Records from the case are destroyed
Public agencies routinely destroy records that could hold the key to proving someone’s innocence. While public records laws in Louisiana and Mississippi allow some access to law enforcement and prosecutor’s files, retention practices vary wildly from office to office.
Many agencies routinely purge documents in order to make room for new documents being created. However, when agencies destroy their own documents they prevent the public from ever being able to audit their activities. If a company destroyed its financial files and so could not be audited, it would be in trouble.
Sadly, there are no such consequences for criminal justice agencies that routinely destroy documents on which someone’s life or liberty hinges. Innocent men have died in prison because records custodians have destroyed paperwork on a case.
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