A Few Words of Caution

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Many thank-yous to all the kind email and blog posts commending my involvement in Cory’s case.

I’m not going to project false modesty here — if Cory may does walk free one day, it’ll likely be the highlight of my career. Still, my contribution to this has been relatively easy. I found a story that leaped off the computer screen as an outrage, and I wrote about it, and I have since continued to write about it. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this case, but it’s time and effort that, had I not been spending on this case, would probably have been spending on some other drug war idiocy. I should also credit my employer, which has been really supportive of my spending time on this case.

I think the bulk of the credit should go to Cory’s legal team, all of whom have worked tirelessly — and without compensation — for months. The Covington and Burling firm deserves a ton of credit for its generosity, but I think particular credit should go to Bob Evans who not only lost a paying gig as public defender in direct retaliation for his decision to represent Cory, but every minute he spends on Cory’s case is a minute he could be spending on his private defense practice, with paying clients. Bob’s doing this because passionately believes in Cory’s innocence. But it doesn’t change the fact that representing Cory is undoubtedly costing him money.

All of that said, Cory’s life is far from saved. Thursday’s ruling was certainly a victory, but we’re still a long way from real justice in this case. There’s still the possibility he could be again get death at the new sentencing trial. I think odds are against that happening, for reasons I’ll get into later, but it’s still a very real possibility.

I’m also a little concerned that should Cory’s sentence be reduced to the death penalty to life in prison, his cause will lose some momentum. Life without parole doesn’t carry nearly the same sex appeal as a looming date with the death chamber. I hope that doesn’t happen — I hope the people who’ve done great work promoting this will case continue to write about it and call attention to it. An innocent life spent in prison isn’t a life saved. Cory’s two kids will still grow up without a dad. And a good guy will still wrongly waste away his life in a jail cell.

Thursday brought wonderful news. But there’s still a long, long way to go.

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