Monday, April 20, 2009

Life after false imprisonment

CBS News

At 51, Beverly Monroe was practically central casting for an accomplished middle class mom:

"I had a great life, absolutely great life," she said. "I had a super job, career. I had my own home. I was financially secure. My daughter Katie had just finished law school, my youngest daughter Shannon was a senior at William and Mary. My son was living with me and going to college.

"Things could not have been better."

"And then this happens," Cobiella said.


In March of 1992 Monroe found her longtime companion Roger de la Burde dead in his Virginia home, a bullet in his head, a pistol by his side.

By all appearances, it was a suicide. But the police told Beverly Monroe she was suspected of murder …
"I had no experience, no thought of ever being accused of anything," she told Cobiella. "I mean, it's incomprehensible."

It was equally incomprehensible to Beverly's daughter. But, as a young lawyer beginning a new job, Kate Monroe also knew that "incomprehensible" did not make her mother's conviction impossible.

"I think I understood immediately when Mom was charged that she could be convicted," Kate said. "And I understood when then she was convicted that she might never come home."

It turns out she was half-right. In October of 1992, a jury believed not her mother but the prosecutor. Beverly Monroe was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

"I was convicted on not only no evidence, but just sheer speculation," Beverly said.

Lawyer Kate Monroe quit her job and spent the next six years searching for proof of her mother's innocence.

She found it in 1999. Prosecutors, she discovered, had withheld evidence showing that the likely cause of Roger de la Burde's death was suicide, not murder.

Seven years after her conviction, Beverly Monroe was released.[...]


  1. i am confused.
    there was a gross miscarriage of justice here; but what is the mussar haskel for us ?

  2. nachum said...

    i am confused.
    there was a gross miscarriage of justice here; but what is the mussar haskel for us ?
    It illustrates very well the problem of the danger of false or inaccurate accusations that needs to balance out the problem of not doing anything when someone is guilty of a crime

  3. And another reason not to support the death sentence.

  4. To me, this is a good mashal for those believing the all experts who claim Jewish tradition is a big lie because all the evidence is against it.

    It takes someone with the full conviction of a family member to have the required skepticism and dedication to dismantle the damning evidence.

    Of course this family member is extremely biased in favor of exonerating a close relative. But that bias can work in your favor in terms of having the perseverance to question the evidence and uncover a more accurate picture of the facts.


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