Four years ago I wrote here about Aleck Carpitcher, a Roanoke man who is spending his tenth year in prison for a crime that all parties involve agree that he didn’t commit. Why’s he still in there? Virginia’s 21-day-rule says you only have twenty one days post-sentencing to enter new evidence of actual innocence. He was convinced on the strength of a single accuser, who later admitted that she made it up because she didn’t like him. (He was a live-in boyfriend of her mother’s, which is admittedly 90% of the criteria for “asshole.” But that’s not the same as “criminal.”) Carpitcher is facing another 28 years in prison, and under the state’s legal standards, there are only two people who can do anything about it.
The latest news is that The Innocence Project has applied for clemency from Governor Kaine, since only Kaine and President Bush possess the power to release him from prison. The Roanoke Times editorialized strongly in favor of clemency on Friday, and understandably enough—there is no logic by which this man should spend another day in prison. This isn’t a “soft on crime” matter; there was no crime.
To find out more about this miscarriage of justice, see The Roanoke Times’ collection of past coverage of the case. But more useful still would be to e-mail Governor Kaine and ask him to pardon Carpitcher. And, those of you reading this in the governor’s office, I hope you’ll see what you can do.