CROOKED CITY

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Where is the Real Bias in the Wrongful Conviction Movement?

The issue of bias against police, prosecutors and their supporters rears its head in many media stories about the Anthony Porter case. 

Porter was exonerated for a double homicide in 1982 through the efforts of the Professor David Protess, his Private Investigator Paul Ciolino and several students at Northwestern's Innocence Project. As part of their exoneration of Porter, the Northwestern investigators claimed another man, Alstory Simon, was the offender and obtained a bizarre confession from him. Simon has recanted that confession and claims he was framed for the killings.  

As a possible example of bias on the part of those attacking the Porter exoneration and the conviction of Simon, journalists point to the fact that one of Simon's attorneys once represented former police commander Jon Burge, now in prison for perjury.    

Whether or not there is some bias operating in the actions of Simon's lawyers is difficult to prove. But the simple fact is that Simon's lawyers have amassed a wealth of conclusive evidence that the Northwestern case is bogus. Moreover, many people are calling foul in the Porter case, not just Simon's attorneys. Condemnation of the Northwestern case has arisen from various, independent sources.

What the media seems to consistently miss is the evidence of bias on the side of wrongful conviction advocates, a bias clearly alive and well at Northwestern University.  

Consider, for example, the hiring of Bernadine Dorhn by the university in 1991. Dorhn was a founding member of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground was a group of terrorists that set off bombs throughout the country in the 70's in protest of the Vietnam War. The group also called for a Communist style revolution.

A few statements by Dorhn when she was active in the Underground shocked the country, especially her statement about mass murderer Charles Manson:

“Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!”

After this statement, it was reported Dorhn and other Weather Underground members would salute each other by making a fork sign with their hands.

 Dorhn and her husband, fellow Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers, claimed that they never hurt anyone in their bombings, but there are many who disagree. Clearly they intended to hurt people. Consider their bombing of a home of the supreme court justice in 1970   while the family was sleeping inside.

But Dorhn may even be involved in the murder of a police officer. In a bombing in 1970, a San Francisco Police Sergeant, Brian McDonnell, was killed and several officers were wounded. 

An investigation into the bombing revealed the fact that several FBI investigators believe Dohrn was responsible.

After she was hired by Northwestern, Dohrn reportedly worked on wrongful convictions for juveniles.

One has to ask how anyone could expect a person who went around advocating violence against "pigs," calling for revolution, and setting off bombs could fairly and reasonably investigate criminal cases. One has to ask about the mindset of the university that would offer such a person a job.

A disturbing picture emerges at Northwestern: A former terrorist now working on wrongful conviction cases, a professor running bogus wrongful conviction "investigations" that put a murderer back on the street and incarcerated an innocent man.  

It all begs a question: Where really is the bias in the wrongful conviction movement? 

 


 

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