Rape kits and innocent men

A man just got out of prison after serving 25 years for a rape he didn’t commit. Evidence gathered as part of the “rape kit” showed that he was innocent. Wouldn’t have happened in Wasilla when Sarah Palin was Mayor. Oh, the false conviction might have happened. But not the exoneration, unless the vicimt decided to shell out $1200 for the “rape kit.”

Johnnie Earl Lindsey spent 25 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit.

It could have been worse, of course. Had the rape in question happened in Wasilla when Sarah Palin was mayor, the falsely accused man would never have gotten out at all, unless the victim happened to want to pay $1200 to ahve the exam done, since the city (alone in Alaska) refused to pay.

Taking a “rape kit” from a victim of sexual assault not only improves the chances of convicting the guilty; it also can (and not infrequently does) clear the innocent.

But Sarah Palin’s opposition to contraception is much more important than justice, of course.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com