It’s a nightmare scenario, getting arrested for a crime you did not commit. This fear is so prominent that it’s been the theme of countless movies, shows and books over the years. But it’s a real challenge that many people have faced, with some of them winding up on death row.
You can find far too many examples of these types of cases. The most prominent and famous story is that of Hurricane Carter, a boxer who was convicted of murder and only released after nearly two decades. That story spawned songs and movies and other forms of media, vaulting it into the public’s attention.
But he is far from alone. More recently, there is the story of Robert DuBoise. He was a teenager when he was accused of murder and then convicted. He got the death sentence and had to share prison time with others who had actually committed those crimes. When he finally was exonerated after 37 years, he took a positive approach and, with the help of professional football players, worked to get his life back on track.
Will this continue happening?
It’s clear that stories like this are not just, nor do they reflect the goals of the justice system. And simply exonerating someone after the fact does not make up for it. These two men are just two examples of many, and both lost massive portions of their lives due to mistakes made in court. Releasing a man after 37 years behind bars, starting when he was a teenager, means he missed out on most of what others think of as their lives. He only has one life to live, and he can never get that back.
This is why strong criminal defense is so necessary when facing life-changing charges. It’s simply not possible to guarantee justice without it, and there is no real way to make up for a mistake. For those who have already been wrongfully convicted, though, these stories do show that there is hope for an eventual release when using all possible legal options.