Dependable Erection

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oh, dear

A 26-year-old secret could free inmate
For nearly 26 years, the affidavit was sealed in an envelope and stored in a locked box, tucked away with the lawyer's passport and will. Sometimes he stashed the box in his bedroom closet, other times under his bed.

It stayed there — year after year, decade after decade.

Then, about two years ago, Dale Coventry, the box's owner, got a call from his former colleague, W. Jamie Kunz. Both were once public defenders. They hadn't talked in a decade.

"We're both getting on in years," Kunz said. "We ought to do something with that affidavit to make sure it's not wasted in case we both leave this good Earth."

Coventry assured him it was in a safe place. He found it in the fireproof metal box, but didn't read it. He didn't need to. He was reminded of the case every time he heard that a wronged prisoner had been freed.

In January, Kunz called again. This time, he had news: A man both lawyers had represented long ago in the murder of two police officers, Andrew Wilson, had died in prison.

Kunz asked Coventry to get the affidavit.

"It's in a sealed envelope," Coventry said.

"Open it," Kunz said, impatiently.

And so, Coventry began reading aloud the five-line declaration the lawyers had written more than a quarter-century before:
An innocent man was behind bars. His name was Alton Logan. He did not kill a security guard in a McDonald's restaurant in January 1982.

"In fact," the document said, "another person was responsible."

The Hippocratic Oath that all doctors take says "I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone." Maybe the legal profession needs to rethink certain aspects of lawyer-client confidentiality? How could anyone let something like this happen?

Noting, of course, that this still doesn't rise to the level of The Worst Injustice in the History of the World™. But you gotta admit it's pretty close, no?

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2 Comments:

  • Like Reade Seligmann said, he couldn't imagine what happens to people who don't have the legal resources he did.

    By Blogger Joey7777, at 4:24 AM  

  • When you have google, you don't need imagination.

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:00 AM  

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