MythBusters and the Innocence Project

The Innocence Project has a suggestion for a law that should exist, but doesn’t. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

It was an episode of the TV show MythBusters that helped John Galvan, a man wrongly convicted of murder by arson, to be exonerated after spending 35 years in prison. On the show, which Mr. Galvan was watching from jail, the hosts tried to recreate a common Hollywood movie scene in which a character throws a cigarette onto gasoline, igniting a fire, which was what Mr. Galvan was convicted of doing.

MythBusters couldn’t get the cigarette to ignite the gas, nor could the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives even after making two thousand attempts, proving it’s not possible. But he couldn’t get an appeal at first because even after forensic methods are debunked as junk science there is no legal mechanism to require convictions based on those methods to be reevaluated. Now that Mr. Galvan has been exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project, he may be a passionate voice to create such a law.

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