But the welcome news of Peterson's freedom doesn't prove the justice system is working the way it should.
Because if it did, Peterson wouldn't be facing a second trial for this murder he didn't commit.
Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi says the lack of Peterson's DNA on the victim doesn't prove his innocence. So now there is a new standard in Burlington County's criminal justice system - a defendant must prove his innocence, rather than a prosecutor proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
That's the worst kind of cover-your-behind reasoning.
The forensic evidence - hair and semen - that was used to convict Peterson in 1989 has been refuted scientifically. The semen belonged to three other men, not Peterson. The hair belonged to the victim, not Peterson. Do the county taxpayers really want to foot the bill to simply repeat a trial that turned out wrong 16 years ago?
Bernardi should learn from a similar case in Pittsburgh. Thomas Doswell was convicted of raping a woman in a hospital in 1986, and was sentenced to 13 to 26 years in prison. Doswell refused four chances to be paroled because it would have required him to admit his guilt. DNA testing in March finally proved that he was not the rapist. A judge overturned his sentence.
The district attorney in that case asked for the criminal charges to be dismissed, and Doswell became truly a free man. The judge apologized to him for the injustice that had been perpetrated.
That is what's owed to Larry Peterson, not months more of uncertainty and the prospect of another trial.