If someone accuses you of a crime you did not commit; you may assume your innocence will be obvious to the judge and jury overlooking your case. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. In the U.S., many people face wrongful convictions. In fact, since 1989, the courts exonerated over 2,400 people.
Fortunately, there are ways to fight against a wrongful conviction, even after the fact. If you maintain your innocence, you deserve a clean record.
What constitutes a wrongful conviction?
A wrongful conviction occurs for one of two reasons. First, you can prove factual innocence. Second, you can prove that procedural errors occurred that violated your rights. As a suspect of a crime, you have rights that police must follow. If an officer ignores your rights, performs an illegal search, forgets to read your rights or arrests you without probable cause or a warrant, you may have a case against him or her.
If an officer targets you and you face conviction for a crime you did not commit, it is a wrongful conviction.
How can you fight a wrongful conviction?
One of the most common ways to exonerate people is through DNA testing. Postconviction testing contributes to a high number of wrongful convictions. Over the last two decades, DNA testing technology improved and opened up opportunities to test DNA in aged, limited or degraded evidence. DNA that once produced inconclusive results may have conclusive results now.
Civil rights violations and wrongful convictions require action to maintain the justice system’s integrity.