Stolen Happiness

Bermudez, Fernando

The wrongful arrest and conviction of Fernando Bermudez demonstrates the American criminal justice system being forced to correct itself, despite public faith in jury trials, because Mr. Bermudez fought to exonerate himself after losing ten appeals. Mr. Bermudez’s essay entails his over eighteen-year wrongful incarceration in New York until proven “actually innocent” in 2009. This essay urges reform and accountability of mistaken eyewitness identification, perjured testimony, and police and prosecutorial misconduct as factors that began Mr. Bermudez’s ordeal in 1991. In particular, this essay examines how race, rushed judgment, and profit may have contributed to Mr. Bermudez’s ordeal while aiming to prevent the overall public safety and human rights problem of the innocent in prison and mass incarceration.

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Columbia Journal of Race and Law

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March 13, 2015