When considering exonerations — where someone who was convicted of a crime is later found to be innocent — it is important to think about just how drastically a wrongful conviction can change a person’s life. The wrongfully convicted can lose many years that they can never get back, spending time behind bars despite having done nothing wrong.
However, jail time may be the least of their concerns. There is significant evidence that innocent people have been executed through the use of the death penalty.
The number of exonerations since 1973 are telling
The death penalty in the United States used to be far more common than it is today. Many states do not even use it anymore, though South Carolina does. But even with the waning usage over the decades, statistics show that more than 8,700 Americans have found themselves on death row since 1973. This is the unofficial name for the prison system that holds these inmates until an execution can happen.
However, 182 of these people have been exonerated since their convictions. Some recently spoke out about it in National Geographic, and their stories raise a lot of questions. First and foremost, what are the odds that those 182 are the only ones who were innocent and still got convicted of a serious crime?
While those 182 were saved from a terrible fate, It only stands to reason that innocent people have lost their lives after a wrongful conviction, as no criminal justice system is 100% perfect. Flawed evidence, mistaken witnesses, expert testimony that wasn’t so “expert” and racial biases may all play into wrongful convictions at any level.
What are your options if you’ve been wrongfully accused of a crime?
If you’re wrongfully accused of a crime, you need to know what options you have if you’ve been unjustly arrested or even convicted. Don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.