Although we tend to think that anyone claiming to be innocent once arrested is just trying to get out of whatever crime they are being accused of, it could very well be that many really are innocent! Unfortunately, the evidence being entered into the record says otherwise. Do you know why that is? It is strange that although we have a standardized set of procedures to follow in determining someone’s guilt or innocence, something can always go wrong along the way. In fact, those same errors that result in a conviction can often set a guilty person free! With all of that being said, let’s take a moment or two to look at why there are so many wrongful convictions.
What Are the Main Factors in a Wrongful Conviction?
According to the National Institute of Justice, there are really two reasons why a conviction can be classified as “wrongful.” The first reason that can lead to a wrongful conviction determination would be the convicted person was “factually innocent,” meaning they didn’t do it! The second reason centers on the procedural errors that resulted in the conviction, and which violated their rights. Now, that can be quite confusing because most people just don’t know what their rights are! For the full answer, you would do best to consult with a team of wrongful conviction attorneys who have a winning record when representing clients to have their conviction overturned.
What Can an Attorney Do to Have a Wrongful Conviction Overturned?
One thing an attorney can do would be to file a motion for a new trial. It must be filed with the court within 90 days; however, the motion can be denied if there is inadequate evidence or invalid reasons to support a new trial. An attorney can also file an appeal. They have 30 days from the culmination of the previous trial in which a conviction was handed down to appeal the conviction. There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding when it comes to what it is that an appellate judge does when determining whether or not to grant the appeal.
What Exactly Is an Appellate Judge Looking For?
The judge is not looking to see if they agree with the verdict the jury handed down. Rather, the judge is looking to see if any of the convicted person’s rights were violated. You may remember that this is one of the main reasons why a conviction can be considered wrongful. Every American is granted certain rights, and these include the right to a fair trial in front of a jury by his or her peers. Sadly, a ‘fair’ trial is often not the case which is why so many convicted people consult with a wrongful conviction attorney. Violation of any right can be grounds for overturning the conviction or, at the very least, granting a whole new trial.
Whether evidence was tampered with, forensics were faulty, or a witness falsely identified the accused, the result is the same. The convicted person’s rights were infringed upon, so they are either granted a new trial or declared not guilty by an appellate judge. While this is a lot to take in, an attorney that specializes in wrongful conviction has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. They are the experts who can be relied upon to get a wrongful conviction overturned and the just compensation so rightfully deserved.