A criminal trial is often fast-paced and stressful for all involved. Prosecutors are pressured to get a conviction and defense teams are working hard to ensure that their client’s rights are upheld. As the defendant, it is all overwhelming and confusing. You wonder how you can possibly get a fair trial under these high-pressure circumstances. In fact, defendants sometimes don’t get fair trials and some are even wrongly convicted and sent to prison.
Tracking Wrongful Convictions in the United States
While there is no way to accurately track wrongful convictions, it is possible to track the number of exonerations signed by judges due to wrongful convictions each year. Founded in 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School, is doing just that. The goal of the project is to provide information about every exoneration in the United States since 1989. Given their data, which is being continuously updated, they are able to draw some conclusions about why people are wrongly convicted and how they are exonerated.
Who Is Exonerated and Why?
While the vast majority of people wrongly convicted are never exonerated, those falsely convicted of the most violent crimes are the most often exonerated after having spent an average of nine years in jail. The most frequent contributing factors to the exonerations documented from the last 25 years include:
- Perjury or false accusation (56%)
- Official misconduct (46%)
- Mistaken witness identification (34%)
- False or misleading forensic evidence (23% )
- False confession (13%)
Protecting Yourself From Wrongful Conviction
Most of the factors contributing to wrongful convictions can be avoided altogether with a good defense attorney. If you are facing a criminal trial, don’t take chances with your defense. Call my office for a free consultation.