NWR: discussion for our PW attorneys
I am an attorney in Florida--just so you know where I'm coming from. I like to watch law shows on tv like law and order, though I sometimes disagree with what they say is the law, etc. Last night, my husband and I watched Law and Order SVU. I was very disturbed by the representation made to the American public by the very end of the show:
A man was in prison for a rape that the cops found out was committed by another. The real perpetrator was caught and confessed on tape--with his lawyer present (no constitutional issues). The real perpetrator then killed himself. The ADA on the show stated that nothing could be done for the innocent man who was sitting in prison because no court would accept the hearsay tape as proof that the innocent man did not rape the girl. The rules of evidence would basically make the innocent man serve another 15 years in prison.
I understand that sometimes innocents are put in jail wrongly. What bothered me was the representation that nothing could be done to spring the innocent man. That is not the case in Florida as we have postconviction remedies to correct illegal or incorrect sentences.
What about in your state? What would be the outcome of the above scenario? Would the innocent man really serve another 15 years in prison????