Perfect Evidence Essay

Perfect Evidence Essay

Length: 1291 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

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Perfect Evidence is an episode of the weekly radio program This American Life focusing on the theme of DNA evidence. The program starts out with the story of four innocent teenagers who served fifteen years in prison for murder and concludes by recounting how legal police procedures manipulated a fourteen-year-old into falsely confessing to the murder of his sister. In both cases, the introduction of DNA evidence years later proved the innocence of all wrongfully convicted parties.
In 1986 police arrested four teenagers, Larry Ollins, Omar Saunders, and cousins Marcellius and Calvin Bradford, in connection with the rape and murder of Lori Roscetti. The young men faced the double bias of being black and having minor criminal records. The victim was a young, white, medical student. The media sensationalized the case, describing it as “a bestial, barbaric, horrifying, senseless massacre" (Glass, 2002).
The police, under enormous public pressure to solve the case, used tactics that included intimidation, coercion, false promises, and physical abuse. They offered Omar Saunders a deal: lie about being a witness to the crime, and escape charges. Saunders refused, and investigators charged him along with the rest. He is adamant that police knew he was innocent. Prosecutors offered Marcellius Bradford a similar deal. In exchange for perjuring himself in testimony against his friends, he received a twelve-year sentence. He came to deeply regret his decision, telling a reporter years later, “I will skateboard into hell” (Glass, 2002).
This was a case riddled with corruption and misconduct, from the police to the prosecutor to the judge. Although their tactics seem unethical and immoral, “the use of trickery, and even deceit, by police in...

... middle of paper ...
Cardozo, B. N. (2005). Making Up for Lost Time: What the Wrongfully Convicted Endure and How to Provide Fair Compensation. BMJ (Clinical research ed.) (Vol. 331). doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7519.719
Glass, I. (2002). Perfect Evidence Transcript. Word Journal Of The International Linguistic Association. This American Life. Retrieved from
Inniss, J. P. (2011). Wrongfully Convicted, 35 Years Later. Everyday Sociology Blog. Retrieved March 4, 2011, from
Sangaro, B., & Halpert, M. (2007). Why a Conviction Should Not Be Based On a Single Piece of Evidence: A Proposal for Reform. Jurimetrics, 48(1), 43-94. Retrieved from

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