Mar 3, 2003
Joseph Amrine, a death row inmate accused of killing another prisoner while serving time for burglary, has called for a new trial based on new evidence, as his conviction was based only on the testimony of three convicts, all of whom have since recanted their testimony.
During Amrine's hearing before the Missouri Supreme Court, two judges questioned the assistant states' attorney, Frank Jung, who was asking the court to deny Amrine the right to a new trial.
One judge asked, "Are you suggesting that even if we find Mr. Amrine innocent, he should be executed?" Jung replied, "That's correct, your honor."
The other judge asked, "If we find DNA evidence absolutely excludes somebody as the murderer, then must we execute them anyway if we can't find an underlying constitutional violation at their trial?"
Jung again replied, "That's correct, your honor."
Reporters questioned Jung's boss about his incredible statements. Attorney General Nixon backed Jung up, saying his response was a "legally correct answer."
Indeed it was! The legal system in this country is not a system of justice, which would put the highest priority on exonerating the innocent; it's a system of getting guilty verdicts, no matter what. Always has been. But hardly ever do we hear it admitted in court!