Another chilling example of the imperfections in Nebraska’s criminal justice system
The conviction of Douglas County’s lead Crime Scene Investigator, David Kofoed, has again shed light on why the risk of executing an innocent person, even in Nebraska, remains a very real concern. Kofoed’s conviction was called “disturbing” by Douglas County’s top prosecutor and an expert on rules of evidence called it “devastating.” Read more about the questions raised by the conviction here.
For Matthew Livers, the actions of Mr. Kofoed amounted to a living nightmare. Livers spent 8 months in jail in 2006 for two murders that he did not commit. Similar to the case of the “Beatrice 6”, Livers confessed to killing his aunt and uncle only after an 11 hour interrogation that included the threat of the death penalty. He almost immediately retracted that confession.
We have always understood that the criminal justice system is run by human beings – and we are not perfect 100% of the time. We also know that innocent Nebraskans have been convicted as result of shoddy forensics, coerced confessions, jailhouse snitches, and mistaken witnesses. And when a life is on the line, one mistake is one too many. This horrible case goes far beyond mistakes and casts an even wider shadow on the ability of a justice system to be trusted with a life or death decision.