The National Registry of Exonerations published some recent statistics indicating that not only are exonerations becoming more common, but that the police seem more willing to help out the individual.
In 2012, there were 63 exonerations that involved police helping investigators clarify the criminal case or actually initiating the investigation. Of these exonerations, 36 were homicide cases and 15 were rape cases.
A representative for the National Registry of Exonerations was very pleased with the data, making an important point that it is not only the job of law enforcement to prosecute and incarcerate people; but also to uphold the law and ensure justice is being done. If upholding justice and the law means looking into a possibly incorrect guilty verdict, then that is their job.
The representative went on to credit certain states for having laws that loosen the restrictions on individuals seeking an appeal or DNA evidence testing in the wake of their crime; in addition to some states creating oversight committees that double check the crimes that police investigate and prosecute.
There are a couple of things to take away from this story, and the first is that while being exonerated of a crime is a tremendous achievement, it is best for the individual to avoid that predicament all together. Consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you present the best possible case and potentially keep you out of a jail cell.
The other important aspect to this story is that even the police, prosecutors and investigators can make mistakes. Criminals who proclaim their innocence just might be telling the truth; and it is an important idea for the public to embrace.
Source: National Law Journal, “Report: Police and prosecutors getting more involved in exonerations,” Karen Sloan, April 3, 2013
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