Louis Taylor is free after more than four decades in prison on a questionable conviction. Taylor was let go last week after the Arizona Justice Project shed more than reasonable doubt on his conviction of setting the Pioneer Hotel fire which killed 29 people.
He should have never been convicted. But instead of clearing his name, the Pima County Attorney's office made Taylor a no-contest plea deal. He was not allowed to assert his claim of innocence before a judge.
County Attorney Barbara LaWall is still standing by the flawed case, which her office would have continued to defend had Taylor fought for vindication.
Taylor was right to take the deal. He didn't deserve to spend another day behind bars.
It's troubling and embarrassing that LaWall refuses to own up to the mistakes of the past. Worse, this deal limits Taylor's ability to sue for wrongful imprisonment.
LaWall says we can't forget the victims. But the victims wouldn't have wanted the wrong person convicted.
The Pima County Attorney's Office could have done the honorable thing. Instead, it did the easy thing. At least Louis Taylor can now begin a new chapter in his life, regardless of whether the legal system gives him the apology he deserves.
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