When someone is exonerated, it means that the charges against them are overturned. They were already convicted in court and they spent time behind bars. But they are being let go because it was found that the original decision was the wrong one.
You’ve probably heard of this happening in the past, but you may be wondering why it occurs. The truth is that there are a lot of different reasons, so it’s important to very carefully consider every case.
New evidence shows up
For instance, one of the main reasons that people get exonerated is because new evidence is used. This was often seen after the development of DNA evidence. It may have been collected at the scene of a crime, but there was no way to analyze it properly. When this technology became available in the future, that DNA evidence proved that decisions made in the previous case were inaccurate.
Witnesses made a mistake
Another reason that people are exonerated is simply that witnesses picked the wrong person. For instance, one man was accused of sex crimes after the victim saw a lineup and selected him. But the actual perpetrator of that crime had been wearing a face covering and a hat at the time. The victim couldn’t possibly know who it was, made an inaccurate guess and sent that man to jail for more than 36 years before he was finally released.
The second case also shows how serious the ramifications are when mistakes are made during the criminal justice process. This is why it’s so important for everyone involved to understand their rights and legal options.