confessed" to dreaming up the murder, but only to play along with the officers... to make them stop abusing him. Tommy confessed to the crime: the crime he did not commit. Confessions taken by threats or coerced conditions are discounted in court. Tommy's confession would have been almost surely discounted. This irks me, but what just drives me nuts is the behavior of those police officers!!!! They verbally abused him! Not okay! And because of their threats, Tommy confessed. Tommy was convicted of murdering Deniece Haraway. He was sentenced to Death Row. Death Row. Eek. After reading this passage about him, I got shivers down my spine. Tommy didn't deserve this. And my heart ached for him at the same time it wanted to shout at the interrogating officers. Sadly, these are not the only officers who make misteps in the judicial system.


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