Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rodney Roberts Wrongfully Incarcerated for 7 Years and Then Civilly Committed as an SVP for 10 More Years – Just Because Someone Takes a Guilty Plea or an Alford Plea Deal Doesn’t Mean They Committed the Crime it's a Tragic Fact of the American Justice System That Most Want to Deny or Willfully Ignore

An Exoneree’s Story: ‘They Never Envisioned Making a Mistake’, October 5, 2015
By Graham Kates

Seventeen years after Rodney Roberts was first incarcerated for a kidnapping and rape he did not commit, he was exonerated and freed on March 14, 2014.  Though sentenced to seven years incarceration, he was involuntarily committed for another 10 years by the State of New Jersey to a sex offender treatment facility, and the case he was convicted for remains unsolved. 

Roberts, now 47, is one of countless individuals who have been victimized by a criminal justice system that relies on plea deals struck between over-burdened public defenders and comparatively well-funded prosecutors. 

In a poignant conversation with TCR’s Graham Kates, he describes the shattering effect his years behind bars as an innocent man left on him—and why getting out of prison hasn’t ended his problems. Roberts, who now lives with his family in Newark, where he works odd jobs to get by, suggests changes in the judicial system that could prevent others from going through what he experienced.