Liberty is a right inherent to every citizen. That’s why criminal law is fundamentally designed to protect this very right for people accused of crimes. It is through due process that he’s given the chance to defend himself by maintaining his innocence. Sometimes, however, it could end with an innocent man being wrongfully convicted.
An article on FoxNews.com reports on the case of a North Carolinian man by the name of Joseph Sledge, who went behind bars in 1976 after being wrongfully convicted for killing a mother and daughter. Sledge, now 70, was recently exonerated, after the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence acquired DNA evidence that negated the verdict. Sledge is the eighth person exonerated since the commission started in 2007.
Wrongful conviction is widespread. Since 1989, only about 300 convictions have been corrected by DNA evidence, and 17 people who were wrongfully convicted were sent to death row. It is estimated that innocent people have a combined 3,944 years spent in prison. A knowledgeable Salisbury attorney enumerates the flaws that contribute to a wrongful conviction.
These are people who fabricate stories against the defendant in exchange for an “incentive” e.g. being released from, or being kept out of prison.
Being under pressure to bring closure to the case, unethical law enforcers may try to ensure that an innocent defendant is convicted. This includes knowingly allowing untruthful witnesses to take the stand or purposely mishandle or destroy evidence in favor of the defendant.
Calloused, overworked, incompetent, or inexperienced lawyers fail to fulfill their duty to the defendant. There’s also the possibility of the defendant being convicted via technicalities because of such negligence.
Defendants, regardless of mental competence, are exposed to intimidating police interrogation until they reach the point of deciding that confessing would be better for them than maintaining their innocence. They eventually make incriminating statements or even plead guilty.
This includes the use of mishandled evidence or evidence that was gathered through sciences with dubious credibility and testimony of unskilled so-called “experts” presenting erroneous findings.
Sledge’s case is just one of many cases of wrongful convictions out there. This doesn’t mean you should give up, however. If you or a loved one is facing false charges, you would do well to talk to sympathetic and experienced criminal attorneys in Salisbury, NC from firms like Sherrill & Cameron, PLLC to ensure justice is done.
(Source: Nearly 40 years after wrongful conviction, 70-year-old North Carolina man walks out of prison, FoxNews.com)