How to Prove I’ve Been Wrongfully Convicted
Posted on Friday, July 1st, 2022 at 1:55 pm
The criminal justice system in the United States is supposed to convict those guilty of crimes and clear the innocent of any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and sometimes, people are wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit.
There can be any number of reasons for a wrongful conviction, and if you were convicted of a crime you didn’t commit, you can turn to the Champaign-Urbana criminal defense attorneys of Bruno Law Offices for help. We will review your case and help you get the justice you deserve.
Our law firm has served Central Illinois since 1980, and our attorneys have handled many wrongful conviction matters for our clients with remarkable success. Contact us today at (217) 328-6000 to request a consultation.
How Do Wrongful Convictions Occur?
A wrongful conviction commonly results when:
- The evidence shows that, in fact, the person is innocent.
- The person’s rights were violated, or there were procedural errors made during the process.
In their efforts to obtain a conviction, prosecutors will try to use as much evidence as possible to support their case. Officials and those responsible for gathering and analyzing evidence may make mistakes in the process of obtaining it, or in some rare instances, evidence necessary to support a conviction might be incorrectly obtained.
The following can lead to wrongful convictions:
- Eyewitness statements and misidentification– Prosecutors sometimes rely on eyewitness testimony as evidence to help obtain a conviction. Eyewitness testimony has been shown to be unreliable in many instances because people forget details, or they may misinterpret or exaggerate what they saw.
- Official misconduct – In 2018, 151 people were exonerated for various criminal convictions. Of those, more than 100 were convicted as the result of official misconduct.
- False confessions – Sometimes, prosecutors rely on the suspect’s confession as evidence in a case. However, issues can arise with the interrogation tactics used by detectives to gain a confession.
- Forensic evidence issues – When seeking a conviction, prosecutors will often rely on forensic evidence to prove a suspect’s involvement in the crime. Improper handling of evidence and procedural errors made during the forensic examination can lead to incorrect conclusions regarding the evidence obtained.
- Problems with your defense attorney – Some people are wrongfully convicted of a crime because their defense attorney was incompetent and did not adequately represent them in court.
- Informants – Law enforcement officials will often use informants to gain information about a crime or suspects. These informants usually receive incentives from law enforcement for their testimony, and that can lead to inaccurate, misleading, and false statements.
What You Can Do
In your quest to prove you have been wrongfully convicted, you will want to obtain as much evidence as you can to support your claim. The following are methods you can use to help prove your innocence and overturn your wrongful conviction:
- Hire a forensic analyst – Whether DNA is applicable to your case or not, you should still hire your own independent forensic examiner to review all aspects of the evidence prosecutors used against you. This can help uncover mistakes made during the investigation and could provide clear evidence that you are innocent.
- Get more witness statements – You should review all eyewitness accounts along with the testimony from any informants to identify problems or errors with their statements and the details they provide.
- Save everything –You should save every form of communication you use as you track down evidence. Some people may intentionally try to obstruct your efforts or deny what they have said, and you’ll need proof on hand to show the truth.
- Do not say too much to others – Remain discreet and do not talk to people who may not have your best interests at heart. Remain calm and professional and say only what you need to in order to get the information you need
- Work with a defense lawyer – As you work through the process of proving your wrongful conviction, you will want to have an attorney you can trust and one who will work diligently with you to help you obtain the evidence you need.
The Champaign-Urbana criminal defense lawyers of Bruno Law Offices have assisted clients throughout Central Illinois for more than 35 years, and we have achieved a winning record of helping to prove our clients’ innocence.
Contact us today at (217) 328-6000 or through our contact form to speak with us about how we can help you overturn your wrongful conviction.