Survivor of Rape Supports Reauthorization of Justice for All Act
Date:  10-30-2014

Outrage and anger turns into despair when person she helped convict is found to be innocent ten years later
There are victims of crimes and sometimes there are victims of victims of crimes. Such is the case of Ronald Cotton who was accused of raping Jennifer Thompson in 1984. An Innocence Project feature on Ronald Cotton’s case explains how the victim misidentified Cotton and how the Court failed him. But fortunately for Cotton and his accuser, justice prevailed albeit ten years later. Jennifer Thompson wrote a well received book about the case called Picking Cotton. Thompson made the round of talk shows, not to so much to publicize the book, but to publicize how innocent people can be incarcerated and sometimes put to death due to flawed eye witness identification, inaccurate forensic findings and failures of courts to allow crucial evidence to be submitted.

Thompson took a very public role in asking for Ronald Cotton’s forgiveness for causing him to spend 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. And now she is campaigning to help other people like Ronald Cotton who are incarcerated although innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.

Thompson is raising awareness of the importance of getting the Justice for All Act 2004 reauthorized. The Act was created, “To protect crime victims’ rights, to eliminate the substantial backlog of DNA samples collected from crime scenes and convicted offenders, to improve and expand the DNA testing capacity of Federal, State, and local crime laboratories, to increase research and development of new DNA testing technologies, to develop new training programs regarding the collection and use of DNA evidence, to provide post conviction testing of DNA evidence to exonerate the innocent, to improve the performance of counsel in State capital cases, and for other purposes.”

We all want to assure victims of crimes receive justice, but sometimes we might forget that everyone in prison is not always guilty and that we must do all that we can to make sure they, too, receive justice sooner, rather than later. Read more.