You Might Go to Prison, Even Though You’re Innocent, and Junior ROTC In High Schools: Pressure To Join

You Might Go to Prison, Even Though You’re Innocent

There is a common belief that if you’re arrested, you are probably guilty because where there’s smoke, there’s fire. People assume that only the guilty confess to crimes because why would an innocent person confess to a crime they didn’t commit? And when a person pleads guilty or is convicted by a jury, that’s the end of the matter, in the minds of most people.

In fact, many innocent people are arrested, especially people of color, due to racial profiling and other forms of discrimination by law enforcement. Implicit bias often infects the case as it moves through the criminal legal system ” from the initial police stop, to interrogation, arrest, charging, trial and sentencing. This is particularly tragic when a person is charged with a capital crime for which the death penalty is imposed and that sentence is carried out.

However, it is estimated that 10,000 to 20,000 people are currently serving time in prison after being convicted of crimes they did not commit, largely due to prosecutorial misconduct and police misconduct. Unfortunately, even when exonerated, the psychological and physical damage done is so extensive that many people are never able to fully recover from the trauma. In addition, when the wrongful conviction is solely the result of prosecutorial misconduct, those convicted have no legal recourse to be compensated for the wrong done to them because of prosecutorial immunity.

Guest – Justin Brooks criminal defense attorney and law professor has spent decades working to free innocent people from prison. The Founding Director of the California Innocence Project, Brooks is the author of the provocative new book, You Might Go to Prison, Even Though You’re Innocent. In it, he discusses false identifications, junk science, lying snitches, and incompetent defense lawyers ” which too often lead to the imprisonment of innocent people.


Junior ROTC In High Schools: Pressure To Join

On her first day of high school, Andreya Thomas and several other freshmen at Detroit’s Pershing High School learned they were enrolled in a class called J.R.O.T.C., or Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. School administrators told them the program was mandatory.

Funded by the U.S. military, the program required students to wear military uniforms in class, recite patriotic declarations, and obey orders from an instructor who often yelled at them. When several tried to drop the class, school officials refused permission, even though the Pentagon says that requiring students to take the programs runs counter to its guidelines. The New York Times recently learned that thousands of public-school students were enrolled in J.R.O.T.C. either as a requirement or through automatic enrollment. Most of the schools with high enrollment numbers were attended largely by nonwhite students and those from low-income households.

Critics of Junior ROTC say that the programs militaristic discipline prioritizes obedience over independence and critical thinking. And as we reported earlier on Law and Disorder, and now noted by the Times, the programs textbooks often rewrite or downplay the failings of the U.S. government. With its concentration in schools with low-income and nonwhite students, some claim J.R.O.T.C. encourages students to enlist in the military rather than explore other routes to college or jobs in the civilian economy.

Guest – Rick Jahnkow works for two San Diego-based anti-militarist organizations, the Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities, or YANO, and the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft. We spoke earlier with Rick about YANOs J.R.O.T.C. textbook review project.

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