Letters to the Editor

September 2, 2014

Christine Mumma: Pursuing justice

Regarding the Aug. 31 news article “DNA evidence may free 2 in major Robeson case”: There are many important lessons to be learned from the Brown and McCollum cases: the importance of the work of the Innocence Inquiry Commission, including the access and objective authority it has; the value of the national DNA data bank for solving crimes and investigating credible claims of innocence; the importance of recording interrogations, uninterrupted from start to finish; the fact that even when so many have so much confidence in a conviction, we remain human; and, very important, that the prosecutor is the “minister of justice” and justice may not stop after a conviction.

Regarding the Aug. 31 news article “ DNA evidence may free 2 in major Robeson case”: There are many important lessons to be learned from the Brown and McCollum cases: the importance of the work of the Innocence Inquiry Commission, including the access and objective authority it has; the value of the national DNA data bank for solving crimes and investigating credible claims of innocence; the importance of recording interrogations, uninterrupted from start to finish; the fact that even when so many have so much confidence in a conviction, we remain human; and, very important, that the prosecutor is the “minister of justice” and justice may not stop after a conviction.

Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt is providing a professional and respectable approach to these cases that should serve as a role model for others. The Innocence Inquiry Commission was established in 2006 (not 2002) in large part through the leadership of former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr. and his criminal justice study commission.

There is much work to be done, and there is a need for our new Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin to recall the study commission that was so important in advancing the cause of justice in North Carolina, for the guilty, the innocent and the victims of crime.

Christine Mumma, Executive director, N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, Durham

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