To the Editor:
I wish to express a fervent distaste for words chosen by State’s Attorney Rick Amato on the event of Jack McCullough’s declaration of innocence.
Amato, after the ruling, said, “There’s a lot of speculation, but there are no answers … no justice. Last night might well have been our last chance for justice. …”
First off, how dare he imply that conviction rates are worth more than the rights of citizens? Justice isn’t about feeling good; it’s about finding the truth. Our justice system places a burden of proof upon the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. Mr. Amato, had he gone to the Northern Illinois University Law Review Symposium on March 31, would have heard the evidence of Mr. McCullough’s innocence. Based on his conduct, however, I’m sure that he would agree with the appeals court that this ignored evidence was “harmless error.”
When presented with evidence that creates a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of a suspect and then promptly ignoring it, Mr. Amato is no better than the witch hunters of Salem and violates his duty as a prosecutor and extension of the Illinois Supreme Court. Truly, he should be ashamed.
This is what is wrong with our justice system. It is not a lack of criminal convictions; it is the false witch hunt that prosecutors wish would continue for the sake of their careers.
Andrew J. Mertzenich