Investigative reporter Michael Volpe joined Jim White on “Critical Disclosure” to discuss the corruption and wrongful convictions happening in the country.
White began the Sept. 12 episode of his Brighteon.TV program by introducing Volpe, who has been an investigative journalist for more than 10 years. The program guest has dedicated himself to exposing the wrongdoing of powerful people as a freelance investigative journalist. His investigations ranged from whistleblower retaliation to police corruption and judicial abuse.
According to Volpe, he got into investigative reporting while doing blogs about mortgages. A whistleblower named Kevin Kuritzky reached out to him and revealed corruption at the Emory University School of Medicine, which had been taking advantage of Grady Hospital – a facility that catered to mostly poor people.
One of Volpe’s articles from 2012 revealed how Emory retaliated against Dr. James Murtagh, who exposed grant fraud at the medical school. According to the piece, a biased peer review recommended Murtagh’s termination as a medical professor – which did push through. Murtagh later befriended Kuritzky, who had been kicked out from Emory 41 days short of his graduation due to attendance issues.
Volpe revealed that several other whistleblowers aside from Kuritzky reached out to him, which paved the way for his transition into the kind of job he is currently doing now.
“I did all this by accident. I thought that this was outside the box and everywhere I went, they’d be impressed because I was bringing them something they hadn’t seen before. And it was a completely different story. And as it turned out, the media is very inside the box. They didn’t want that at all,” Volpe said.
He also revealed that writing about mortgage scams led him to write about the court systems and the legal arena. Volpe also mentioned how he exposed corrupt custody evaluators at Child Protective Services.
Volpe told White that false convictions are a common occurrence in the country, adding that such cases do not see much coverage unless a person has been exonerated or a celebrity helps out a wrongfully convicted person.
The investigative journalist cited the cases of two wrongfully convicted individuals – John Giuca and Rodney Reed – who continue to be kept in custody despite receiving a lot of coverage. According to the “Critical Disclosure” host, Giuca and Reed remain behind bars for two reasons. Aside from covering their tracks, the people who put them in jail do not want to open themselves up to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
Volpe agreed, adding that paying a huge amount in damages for putting an innocent person in jail is indeed a huge liability. He also noted that there are cases where a person was targeted and completely framed for a crime they did not commit, solely on the basis of what he called “laughable” evidence. People should not be convicted in this manner, particularly by a jury that is not doing a good job in giving a right verdict. (Related: New York government threw man in prison for 23 years for murder he never committed.)
White pointed out that today’s jury has become lazy. He added that the American jurors don’t have time to hang around and get down to the facts when they get called for jury duty, because they just want to go home.
In response to White’s query about how widespread the false convictions are, the investigative reporter said such cases are “a lot more widespread than people think” – estimating it at about 10 percent.
He also revealed that there are people who do a lot of deals just to get a person in jail. Volpe cited the case of Robert Reynolds, who was convicted on the basis of testimony from three different people. The three witnesses took the stand as part of a deal.
“It’s very easy to get people to what’s called a flip and, all of a sudden, you have a lot of witnesses against you. They are compromised witnesses,” Volpe explained.
Wealthy people are not going to be targeted because they can hire the best lawyers and a bunch of other people to get the off the hook, he said. Meanwhile, poor people who can’t afford a good lawyer are easy to target.
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