Here’s a news story about a man, Alton Logan, behind bars for 26 years in Chicago for a crime he didn’t commit. A pair of lawyers knew about his innocence but felt obligated to their client to not divulge Logan’s innocence.
Here’s the kernel of the problem: there’s no mechanism for lawyers in this situation to do the right thing and keep their jobs:
Knowing the affidavit had to be secret, Wilson’s lawyers looked for ways to help Logan without hurting their client. They consulted with legal scholars, ethics commissions, the bar association.
Kunz says he mentioned the case dozens of times over the years to lawyers, never divulging names but explaining that he knew a guy serving a life sentence for a crime committed by one of his clients.
There’s nothing you can do, he was told.
The accused feels rather differently:
“What I can’t understand is you know the truth, you held the truth and you know the consequences of that not coming forward?” he says of the lawyers. “Is (a) job more important than an individual’s life?”