The lesson here is clear: if you are a minority without a lot of money and a prosecutor wants to put you in prison, you will be imprisoned.
The Central Park Five is the story of the five young men who were wrongfully convicted for the 1989 rape of a jogger in Central Park. It examines how the legal system's rush to judgment - fueled by a city racially divided and fearful of crime - resulted in false confessions and no reassessment of the charges as conflicting evidence came in. This left a brutal rapist on the streets and robbed five innocent kids of their youth, all of whom served out their full terms. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, after directing a thorough re-investigation when the actual rapist came forward and confessed, and realizing his office's mistakes, joined with the defense to request that the convictions be vacated, which was instantly granted by Judge Charles Tejada.
Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, The Central Park Five tells the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories, an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects
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