Friends of Justice

John Kinsel is going on his twelfth year at Angola prison. Locked up on the charge of aggravated rape, his sentence is for life without parole.

By Alan Bean

The judicial system doesn’t like recantations.  When a witness recants you know they are capable of lying.  But when did they lie; at trial or after trial? 

Motivation is always difficult to determine.  Is the witness changing her story because of a guilty conscience, or is she merely succumbing to social pressure?

And then there’s the big issue: judicial credibility.  The criminal justice system is only as credible as the state witnesses who take the stand.  Prosecutors can’t acknowledge that a star witness lied under oath without calling the accuracy and finality of the judicial process into question.  Lying witnesses don’t invalidate the system, of course; but they do undermine confidence in legal outcomes.  

As Caiaphas told the Sanhedrin in John’s Gospel: “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”

The tragic story of John Kinsel illustrates how…

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