images retrieved from open web search “Derrick Hamilton wrongly convicted”
Thanks to http://ow.ly/Qjh5301iPB0 for the powerful read on Derrick Hamilton. My comments follow…
It is amazing, and sad, how the greatest country in the world, these United States, could possess a legal system so backwards as to allow free men and women to go to jail and prison for crimes they have not committed.
To say that it only happens in rare cases is as far from the truth as New York is to California – far, far away.
I feel very lucky to have read about Derrick Hamilton today. But I’m also angered at the fact that it’s been nearly 5 years since Hamilton won (painfully earned) his freedom – why am I only hearing about this man and his wrongful convictions now?
Hamilton became a self-educated student of the US legal system while serving time in various prisons throughout the country. Often times, this man, known to be a fantastic student in his elementary school days, served time in solitary confinement alone and away from the already cruel world of maximum security penitentiary life. But to read that he was put there by police detectives who “didn’t care if he did it (murder for which Hamilton plead not innocent)” is horrifying.
As I read about Hamilton spending countless years in prison and solitary confinement, knowing that this story was about him being wrongly accused and convicted, I asked myself:
Why do we allow false confessions to stand in court?
Why do we not believe in the innocent?
How can we expose corrupt police officers and lawyers/judges?
Hamilton’s story is powerful he finally emerges victorious against multiple murder convictions for which he was eventually proven innocent. But what is sickening is that he met other men with whom he served that were also sent off to prison for murders they, too, did not commit. All this done by the work of crooked cops, namely Louis Scarcella, in particular, who used threats and intimidation tactics to coerce witnesses to lie in their cases, as well as Hamilton’s. How can you withstand the heavy burden that the state leverages against you when they are dead set on an agenda to convict the innocent?
In my humble opinion, Derrick Hamilton is a hero to be celebrated for leveraging his own agenda against the state to win back the freedom that our justice system stole from him beginning at the age of 17. He never gave up, and instead, became a powerful pro-se litigator after learning “jailhouse law” while incarcerated. Hamilton helped expose the corrupt detective whose testimony had wrongfully put him in prison, as well as many others who had fatefully crossed paths with that dirty cop.
It is worth mentioning that Hamilton was aided by the Conviction Integrity Unit, a project created in 2011 by a Brooklyn, New York District Attorney that re-investigated the work done by police in conviction cases. Louis Scarcella, whose name I get sick typing, had at least 71 investigations reviewed in search of his misconduct, including many cases in which he used the same witness to solidify his investigations.
Who was the witness? A prostitute who also had an affinity for dependence on crack cocaine and could be manipulated by Scarcella, as he did with many other witnesses.
To end, I have to ask myself, “What would I do if I was arrested, tried, and convicted for murders (plural) I did not commit and sent to rot in solitary confinement like Derrick Hamilton?” The truth is that I’m not exactly sure if I’d have the will and strength of Hamilton to endure.