Incarceration Nation

The New Outlaws

Are corrupt criminal prosecutors the new outlaws?

By Lorenzo Johnson

While operating with total disregard for precedent case law that defines our constitution, prosecutors are prosecuting cases daily with a reckless abandonment of human life and the judicial system they took an oath to serve to the best of their ability. It’s not about law and protecting the innocent. These same prosecutors operate under full immunity. Some have aspirations to be judges with no fear of criminal sanctions for their corrupt ways and actions. What reason do they have to stop? There are multiple innocence organizations in every state. Now there are Integrity Units popping up all over the place. If Integrity Units are over-seeing cases that have been called into question, that totally affirms that something has gone afoul in the prosecutors’ offices nationwide.

Tools that are most frequently used to assist corrupt prosecutors vary. To name a few—false convictions, witnesses, evidence, and motives, withholding of DNA and non-DNA evidence that can show a prisoner’s innocence. One of the biggest tools is strict procedures that have been put in place by our own judicial system, such as the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). In a recent essay written by Law Professor Judith L. Ritter titled: “After the Hurricane: The Legacy of the Rubin Carter case,” Professor Ritter stated: “In this essay I argue that it is the perfect time to reformulate habeas law. Because of AEDPA, there is a grave risk that individuals wrongfully convicted in State Courts—the Rubin Carters of today—have little hope for meaningful review by a Federal Court.” Professor Ritter went on to say: “Many aspects of habeas corpus law changed when the AEDPA was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. One of, if not the most significant change, was the elimination of de novo review. Today, federal courts must give a measure of deference to the state court’s resolution of federal issues. Fearing the difficulties of retrials which often occur many years after a crime was committed, states’ rights champions in congress pushed AEDPA through partly due to concerns that federal judges were too eager to upset a state court’s judgment.”

As an innocent prisoner, I suffered from AEDPA. I spent sixteen-and-a-half years on a natural life sentence before the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated my sentence on the grounds of insufficient evidence, which is equivalent to a Not Guilty verdict barring a re-trial. Six months after my release, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated my conviction because the Federal Court did not give deference to the Jury. I was ordered to return to a life sentence for a crime I’m innocent of. Now I’m at my 19-year mark and I’ve discovered that my trial prosecutor withheld evidence of my innocence for my whole 19 years of incarceration! Is it safe to say that I was prosecuted by a criminal?

—December 18, 2014

Write to:

Lorenzo Johnson #DF1036

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Drive

Frackville, PA 17932

LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.corn code: Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC