The recent execution of Troy Davis last week, despite considerable proof that he may not have committed the murder he was convicted of–including recantations by primary eyewitnesses of their testimony and a lack of direct physical evidence linking him to the crime–reminded me of John Grisham’s excellent and eerily prescient fiction novel The Confession. Only this was much scarier because this was real life, and a man may actually have died at the hands of an imperfect justice system that refused to grant him a new trial despite overwhelming doubt of his guilt. If innocent men can become victims of and lose their lives at the hands of what is supposedly the best justice system in the world, what chances do undocumented and out-of-status aliens have? It is a sad but unfortunate fact that immigration proceedings are civil in nature and believe it not, someone accused of a criminal offense has more rights in this country than someone who may be “illegal” even though he/she has not been accused of breaking any criminal laws and may have innocently run afoul of an immigration law that is stretched across and regulated by a multitude of arcane statutes, regulations, court decisions, and policies that sometimes conflict!
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