When facing charges for a crime you did not commit, it is crucial you maintain hope of proving your innocence. Sometimes you can do so quickly, but other times it may take years, as a recent case shows.
In May this year, a court exonerated a South Carolina man who has spent seven years awaiting trial for murder, armed robbery and weapons charges.
Proving your innocence can be hard when people hide evidence
One of the problems people accused of crimes have faced is that investigators and prosecutors do not always follow up or use the information they have or turn it over to the defense team. In the case of the man acquitted in May, a few things happened:
The accused man had already given the police the killer’s name, yet the police and prosecutors did not pursue this. They did not present the fingerprint or DNA evidence they found at the scene either. In other words, they decided they were going to convict someone and ignored all evidence that suggested he might not have done it.
The idea of a justice system is to find out who committed a crime and hold them responsible. There is nothing just about ignoring evidence in an attempt to get a conviction, especially when it is the wrong person. Sadly, not all lawyers seem to agree. A 2019 debate over introducing a law to insist legal teams hand over information or evidence that suggests there is a high probability someone who was convicted is innocent met with stiff opposition from some quarters.
Fighting to overturn an accusation or a conviction requires skill and persistence. There is often information or evidence out there to prove your innocence if you know where to look.