The Corner

Lies in Advertising Cont’d

Ah data crunching, from a reader:

> And that’s leaving alone the ridiculous idea that 10,000 people could be falsely convicted for 16,000 murders annually. Sadly, some people will take that for fact. <   Oh, c’mon, let’s NOT leave it alone.   How many of those 16,000 homicides even result in *arrests*, much less trials and convictions?  From 1995 to 2004, the most recent date range I could locate, the homicide clearance rate for the state of California averaged about 55%.  A crime is marked “cleared” when a suspect is arrested and remanded for prosecution, whether this results in dropped charges, a plea bargain or conviction.  Homicide and Aggravated Assault have the highest clearance rates of all crime categories, by the way, with Homicide actually in second place.  (This is probably because Aggravated Assaults all have a least one more live witness than do Homicides.  Similarly Forcible Rape is probably in third place because witnesses are more reluctant to testify or identify their attackers, and because many rape victims never get a good look at the perpetrator )  Armed robbery, by contrast, has a clearance rate of around 25%, while burglary is around 12.5% and auto theft sits at around 10%.    So according to the “Justice” ad, an average year with 16,000 homicides, which result in 8,800 arrests, will still somehow result in 10,000 *convictions*, ALL of them of innocent people.  So the cops never once, even by accident, manage to arrest the right person for homicide.  O.J. is starting to look better by the minute.    Not only does that leave 16,000 murderers free to walk the streets (assuming that each homicide victim was killed by a different killer, which we know isn’t true), plus 8,800 innocent people hounded through the courts and falsely convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, but our criminal justice system somehow manages to incarcerate a further 1,200 people a year who, as far as I can tell, were never even arrested, much less convicted.   That’s astounding.  This must have something to do with the PATRIOT Act and all those secret prisons I keep hearing about. 


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