Wrongful convictions show importance of strong criminal defense

On behalf of Dickman Law Offices, P.S.C. posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When people in Covington are charged with a serious crime, they could face severe penalties. In fact, a person’s entire life may be on the line. It is often wise to rely on the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A recent news article shows just how important a strong defense may be.

A newly compiled National Registry of Exonerations shows that since 1989, more than 2,000 people who were wrongly convicted of a crime have been freed from prison. The registry, which was compiled by the University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern University, was done to shed light on why the criminal justice system has failed in some instances and what can be done in the future to prevent innocent people from being convicted.

Common problems within the criminal justice system that lead to wrongful convictions include witnesses who withdraw previously made statements or those who made inaccurate or dishonest statements to begin with. Police corruption remains a problem along with wrongful confessions. In fact, there have been instances in which individuals, after lengthy questioning by authorities, confessed to a crime but were later cleared through DNA.

DNA has been extremely helpful in freeing those who were wrongly convicted. In New York alone, work done through the Innocence Project has freed almost 300 people in the last 23 years.

Although thousands of innocent people have been freed, there are likely many others who remain in prison.

“It’s clear that the exonerations we found are the tip of the iceberg,” a professor at the University of Michigan Law School said.

A conviction is very serious. When someone is convicted of a crime, they may spend years in prison. Even after they are out of prison, they may find it difficult to find a job or a place to live. Because the stakes are so high, it is imperative that those accused of a crime receive a fair trial and a strong defense.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Registry tallies over 2,000 wrongful convictions since 1989,” David Savage, May 20, 2012

Posted in: Criminal Defense