Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

7 May, 2013

‘Blind Justice’ — TV Ad Campaign Calls For Accountability in Wake of U.S. Prosecutorial Misconduct Pandemic


WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– May 07, 2013  – Blind Justice, the first national nonprofit advocate dedicated to conviction integrity and accountability within the justice system, marks its official formation today with the launch of a national ad campaign calling for prosecutor accountability. The new 501(c)(4) social welfare organization’s television ads will be part of a bigger campaign to educate the public on the importance of conviction integrity and empower citizens to hold the justice system accountable.

Blind Justice ads are scheduled to begin airing Wednesday on multiple television networks in Brooklyn (NY), Houston (TX) and Manhattan (NY), and are available to view at www.blind-justice.org.

Each ad features a real wrongful conviction case involving the local district attorney’s office and demonstrates the need for prosecutor accountability, convictions based on credible evidence and open file discovery within our justice system.

“Across the country, district attorney campaign promises to enforce conviction integrity are quickly turning into exercises in political theater. Earlier this month, New York DA Cyrus Vance concluded an investigation into the case against Jon-Adrian Velazquez. Despite the discovery of several key witnesses recanting their testimony and a new claim that someone else confessed to the crime, the DA’s office decided Velazquez should remain incarcerated for the 1998 killing of a retired police officer, claiming insufficient evidence demonstrating Mr. Velazquez’s innocence,” says Torin Kelly, Executive Director of Blind Justice.

“The discovery that key evidence used to secure a murder conviction is false should not be the end of the investigation. It is the district attorney’s responsibility to prove the remaining evidence is sufficient to uphold the conviction. Prosecutors seeking evidence of innocence, rather than evidence of guilt directly contradict an American’s right to be considered ‘innocent until proven guilty,’” continues Kelly.

The wrongful conviction of Velazquez will be featured on the first ad released by Blind Justice and air on multiple television stations in Manhattan. The Velazquez exoneration effort is championed by actor Martin Sheen and the case has been a high-profile project for one of DA Vance’s signature initiatives, a unit that investigates wrongful conviction claims.

According to Kelly, Blind Justice’s advocacy and accountability efforts “will ensure that elected officials in the third branch of government can no longer turn a blind eye to district attorneys who are willing to trample on the rights of the accused to get a conviction.”

“The appeals process has been woefully inadequate in identifying and correcting miscarriages of justice,” proclaims Kelly, “and ‘win-at-all-costs’ prosecutors are a part of the problem. It’s time for elected leaders who campaigned on conviction integrity to make prosecutor accountability and equal access to case evidence a part of the solution.”

Blind Justice was created in response to the disturbing increase in reports uncovering prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate investigations of wrongful conviction claims and will immediately begin advocating for conviction integrity through efforts to promote prosecutor accountability, convictions based on credible evidence and open file discovery in district court systems across the country.

To view the ads, please visit www.blind-justice.org.