I am relieved about the Arbery murder verdict, but I’m also sad that one right doesn’t erase a long pattern of wrongs.
The three men convicted today almost weren’t brought to justice at all. Local prosecutors, for various reasons, refused to bring charges against them. “It took a series of extraordinary events to force the system to regard their deaths as crimes worth investigating.”
That’s because Missouri’s compensation law only allows for payments to prisoners who prove their innocence through a specific DNA testing statute. That was not the case for Strickland, or most exonerees across America. Unlike guilty prisoners, a parole officer will not help Strickland find counseling, housing or work. And unlike exonerees in some other states, he will not be eligible through a compensation package for social services, such as participating in the state’s healthcare program.
Surely, he can sue for damages. I hope so. Meanwhile, his gofundme page appears to be getting some attention.
And the white supremacists who organized the 2017 Charlottesville hate fest must pay $26 million in damages. I’m sorry the jury couldn’t agree to convict on federal conspiracy charges, but the liability has got to hurt.
So, some positive things have happened over the past few hours. But not enough.