Wrongful convictions not only devastate families, but also undermine the integrity of the justice system. A wrongful conviction refers to when an individual has been convicted of a crime they did not commit.
How do wrongful convictions occur?
A variety of issues may elicit a wrongful conviction. According to the University of Michigan’s Law School and
several innocence projects across the United States, eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions. Misidentification can occur due to human error or lack of DNA evidence, which would have otherwise cleared individuals of a wrongful conviction.
While forensic science can be a crucial tool for exoneration, the larger scientific community may not yet accept many newer forensic techniques because such methods take a while to refine and meet with scientific scrutiny. Alternatively, many people are wrongfully convicted due to junk science that obscures or alters scientific data. Additionally, junk science positioned as forensic evidence may invalidate accurate DNA evidence from being used.
Police and prosecutorial misconduct may also end in a wrongful conviction. Though the majority of law enforcement and legal representation work hard to protect citizens and approach their work honorably, some individuals may mishandle a case in order to lead to a conviction more quickly. Misconduct may include fabricating evidence, withholding evidence, suggestive methods used to obtain identification, or coercing individuals during the interrogation process into false confessions.
Snitch testimonies also undermine the justice system’s integrity. Despite DNA evidence clearing the defendant, they may be wrongly imprisoned because someone snitched on them in their testimony. This may occur because a snitch may be incentivized by outside forces, internal stakeholders to the crime, or others. Snitch testimonies are particularly harmful because these testimonies aren’t disclosed to juries. In effect, juries have no idea whether a testimony is biased or not.
The Wrongful Convictions team at Sam Adam Jr. Law Group reflects decades of experience navigating wrongful cases in order ensure that their clients secure the best outcomes available for their claim. Contact Sam Adam Jr. Law Group today for a consultation to avoid bad legal advice that could lead to a wrongful conviction.
Our firm is proud member of the Illinois Innocence Project, which provides legal services at no cost to the wrongfully convicted. On average, it takes 8-10 years and over $300,000 to free one innocent person from prison and we are dedicated to those without a voice.