When warranted, police, prosecutors deserve stiff penalties

Five million dollars is a lot of money. It is not nearly enough to compensate three men for being imprisoned wrongly — for 20 years. At least they ought to have some assurance that true justice will prevail in their cases.

In 1995, three Cleveland, Ohio, men, Laurese Glover, Eugene Johnson and Derrick Wheatt, were sent to prison for the murder of Clifton Hudson. They maintained they did not do it.

Twenty years later, in 2015, a judge ordered them released. It seems that when they were being tried, a prosecuting attorney hid reports that raised doubt they were guilty. Police officers also concealed evidence that might have exonerated them, attorneys for the three say.

Recently, a jury in East Cleveland awarded each of the three $5 million in damages for being incarcerated wrongly.

We hear of wrongful imprisonment cases on a regular basis. What we do not hear of is law enforcement officers and prosecutors responsible being punished for their misdeeds.

Police and prosecutors are supposed to ensure justice is done — not just to pin crimes on people so cases can be cleared.

Justice requires that all involved be open about all the evidence involved.

In all likelihood, payment of the $15 million will close the case. It should not.

If credible allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct — crimes — have been made, they should be investigated thoroughly.

And if that probe turns up evidence, those responsible for sending Glover, Johnson and Wheatt to prison should be prosecuted and, perhaps, sent to jail themselves.