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How common are wrongful convictions in Michigan?

| Jul 6, 2020 | The Justice System |

Like most people in Troy, you likely have a good deal of faith in the criminal justice system. That faith may lead you to believe that there is no way an erroneous criminal charge against you could result in a conviction. Indeed, you hope that the natural workings of a just investigatory process will inevitably reveal your innocence. 

Unfortunately, as many studies confirm, wrongful convictions do indeed occur. You might think such incidents to be rare when compared to the total number of criminal convictions in America, yet in fact, the possibility of a conviction for a crime that you did not commit may be much more likely than you think. 

How wrongful convictions occur 

According to information shared by the Chicago Tribune, as many as 230,000 of those incarcerated in the U.S. are there due to wrongful convictions. That number may represent as much as 10% of the domestic prison population. How is it that the potential for a wrongful conviction can be that high? The University of Michigan Law School lists the following factors as contributing to the possibility of a wrongful conviction: 

  • Misidentification by eyewitnesses  
  • Evidence based on unfounded science 
  • Coerced confessions 
  • Investigator and/or prosecutorial misconduct  
  • Testimony from jailhouse informants 

Assistance following a wrongful conviction 

Poor legal representation also ranks among the common reasons for wrongful convictions. Your reluctance to rely on an attorney following a wrongful conviction due to poor representation is understandable. However, you should know that there are legal resources out there dedicated solely to helping you overturn a wrongful conviction. These resources (such as Michigan’s statewide Conviction Integrity Unit) no doubt contribute to the Innocence Project listing Michigan among the states with the most criminal exonerations in the U.S. in 2019.

Privately retained attorneys can also help.  Here at the Law Office of John Freeman, we are dedicated to seeking justice for our clients – before a conviction even occurs.  If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge or is under investigation, please contact us.  It could be the most important call / e-mail you make.