By Maurice Collada In a matter of two weeks Chris Smith was wrongly convicted of two crimes in two separate trials. Both crimes involved attempted rape, actual rape, robbery, and brutal assault. According to the justice system, Mr. Smith was a sexually deviant monster. He was sentenced to forty years for the crimes. He maintained his innocence despite the opportunity to receive parole earlier in return for admitting guilt and taking responsibility. He maintained his innocence despite being offered to participate in a sexual predator rehabilitation program. He endured decades of being in prison categorized as a rapist; the lowest in the hierarchy of felonies within the prison culture. After twenty-two years in prison, DNA evidence exonerated Mr. Smith. The question we must ask ourselves is how this happened. Our legal system failed. Why did it fail? How did it fail? The Innocence Project alone has helped to exonerate 200
By: Mark G. Riley Over the past few months, I have heard more and more references to tort reform in the Washington healthcare debate. News sources seem to pump out endless stories about how such reform is being considered by Senator X and Representative Y as a possible way the Democrats might appease the Republicans and pass a bipartisan bill. At the heart of the issue, Republicans argue that healthcare costs will decline if we cap non-economic damages in our civil tort system (e.g., pain and suffering). Thinking logically, this makes sense. Less money in payouts to patients will directly translate to savings for the companies that insure the hospitals. Will this translate into insurance companies lowering their rates? That’s where the line of logic ends, and we enter into the world of the hypothetical. The truth is, nobody really knows if capping damages will lower healthcare costs for consumers.