Judicial Follies

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Was this guy Hitler in a previous life?

Dwayne Dail served half his life, 18 years, in a North Carolina prison for a rape he didn’t commit. Given that his childhood sweetheart was pregnant at the time, he ended up spending his son’s entire life so far in jail; the boy grew up without him. Free for three months now and awarded what seems to the casual observer a paltry $360,000 for what he rightly calls not wrongful incarceration but ‘kidnapping’, this unlucky guy is back in court. For what, you ask? His baby mother is suing him for the back child support he never paid while imprisoned and while she raised their son alone. Said Dail, “Everybody wonders why I’m not mad. Well, I’m mad now.”

Again, bad cases make bad law but there is a real issue here: should settlements such as these be considered income? The judge is still pondering this doozy of a case.

Only the mother knows why she filed this suit without first asking Dail for a chunk; her son, now just getting to know his dad, reports being traumatized by all this. First his dad was a pedophile rapist (the victim was 12). Now he’s not. He’s out of prison, they’ve just met, and the mother he loves has Dad back in the place he fears most, a court room.

You gotta read to believe.

In New York, the first woman to be exonerated for murder, based on DNA evidence, has been released from prison after serving 13 years for killing her 13 year old daughter. She can muse on that ironic symbolism while they retry her for second degree manslaughter. And while the scumbag boyfriend and likely murderer enjoys the immunity he got for testifying against her. Man, that must keep him warm while the murder charge he just caught from a 1993 killing winds its merry way through the courts.

Since we’re on the subject of judges, laws and court rooms, here’s another one to make us citizens dread venturing into the halls of justice. A Niagara Falls judge went insane over a ringing cell phone in his court room. When no one would fess up to owning it, he turned his court room into a POW camp. The biggest surprise is that something was actually done about it; two years laters, he’s looking for a new job while he works on his appeal.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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