Bridget McCormack, co-director of U of M's Innocence Clinic, Elected to an 8 year term on the Michigan Supreme Court!
PI's non-profit status does not allow us to endorse or campaign for any candidate. But now that the election is over, we can freely state our congratulations to Bridget. Our experience in interacting with Bridget has shown her to be one of the most even handed, reasonable and just-minded persons we have dealt with. We know that these qualities, combined with a sharp legal mind, will bring sane minded decision making to the Michigan Supreme Court regarding, not only the issues involving the wrongfully convicted, but the myriad of other issues facing our society today.
Our best wishes go to Bridget and her family.
Calhoun County (MI) Prosecutor's Race
On another front, the still pending case of Lorinda Swain, which Bridget McCormack has been leading, should be helped by the defeat of Calhoun County Prosecutor Susan Mladenoff. Mladenoff's constant efforts to keep Swain behind bars in the face of overwhelming evidence that she is innocent is almost pathological in nature and a clear waste of tax payers' money. There is little question that the voters' disgust with the way Mladenoff has handled this case was a contributing factor in her defeat. It is our hope that David Gilbert will bring a sane and sober approach to Lorinda's and all the cases brought before the Calhoun County Court.
The first known defeat of a candidate, because of the way a wrongful conviction cases was handled, happened earlier this year in the primaries in Texas. See article. There, district attorney of Williamson County, Bradley, spent years arguing against DNA testing that could have cleared Michael Morton of his wife's murder. The tests were eventually run, and Morton walked out of prison after nearly 25 years. The voters saw this "knee jerk" reaction to keep a person in prison at all costs as a waste of tax payer's money, and, as an incumbent, Bradley lost in the primaries of his own party.
It is our hope that we are seeing the turning of a corner. Of course we want criminals off the streets, but the proverbial "throwing the baby out with the bath water" has been seen when law and order advocates don't even flinch at the possibility of holding innocent men and women in prison. Despite the belief that the jury is the supreme decision maker, we have seen over and over again that the passage of time brings clarity. Maybe the prosecutors of this country are beginning to listen and understand that what the people want most is just plain ol' justice, which requires an open mind.
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