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Actual Innocence Initiative

WHEREAS, enormous gains have been realized since the NAACP's creation, including the abolition of Jim Crow laws and the literal and of the unqualified terror of state-sanctioned lynching, the visceral experience of state-sanctioned theft of freedom, however, if not of life itself, for the innocent still permeates of society; and


WHEREAS, the Rand Corporation concluded that over 15% of prisoners in the United States, "Did no Crime"; and


WHEREAS, at least 24,000 — more than the combined penal populations of eight states — innocent men and women are imprisoned in American today; and


WHEREAS, the direct governmental cost of this injustice exceeds $576,000,000 per annum in unnecessary and unjust incarceration expenses; and


WHEREAS, the opportunity-costs of these hundreds-of-millions of dollars diverted from public education investments, health care provision, and infrastructure maintenance are tangible in the example of closing schools, citizens dying from the lack of affordable medical treatment, and collapsing bridges; and


WHEREAS, the indirect costs of the loss of economic earning stimulus and non- generated taxes by the imprisoned, moreover the additional burden of public welfare assistance for the needlessly shamed and struggling families are inestimable but also immense; and


WHEREAS, the longer these injustices prevail, the more they tax the public purse with over $30,000,000 awarded in 2008 alone in wrongful conviction and incarceration reimbursements; and


WHEREAS, while it disgracefully takes an average of thirteen (13) years for the relatively few wrongful convictions that are eventually overturned to be corrected, the tragic fact of the present system is that tens-of thousands of innocent Americans will remain imprisoned, if not die behind bars; and


WHEREAS, "racial disparities in the criminal justice system are increasing at an ever-alarming rate, particularly for African-Americans," it is reasonable to deduce that not only are innocent persons of color incarcerated in America, but they are disproportionally represented in this grievous body of inappropriately imprisoned souls; and


WHEREAS, according to Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the United States is a signatory, "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or bylaw."


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, "in the interest of justice" that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, issue an Executive Order for the United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, to join the NAACP, the Justice Institute, Amnesty International, the National Innocence Project, National Association of Defense Lawyers, any and all civil and human rights associations to appoint special investigators, special counsel, special prosecutors and special courts in every federal judicial district; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the governors in all states issue similar Executive Orders to achieve the same ends; and


BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that all NAACP units endorse and lobby for adoption of H.R. 3320, the "Justice for the Wrongfully Accused Act" in the 111th Congress.

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