What Wrongful Convictions Look Like

One of the pillars of American society is the criminal justice system. As part of this system, each citizen is to be granted access to a fair trial. In the overwhelming majority of the cases tried in the criminal justice system, this goal is accomplished. However, there are still those that find themselves on the opposite side.

The Facts

The United States has the world's largest prison population, with around two million people currently incarcerated. Within this group, it's estimated that between 40,000 and 100,000 people are actually innocent. Albeit a small number compared to the entire population, the reality is that one person wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison is one too many. This is a problem that impacts all communities, across the entire country.

The Many Faces Of Wrongful Convictions

Although a wrongful conviction can come in many forms; here are some of the more common origination sources.

Flawed Evidence

A leading cause of wrongful convictions is flawed forensic evidence. Forensic testing is exact, but it must be exercised with extreme caution to avoid error. Contaminated testing sites or poor testing methods can lead to a false positive and ultimately a wrongful conviction. In some instances, forensic analysts may also provide inaccurate information concerning case evidence and testing, such as testifying on opinion rather than science.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

One of the more unfortunate causes of wrongful conviction is official misconduct. From the arresting officer to the prosecutor that tries the case in the courtroom, officials take an oath to perform their duties with the utmost standards. When an official fabricates evidence or engages in coercive interrogation methods, this oath is not being honored and the result is an innocent person being punished for a crime they did not commit.

Witness Persuasion

In some cases, a conviction comes down to the word of an eyewitness or some other individual with information about the case. A wrongful conviction can ensue when the individual providing this information has a motive. For example, someone with a criminal background, who is facing their own set of charges, may be persuaded to provide information about a case in exchange for their charges being dropped or some other type of favor.

For those who have been impacted by this issue, attorneys can provide much necessary assistance. The role of an attorney is to practice justice, from every side and to ensure every person's rights are protected.

For more information about the criminal justice system and what you can do to reform it to avoid wrongful conviction, talk with professional lawyers or contact organizations, like ArticleIII.