Friday, June 05, 2009

Justice delayed, justice denied

A man wrongly imprisoned for murdering a 4-year old has been released from prison. As is commonly the case, he had "voluntarily"confessed to the crime, but later withdrew the confession. Since the criminal justice system had locked up the wrong guy, they have so far missed out on searching for the real killer whom we might assume is still running around free. Since there is a statute of limitations even for murder in Japan, the 17 years that have passed may be very significant if they are counted towards the 25 year limit.

"I'll never forgive the real culprit, even if the statute of limitations expires," Toshikazu Sugaya, 62, told reporters in Chiba after his release. "From now on, I will work to support people who have also been (wrongfully) convicted."

Manabu Sasamori, a lawyer in Sugaya's defense team, slammed the prosecutors, saying: "It is only natural that he be released. Actually, this step came too late."...The prosecutors will probably admit they forced a confession out of Sugaya once his retrial begins, Sasamori added. [His conviction is expected to be overturned in retrial] Japan Times

Perhaps this sort of thing might be prevented or at least reduced if recording of police/suspect interviews was required. But no, according to confessed terrorist contact Kunio Hatoyama*'s "Justice" Ministry successor, considering that "would be difficult."**

Serving 17 years in prison for nothing is probably just a bit difficult too, but since politicians and bureaucrats very, very rarely ever serve that kind of time none of them are gonna worry too much. And besides, we've often heard those guys who run the system with kobans---I refuse to call them professional law enforcement officers---say that to record those interviews would damage the "trust" that suspects and Japan's finest develop. I wonder what Mr. Sugaya would say about that trust? Imagine just how stupid they must think the public is to even make that kind of statement. (Or perhaps how apathetic/passive the public is?)

Speaking of the boys in blue, in Okayama a 29-year old officer in charge of theft investigations was apprehended by two high school boys after he snatched a purse from an old lady. No word on whether or not he has apologized yet.**

Were I a religious person, I'd be praying for a DPJ victory. However, there is a horribly frightening rumor going around that the friend of a friend of terrorists, Kunio Hatoyama, may be considering going to the DPJ!

* This fellow is still a government minister. Why?

**Both shown on the 6PM news.

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