The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Yet Another Injustice


This is the link to a video to rent or buy on Amazon. The video follows a family’s fight to exonerate their son, Ryan Ferguson, after a murder conviction.

As I read articles and watch videos and documentaries about the injustices perpetrated on people in this country, I am shaken, angry, overwhelmed, stupefied, infuriated, enraged. I search for the right words to express the emotions in my head and gut and fear I fall short of succeeding. In Dream/Killer I believe I was watching the police lie and manipulate an innocent person into confessing to a crime he had not committed and implicate another innocent person. I believe I was watching a former district attorney (now a sitting judge) lie to the court under oath. I believe I was watching a higher court maintain the status quo in support of corruption.

After Ryan was in prison for several years, his father asked Kathleen Zellner to take his case. She takes his case and succeeds in winning his exoneration. She is a private practice attorney well-known for her work to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, often pro bono. She has recently taken on the case of Steven Avery.

I want to share some of her words from this video. You can take her comments as specific to Ryan Ferguson’s case or you can see their relevance to other cases and other courtrooms in this country.

Her approach:

“You have to have that force of personality because who’s going to believe you. You can’t come in there like you know I’m killing time here.”

Ryan’s case:

“But this, this has been really disturbing at every level.   I know that a lot of people Ryan’s age, they think that oh, this could never happen to me. Trust me, this could happen to you. Absolutely.”

“You could not have a bigger failure in the police investigation and the whole judicial system. I mean you’ve accomplished nothing, and you’ve actually damaged this innocent person; and you’ve got a killer still out there.”

“This has been down and dirty the whole way.”

“There’s just absolutely no, no sense of doing the right thing even though they have no evidence. They’re still trying to prop up the conviction. And that’s what I think is just hard to wrap your mind around, that it could be that evil.”

Life in prison and how Ryan felt in prison:

“People have no idea what it’s like in there. It’s so hard to have, I think, any hope, to keep that alive and he’s told me sometimes that he feels like he’s invisible, he said it’s like I’m disappearing, I’m dying. It’s really, someone’s really dying, and they’re dying a very slow death.”


“We’ve got 2,000,000 people incarcerated, and we’ve got 20,000 people locked up that are innocent; and that’s conservative.”


“It’s so hard to undo these things. That’s what I think is wrong. I think that’s what needs to be changed. It should not be this difficult.”


“The whole way you advance as a prosecutor is getting convictions. It’s all about winning. A prosecutor can fabricate testimony. He can put on perjured testimony. He can pretty much do whatever he wants to do and he has absolute immunity. Imagine going to work everyday knowing that you can pretty much do whatever you want to win.”


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