As a teenager in 2003, Myon Burrell was accused and convicted of the killing of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards in Minnesota. In a recent story, the Associated Press uncovered a lack of evidence in his conviction.

The recent public revelation of new evidence and inconsistencies in the case against Myon Burrell raises reoccurring concerns regarding the criminal justice system and the judicial prudence in which America’s courts operate. The possible mishandling of this case, and more importantly, a young man’s life shines a light on the legal system’s predisposition to condemn anyone, innocent or not.

“It is unfortunate and extremely troubling that Myon Burrell has spent the majority of his life behind bars. The lack of evidence and conflicting accounts of what transpired was reason enough for him not be charged or convicted,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “We’ve seen this happen one too many times. The over-criminalization of Black youth must be addressed, along with the eagerness of the criminal justice system as a whole to put them behind bars.”

Leslie Redmond, president of the NAACP Minneapolis branch stated, “The injustice endured by all those affected in this case offers little to no confidence in the criminal justice system. This perversion of justice is a prime example of why doubt and fear exist within communities of color when it comes to our nation’s judicial system. If we are to achieve a fair and evenhanded system, we must first start by righting the wrongs of our past.”