Causes of Wrongful Convictions
Dedicated Civil Rights Lawyers Help Exonerated Individuals Seek Justice in Cases Involving All Causes of Wrongful Convictions
Various studies have estimated the rate of wrongful convictions in the U.S. to range somewhere between two and 10 percent of all convictions. Given the U.S.’s total prison population of over two million individuals, that means there could be tens or hundreds of thousands of people sitting in jails and prisons for crimes they did not commit. There are multiple reasons why so many innocent people are convicted despite evidence later coming to light that fully exonerates them for those crimes. However, some causes of wrongful conviction more frequently come up in cases of exonerations.
If you have been exonerated from a wrongful conviction, the attorneys of Marrone Law Firm, LLC may be able to help you pursue a claim for accountability and justice against the government officials whose misconduct led to you being accused and convicted of a crime you did not commit.
Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we help those released from incarceration and conviction seek justice against the various causes of wrongful convictions.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Convictions?
Some of the most frequent causes of wrongful convictions that may give rise to civil claims brought by defendants who are later exonerated from their wrongful convictions include:
- Withholding or destroying favorable evidence (evidence that might give the defense an advantage at trial) or exculpatory evidence (evidence that either identifies another individual as the perpetrator or excludes the defendant as a possible perpetrator).
- Fabricating evidence, including planting evidence on an arrestee or at the scene of a crime.
- Coercing false confessions from a defendant through intimidation, physical violence, threats against a suspect or their family and friends, or conduct that could amount to torture, such as depriving a suspect of food, water, sleep, etc.
- Improperly influencing witnesses, such as explicitly or implicitly coaching witnesses to make an identification or give certain testimony, or coercing witnesses to give testimony through threats of criminal or civil action against a potential witness.
- Fabricating false or misleading testimony, typically through the use of co-defendants or jailhouse informants, who are offered leniency in their own criminal cases in exchange for providing testimony that will implicate another defendant. Unfortunately, that gives informants or cooperating defendants an incentive to lie, and sometimes investigators or prosecutors are aware of the unreliability or outright falsity of such testimony.
- Perjury by investigating law enforcement officers.
- Prosecutorial misconduct, including hiding evidence, improperly coaching witnesses, making false representations in court, or attempting to sneak inadmissible evidence, testimony, or argument in at trial.
- Shoddy expert testimony, where “experts” provide an opinion or forensic testimony based on untested or disproven scientific principles, or where the results of forensic testing are misrepresented or exaggerated. In recent years, previously widely used forensic testimony like hair or bite mark analysis has been called into question or even ruled as unreliable and inadmissible by many courts. Much of this testimony was given by individuals with dubious qualifications who were willing to offer expert testimony that benefitted the state, in exchange for payments of hefty expert fees.
Other non-misconduct causes of wrongful convictions include:
- Eyewitness misidentification, where an eyewitness makes an honest mistake in their identification of a perpetrator or their recollection of a criminal event.
- Forensic testing errors, where unintentional errors during the laboratory testing process produce inaccurate results.
- Poor legal representation, as criminal defense attorneys can make mistakes or oversights in preparing and trying a defendant’s case. Public defenders are often prone to errors in representation as many, although well-intentioned lawyers, may lack the necessary experience or are overworked due to heavy caseloads.
- Judicial errors, as judges may fail to notice errors or misconduct during the trial that should call for correction, or they may make legally erroneous rulings on evidentiary or other issues that ultimately affect the outcome of the trial.
How The Marrone Law Firm Helped Walter Ogrod Get Justice After Years of Incarceration for a Wrongful Conviction
Turn to Marrone Law Firm, LLC for Experienced Legal Representation to Help You Seek Accountability When You Have Been Freed from Your Wrongful Conviction
Sometimes, wrongful convictions occur because of honest mistakes by investigators, prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, and jurors who are legitimately trying to arrive at the correct result in a trial. But causes of wrongful convictions that involve misconduct by police or prosecutors or other government officials should result in the exonerated victim of the wrongful conviction being able to seek accountability and justice. No amount of money will give you the years you spent behind bars or your reputation back. But a civil claim for compensation when you have suffered a wrongful conviction due to bad acts can provide you with some justice for the harm you have suffered. Let our experienced Philadelphia civil rights attorneys go to work fighting to help you recover after being exonerated for a crime that you were wrongfully convicted for.
Call or Contact Us for a Free Case Review to Discuss How We Can Help with Your Claim
After you have been exonerated for a crime that you did not commit, reach out to Marrone Law Firm, LLC for a free, confidential consultation to learn more about how our experienced civil rights attorneys can help people like you recover some degree of justice and accountability in cases involving all kinds of causes of wrongful conviction.