In 1989 she was a young mother who lost her kids in a tragic fire. Except the investigators at the time, using archaic methods, determined that it wasn’t a tragic fire, it was arson and therefore murder and, on the basis of this evidence, Ms. Parks was sentenced to life in prison.
But we have learned a lot about arson since then—and we now know that things that used to be taken as telltale signs of arson are now flawed science and were likely, if not certainly, accidental.
However, the system is not not able to correct those problems—even as experts know that the science is bad.
I learned about this case through a book called Burned by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Edward Humes. Tragically the judicial system could not or would not exonerate Ms. Parks, but on Friday Governor Newsom commuted her sentence, which will allow her to attempt parole.
Joining Everyday Injustice to talk about the Joann Parks case is California Innocence Project Attorney Raquel Cohen.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9