The only thing worse than facing charges for a crime you did not commit is actually being convicted and sent to jail for the same crime.
While we would like to believe our criminal justice system does not convict innocent people, the truth is that wrongfully accused individuals go to prison all the time. In fact, according to a report released earlier this week, 2015 was a record-breaking year for overturning false convictions and freeing innocent individuals from incarceration.
Details of the study
Specifically, a review by the National Registry of Exoneration – a project of the University of Michigan Law School – found that there were a 149 people in the U.S. exonerated of criminal offenses in 2015, the most of any year and marking a 7 percent increase from 2014. Even worse, those exonerated in 2015 had already served an average of more than 14 years in prison.
While there were a wide variety of alleged offenses associated with the exonerations last year, many of them involved individuals wrongfully convicted of homicide and drug crimes. The report also noted an alarming trend regarding many of the underlying convictions, including the number of cases involving:
- False confessions of those accused
- Official misconduct
- Convictions when no crime actually occurred
- Convictions based on guilty pleas
Even though several jurisdictions had multiple exonerations last year, New York had the second most of any other state – meaning there is still hope for New Yorkers wrongfully convicted of a criminal offense. In fact, you should never give up trying to overturn your conviction on appeal, no matter the circumstances. Contact an attorney today and learn what legal options may be available.