A miscarriage of justice is simply the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime the person did not commit. Many innocent persons have been wrongly accused, convicted and executed for crimes they knew nothing about! Quite a large number of people who are wrongly accused, convicted and punished or executed are from the masses or the less privileged.
One of the victims of miscarriage of justice is James Joseph Richardson (born December 12, 1935). He is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted in 1968 for the murders of his own seven children! The seven children were poisoned in October 1967 by Bessie Reece, a neighbour delegated to take care of the children while their parents were at work. Bessie Reece laced the children’s lunch with poison!
Richardson was later accused of poisoning his children because of insurance money. At some points, Richardson was locked up in a cell while the investigation was going on. One of the cell inmates even testified against Richardson on the killings, saying Richardson confessed to him. Eventually, James Richardson was sentenced to death! He was on death row for about five years after which his death sentence was converted to life imprisonment. He spent 21 years in prison for a crime he knew nothing about!
Many years after Richardson’s wrong conviction, around 1988, the real killer of the seven children, Bessie Reece had reportedly confessed to the murders of the children more than 100 times, after being afflicted with a mental disorder, Alzheimer’s disease. However, her confessions were not taken seriously because of her condition. She later died of the disease in 1992.
James Richardson was exonerated of the crime in 1989, after 21 years in jail, when his case was revisited. James Richardson is still alive today. He is 86 years old now.
The case of Richardson is just one of many cases of miscarriage of justice in the world. Nature has a way of revealing the truth. The unfortunate aspect of it is that, the damage would have been done before the truth is revealed.
So, those of us who are in position of authority to judge a case, we need to be careful so as not to ‘send an innocent person to an early grave’. Nature has a way of getting back to us on any decision we take, right or wrong. It might only take time.
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James Richardson accused of killing his 7 children – Bing