What if James Harden never played a basketball game for the Houston Rockets? What if Harden had been locked up based on false confessions coerced by police when he was 16 years old? What if his two co-defendants — both interrogated while 14 years old — were also locked up due to false confessions despite contradicting DNA evidence? This happened to another James Harden.

Harden was finally exonerated after 20 years, and after both his parents passed away. Harden is far from being alone, and yesterday “60 Minutes” covered the incredible amount of exposed false confessions in Chicago (which is also far from alone). See the 60 Minutes segment below.


Said Tara Thompson of the UChicago Law School Exoneration Project.

“This is one of the most tragic miscarriages of justice that we’ve seen in this state and perhaps the nation. Even before they were convicted, the state had DNA evidence proving that the confessions were false, yet it chose to go forward with the prosecutions in spite of this evidence and over the objections of a juvenile court judge. This destroyed the lives of these young men while the real perpetrator was allowed to go free, destroying even more lives during a 20-year crime spree.”

Would this James Harden been saved from this fate if he were being recruited by college basketball teams all over the country? Would his life matter more? Would we do more to fix this broken system widely called The New Jim Crow?

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