I am mad. So mad I can hardly contain myself.
I’ve just finished reading an article about a man who has been wrongly imprisoned for murder for 26 years. Andrew Wilson, who died in prison last year, had flat-out confessed to his lawyers that he was the sole shooter in a 1982 killing. Not only was Alton Logan not responsible for the murder of a guard at a McDonald’s, the killer didn’t even know him!
So here is why I am angry:
The lawyers knew Logan was innocent. They wrote an affidavit of what they had heard Wilson confess — and then they sealed the envelope and stuck it in a box for 26 long years. They did not tell anyone that Logan was innocent because (wait for it…) it was against the client-lawyer privilege.
“(T)hey felt powerless — aware of information that could free a man they believed to be innocent, but unable to do anything with that knowledge.”
Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz, the lawyers on the case, are painted as some sort of heroes in the article for finally digging out the affidavit that could free Logan from prison. Heroes. So while the heroes were golfing at the country club, vacationing with their families, living a life of relative ease, an innocent man was doing hard time in an Illinois pound-me-in-the-ass prison.
They never once risked their careers or put themselves out there to save this man. I understand that there are laws against breaking privilege, but sometimes you need to take your chances. If you get punished for doing right, then it is the law that is screwed up, and being prominent lawyers they probably could have done some cool stuff to fix it.
Instead, they just sat on the information and told themselves they were good men, while Alton Logan lost his entire life. He has no country club membership, no vacation photos. He doesn’t even have a wife and kids! He’s in his fifties now, still sitting in Joliet and hoping they will free him (because even that is not a guarantee due to the crazy legal system).
An innocent man went to prison and a group of self-righteous jerks clucked their tongues and said, “Oh, I wish I could help. Sorry.”
Big heroes, huh?