Readers Respond

Punish those who wrongly imprison the innocent | READER COMMENTARY

The Maryland Board of Public Works, which is comprised of, from left, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot has repeated compensated people who were wrongly imprisoned with millions of dollars. Less well known is what actions, if any, were ever taken against the prosecutors who put those individuals behind bars. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

The recent decision by the Maryland Board of Public Works to compensate two brothers, Eric Simmons and Kenneth McPherson, erroneously imprisoned for 24 years was obviously the correct thing to do (”‘We owe these gentlemen’: Maryland board approves nearly $4M for 2 wrongly imprisoned for 24 years,” June 17). Whether the $2 million settlement to each adequately compensates for their loss of freedom for two dozen years is open to debate. But what has not been covered in stories about this corruption of justice are why these people were convicted in the first place and by whom — not an office, but a person.

Why does society not expect that the police and especially the prosecutors be held somewhat accountable for this travesty? If we, intentionally or not, take an action that results in harm to another person, we often are punished for our actions. Why not the prosecutors? Are they not ultimately responsible for gaining a invalid prosecution? There is a movement to reduce or eliminate qualified immunity for police officers who act in a dangerous manner. Maybe we should consider doing the same for public prosecutors. What is right is not necessarily what the legislature defines as what is permissible.


David Griggs, Columbia

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