This miniseries was hard for me to watch as a mother of boys, as a lawyer, and a former prosecutor. The obvious villain in the miniseries is Linda Fairstein. However, there are other people who should be called out as well. Everyone who kept quiet when they saw what Fairstein was doing, everyone who looked the other way were also complicit in the injustice against The Exonerated Five. The other prosecutor who walked out the room when Fairstein was changing the timeline of the crime is also culpable. There are villains who are the bad actors, and there are villains who keep quiet allowing the bad actors get away with murder. We should remember that and speak out when injustice is happening to anyone.
Please watch When They See Us on Netflix if you haven’t seen it, it is necessary. If you have children around the ages of the boys at that time, watch it with them to educate them. Inform your children that they should always ask for a lawyer and their parents whenever they encounter law enforcement. This injustice is still happening today. I represented a young man a couple of years ago in Montgomery County, Maryland when three police officers went to his school and pulled him out of class to question him on school property. He was questioned for over an hour without a lawyer or his parents and a confession was elicited from him. I was able to get his confession suppressed during trial because there is case law on point that prohibits the questioning of minors without their parents or lawyers. Educate your children about their rights, and parents be educated as well.