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Re: Lost in the shuffle


I want to praise Samiha Khanna and the Indy for the article about Irvin Broussard's treatment by the justice system ("A prosecutorial mistake leaves a Durham man in prison," June 23).

The fallacy of blind and fair justice in this country is all too rarely reported on by our media. The odds are beyond a question weighted in favor of the prosecution in any given case. If you are poor in our country, regardless of race, you are continuously at a disadvantage when charged with the slightest of offenses. When this is combined with a lack of a procedure for the government to actively correct problems or simply release inmates who are due such an action on their behalf, it is no wonder that the people of this country are concerned with the direction it is heading.

Thanks to the reporting done in this article, we, the electorate, are fortunate enough to be informed that not only is this prosecutorial misconduct unlikely to go punished, much less rectified, but the DA (Stormy Ellis) responsible for the lack of action on behalf of the accused is going to now work for the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission. I don't think I'm being cynical when I say I am not surprised.

What concerns me the most, however, is that in spite of this sort of information becoming public, it is unlikely that it will influence the average voter.

Alex Jones
Misenheimer, N.C.

I was very disappointed in the pejorative tone of the June 23 article "A prosecutorial mistake leaves a Durham man in prison." You missed a prime opportunity to focus on a severely flawed system, instead choosing to paint District Attorney Stormy Ellis as incompetent.

We are a culture that prefers to assign blame over careful and balanced evaluation of a situation; this article merely pandered to that. Mistakes were made not only by Ms. Ellis but also by multiple parties involved. To polarize this issue against one person is to miss the point that this can and will happen again, that multiple defects in the system exist and have to line up for something like this to occur.

I do appreciate your efforts to illuminate some of those defects, and I agree that this was quite an injustice for Mr. Broussard. However, the slant of your article fails to point out the overriding truth: Ms. Ellis is a thoughtful and vigilant prosecutor who believes in the system. She has worked diligently over the past five years to decrease gang violence and make Durham a safer place. This was not malicious. If events can align to create this situation even for someone as conscientious as Ms. Ellis, then it can and will happen to others.

Let's focus on fixing the broken system that has failed Mr. Broussard and countless others.

Kate Johnson

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