Davis Vanguard Forum: prosecutorial conduct, wrongful convictions, restorative justice (Oct. 2019)
October 29, 2019
RJI was pleased to participate in the Davis Vanguard forum and dinner in Davis, California which convened a powerful panel of speakers presenting on justice reform with an emphasis on prosecutorial conduct, wrongful convictions, mass incarceration and restorative justice. The speakers represented viewpoints from a national and global perspective.
Featured keynote speaker was Jeffrey Deskovic, exonerated for murder and rape after serving 17 years in a New York prison. Deskovic was first arrested at the age of 16. He is president of the New York based Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation.
Key points made by Lisa Rea, president, Restorative Justice International during her speech on restorative justice and wrongful convictions:
- Systemic reform of our broken justice system must address all injustices including wrongful convictions.
- Victims would never want the wrong person in prison for a crime he did not commit. Convicting the wrong person means the real offender is left free to commit another crime.
- District attorneys are the first stop for crime victims once they have entered the justice system. District attorneys must support restorative justice fully and seek to offer restorative justice to crime victims early in the process. If services are not available district attorneys should support the creation of such services through legislation.
- Those who are wrongfully convicted deserve restitution once exonerated. The use of restitution reflects restorative justice principles. Exonerated men and women are victims of the justice system.
- Prosecutors, or any justice official, who knowingly contributes to the conviction of an innocent person should be held accountable under law.
RJI thanks the Davis Vanguard and Davis Courtwatch for sponsoring this important event.
Photo: (left to right) Genevieve Jones-Wright, Noah Phillips, David Greenwald (Davis Vanguard), Jeffrey Deskovic, Satana Deberry (District Attorney, Durham county, North Carolina), Lisa Rea (RJI).