Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Grace of Willie O. "Pete" Williams

I'll never understand it. After 22 years of imprisonment, and having been cleared of a rape conviction by DNA testing, Pete Williams walked out of the Fulton County jail yesterday a free man. One might would expect him to have harsh words for our legal system or for the person who mistakenly I.D'd him as the rapist. But not Pete. Instead, surrounded by loved ones, he expressed joy and gratefulness that this day had finally come for an innocent man. The Georgia Innocence Project made it all possible.

Perhaps we should remember this the next time a politician panders to the public at large by advocating the execution of rapists.

Don't think for a moment that I'm forgetting about the rights and the feelings of crime victims. But if we don't believe in prisoners' rights for any other reason, we should always remember the Pete Williams of the world.

May God bless Pete and reward him for the example he represents. And may we remember that there are likely other Petes out there in our prison system - maybe even on death row.

For other good reads on the release of Pete Williams and the Georgia Innocence Project, see Georgia Women Vote and Georgia On My Mind.


tribalecho said...

Thanks for bringing this up. Sure didn't hear about it on Chris Crock last night on my way home from work.

I don't watch much local news but I saw this man on tv with his family and almost cried.

Grace is exactly the right word.

Anonymous said...

This was the second such case in Georgia in the last year or two, but i dont believe any of the local stations pointed that out. I wonder how many innocent men and women are out there languishing away? Its also pretty easy to notice that both were black men. Great post, Button, I should have done one myself. Bird and I saw the story the other day.