Great Neck criminal defense attorneys are aware that some of our clients who require representation have, in fact, committed a crime.
They are entitled nonetheless to a strong criminal defense that will give them the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.
However, there are those cases that involve clients that we know are truly innocent, of all or at least part of the crimes of which they are accused.
Unfortunately, the simple facts aren’t always enough to exonerate someone. That’s why aggressive criminal defense attorneys are crucial in these cases.
The sad truth is that not everyone falsely accused of a crime has access to competent legal counsel. The result, according to a recent analysis of 23 years’ worth of convictions, is that there are at least 2,000 individuals across the country who were convicted of serious crimes, and later exonerated.
It’s important to note that first of all, these are only the cases of which we are aware. And secondly, there are likely still a great number of cases in which the accused was in fact innocent, but their innocence has yet to be proven.
It’s estimated that there are approximately 1 million felony criminal convictions in the U.S. every single year. That means the actual number of false allegations is likely much higher.
This study, which was conducted by the University of Michigan Law School , as well as the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, identified 2,000 cases.
What researchers found was that 90 percent of those defendants – that’s nine out of 10 – were African American. About 100 of them were facing the death penalty.
About half were homicide cases. A little more than a third involved accusations of sexual assault.
Some 900 exonerated defendants had spent a combined total of more than 10,000 years in prison. That averages out to about 11 years a piece.
What ultimately resulted in exoneration for about a third of homicide defendants and two-thirds of sexual assault defendants was DNA evidence, which revealed after the trial that the defendant could not have committed the crimes of which they were accused.
The most common reasons behind false convictions was either false accusations or perjured testimony. That is, a witness is either mistaken with regard to what actually happened and who was responsible, or they are outright lying. It was determined that more than 40 percent of cases involved mistaken identification, while about 25 percent involved false or misleading forensic evidence.
That tells us something about the quality of the cases brought forth by prosecutors. While jurors are often apt to trust the forensics as presented by so-called experts, it’s critical for a good criminal defense attorney to analyze each bit of that evidence for potential errors. The slightest detail could have enormous implications in these cases.
The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides criminal defense representation in Great Neck, New York City, Long Island, and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.