That such a bad thing could happen because of an error!
"Nobody listened to Longino Acero as he insisted over and over that he never had molested a child.
"Instead, one public defender after another told Acero he had no defense for failing to register as a sex offender and no choice but to plead guilty.
"Acero was the victim of a simple, but critical, clerical error that occurred 28 years ago. When he was convicted in 1978 of the misdemeanor of soliciting lewd and lascivious acts with an adult, a court clerk omitted a set of parenthesis in recording the section of the penal code that Acero violated. That parenthetical error, in the confusing structure of the state penal code, changed his misdemeanor act into child molestation.
"To Mary Greenwood, the chief public defender in Santa Clara County, Acero’s case represents a cautionary tale that she blamed on a lack of diligence and a lack of resources. She said that when she is asked whether she worries about innocent people being wrongly caught up in the criminal justice system, she answers that she worries ‘far more about people with long records who say they are innocent.”
"It is too easy, she said, to disbelieve such claims. And, she said, budget limitations affect the ability of her office to ‘provide enough paralegals to look up records, and to provide enough time to permit people to think.”’
If you have the time, the SCC public defender’s office could use some volunteers…