The number of years Henry McCollum served on death row before being released this week, after DNA evidence proved him innocent of the rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl. In a moving op-ed for The Washington Post, his attorney, Kenneth J. Rose, writes that the victory is for him a triumph leavened by rage. Discussing the work required to exonerate McCollum, he explains: “It took the Innocence Inquiry Commission, working for four years and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, to finally prove my client’s innocence. Sadly, only a handful of defendants ever get that kind of attention and resources. In many other cases, biological evidence is lost, contaminated or never existed to begin with… As I lie awake at night, mulling over the maddening details of this case, I wonder: How many more Henry McCollums are still imprisoned, waiting for help that will never come?”
A poll released this week by the Coalition for Court Transparency shows that three-quarters of American citizens think that the highest court in the land should open its doors to cameras. Seventy-four percent of 1,000 respondents surveyed said the U.S. Supreme Court should allow live video coverage of oral arguments, and 72 percent said that at least live audio broadcasts should be offered. The court has long rebuffed requests for video coverage from lawmakers and pro-transparency groups, and several justices who came out as pro-camera during their confirmation hearings fell into line on the issue once seated on the high court bench. The group behind the latest poll says the numbers suggest that it’s time for the justices to finally relent. “It’s almost unbelievable that three-fourths of Americans agree on anything tangentially political these days, but we’re seeing the same results on cameras in the court, across party lines, in poll after poll,” said Michael Ostrolenk of the Liberty Coalition, a member of the CCT.
Five citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, have filed a $41.5 million suit against the city’s police chief, the St. Louis police chief, and several police officers. Some of the plaintiffs had been engaged in protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown prior to being detained, but had left the protest and were at a nearby McDonald’s when they were arrested, while another claims he was simply walking home from work when he was shot with rubber bullets by the police. All of the plaintiffs allege that they were “subjected to unnecessary and unwarranted force, arrests that were not based upon probable cause, and other violations of their constitutional rights.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently awarded a compliance employee $300,000 for reporting illegal actions by its employer to the agency. The compliance professional was the first to receive such an award. “These individuals may be eligible for an SEC whistleblower award if their companies fail to take appropriate, timely action on information they first reported internally,” said Sean McKassey, the SEC’s whistleblower chief, told The Wall Street Journal.