National Affairs: Toothless Freedom

In 1920, Michigan imprisoned Alexander Ripan for life. The reason: a bullet which killed his farmer neighbor fitted the barrel of Ripan's gun. In 1929, Prisoner Ripan drove a truck out of the Jackson Prison gates, disappeared. In 1935, Michigan found him again, a well-behaved cobbler in East Chicago, Ind. Back to Jackson Prison he was haled.

Last week he walked out, after modern ballistics experts had testified that bullets expand on being fired, that no bullet ever again fits the barrel of the gun that fired it. After twelve years unjustly in jail, Alexander Ripan had his freedom but few of...

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