If this isn't among the most blatant attempts by government officials to harrass and intimidate private citizens, I don't know what would be. Note that this occurs in Cook County, Illinois, wherein sits the city of Chicago.
After spending three years investigating the conviction of a Harvey man accused of killing a security guard with a shotgun blast in 1978, journalism students at Northwestern University say they have uncovered new evidence that proves his innocence.A basic tenet of "social justice" would seem to me to be that innocent people should not languish in jails. It's a shame that some can't accept even that minimal standard.
Their efforts helped win a new day in court for Anthony McKinney, who has spent 31 years in prison for the slaying. But as they prepare for that crucial hearing, prosecutors seem to have focused on the students and teacher who led the investigation for the school's internationally acclaimed Medill Innocence Project.
The Cook County state's attorney subpoenaed the students' grades, notes and recordings of witness interviews, the class syllabus and even e-mails they sent to each other and to professor David Protess of the university's Medill School of Journalism.
Richard O'Brien, the lawyer representing the university, said it's an unwarranted fishing expedition that focuses on the messenger -- rather than on the possibility that an innocent man has spent more than three decades behind bars. Prosecutors, he said, "seem to be peeved" at the Innocence Project for uncovering a wrongful conviction...
Since the Innocence Project began in 1999, Protess and his students have uncovered evidence that helped free 11 innocent men, according to a class Web site.
I hope this does not deter them.
Update, 10/25/09: Read more here:
“Every time the government starts attacking the messenger as opposed to the message, it can have a chilling effect,” said Barry C. Scheck, a pioneer of the Innocence Project in New York, …”
Fox News, anyone?