Our law firm serves clients in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and throughout southwest Michigan.

What precursors can lead to wrongful convictions in MI?

There are a variety of factors that have led a surprising number of innocent people to be wrongfully convicted of a crime.

The U.S. court system is designed to charge and convict people who have committed criminal acts. As a result, the state of Mississippi and the nation as a whole becomes a safer place to live. Yet, not all people who have been found guilty have actually been engaged in an illegal activity. Approximately 342 people have been released from their prison sentences after
overlooked DNA evidence proved their innocence, according to the Innocence Project. These great injustices have led many people to wonder how many more innocent people are locked behind bars waiting for their case to be overturned.

One Michigan man was not only the victim of police coercion, but he was represented by an attorney who failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the case. As a result, the man spent approximately 17 years in prison for the
rape and murder of a young girl. Although the innocent man was being treated for a mental illness at the time the incident occurred, law enforcement officers tricked him into giving a full confession. This included details of the crime that were given to him by the officers. Years later, DNA evidence involved in the case was retested and proved that the man could not have committed the crime.

Factors leading to erroneous convictions

There are several factors that can play a role in a wrongful conviction case. A multitude of research has been conducted regarding eyewitness misidentification and flaws in lineup procedures. A variety of things can cause the eyewitness to choose an innocent person out of a lineup, such as poorly organized lineups and an administrator leading the witness.

Furthermore, some forensic tests that are used as evidence in criminal cases, such as bite mark comparisons, hair microscopy and shoe print comparisons, have not been scientifically proven to provide reliable results. DNA testing and other tests that have been deemed scientifically valid may be conducted improperly, and can yield erroneous results as well.

Other issues that can increase the likelihood of a wrongful conviction include the following:

  • Officer coercion into making false confessions.
  • Poor lawyering by inexperienced or negligent attorneys.
  • Informants receiving incentives may make up inaccurate testimonies.
  • Misconduct conducted by law enforcement or the government.

Whether unintentional or planned, small mistakes made in a criminal trial can lead to devastating outcomes for innocent people.

Upholding your rights in court

If you have been charged with a crime, you have certain legal rights that should be upheld in a court of law. A criminal defense attorney in Michigan may be able to help you explore your options and answer any questions you may have regarding your case.

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