Friday, September 5, 2014

Wrongful Conviction Day: October 2, 2014: Update: Exonerees amongst individuals signing up to support this important day:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: In an interesting development,  a growing number of individuals, including exonerees,  are coming forward with official messages of support for this important day which will ultimately be published on a website which is about to be launched. 

William-Mullins-Johnson,  one of the tragic Charles Smith cases says, "My own wrongful conviction in 1994 has affected 20 years of my life so far. Many of my hardships occurred after being released in 2005 and cleared in 2007; and in ways I am only now becoming aware in 2014. Wrongful Conviction Day is important because we cannot allow these experiences to fade into history. If we forget, we risk allowing Wrongful Convictions in all its forms.  A Wrongful Conviction in any form destroys lives, families, relationships, and personal growth." 

Sunny  Jacobs and Peter Pringle have also waded in. Sunny Jacobs spent 18 years on California's death row. Peter Pringle spent 18 years on death row in Ireland.  “We support Wrongful Convictions Day because both of us were wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. It robbed us of years of our lives, As well as the endless possibilities that will never happen, and caused our families unimaginable heartache and harm - destroying some relationships and preventing others from ever coming to be," they write.   "It is human nature to make mistakes. When it comes to wrongful convictions, we can put into place sufficient checks and balances to prevent, and afterwards to correct, the majority. But we can never be perfect. Therefore, constant vigilance and integrity must be exercised. We must always question and be open to questions. The society we get is the society we make.

 “Greg Godin,  of Calgary, Alberta, one of the lawyers who represented David Milgaard in his civil suit, writes: "“No justice system is perfect and all too often we see people  convicted and sentenced for crimes they did not commit.  Wrongful Conviction Day focuses our attention as a nation and as individuals on the need to safeguard against wrongful convictions, on  the need to ensure processes are in place to identify the wrongfully convicted, and on the need to fairly compensate victims of wrongful conviction for all that they have endured.” 

In her comments, Joan  McEwan, author of  "Innocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry" says that in the course of writing the book on this disturbing Canadian case, " I learned much about the fallibility of our criminal justice system--in particular, in the area of those claiming "actual innocence." There is room for improvement on every level.  At the pre-conviction stage, police must resist the urge to rush to judgment; prosecutors must seek a fair outcome, not a "win"; and judges must consider the appointment of amicus curiae in the face of self-represented accused.  At the post-conviction stage, our correctional system should look for ways to identify potentially "innocent" inmates, and to direct them to innocence projects, pro bono lawyers, etc; similarly, the parole system should not punish those who refuse to acknowledge guilt on the basis that they are factually innocent.  And, finally, the system should support wrongly convicted persons regarding their re-integration back into society. As it now stands, a guilty parolee is offered more support--e.g., halfway house, employment and financial assistance, group camaraderie--than they are.  Good luck with this day--I'll be doing special on October 2 for sure!" 

 Bob Moles, who has almost single-handedly been responsible for the establishment of an independent review process in South Australia - and publishes the extraordinary criminal justice website "Networked knowledge" says in his message that:  “The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales described the possibility of a person being wrongfully convicted as a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the legal system.” Nobody should ever stand idly by in the face of a catastrophe and do nothing about it. The correction of wrongful convictions should not be an adversarial process. Prosecutors, defence lawyers, forensic experts and judges should all work collaboratively to ensure that errors are corrected as speedily as possible." 

Lastly, Tamara Levy, director of the University of British Columbia Innocence Project,  says  “I hope that Wrongful Conviction Day will raise awareness about the growing number of wrongful convictions being identified in Canada and worldwide. There is no question that there are innocent people who are still incarcerated in this country, and other innocent people who are no longer in prison but who were wrongfully convicted and incarcerated in the past. While we have an excellent criminal justice system in Canada, it is not foolproof. It is based on testimony, analyses and opinion offered by individuals who are, for the most part, trying to help bring a just result. However, our system is subject to human error and people do make mistakes. Wrongful Conviction Day will bring recognition to mistakes that have been made in the past. Once made, these mistakes can never be truly compensated--there is no price for the loss of one's liberty. But Wrongful Conviction Day will remind us of the need to ensure that mistakes are identified and corrected and the need to provide a model system of conviction review to carry out those tasks.”

 In another development,  The Ontario Legal Aid Plan, the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are among other organizations who have formally signed on.  I am trying to do my bit by using this blog to help Wrongful Conviction day get off to a good start,  and I urge our readers to participate.

Background on  Wrongful Convictions Day  can be found at:

Interested participants may sign up by contacting Win Wahrer at

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;