As much as people often want to believe otherwise, crimes are rarely black and white. Often, the issues that lead to violent events are not only tense, but conflicted and difficult to understand from an outsider’s perspective. Only the people who actually were present when alleged crimes occurred know what really happened, and it’s the job of a defense attorney to not judge, but rather help their clients out of difficult situations. An attempted murder defense lawyer, for example, isn’t there to decide whether or not their client is guilty, but to build the best possible defense from a non-biased perspective. The fact is that while a jury shouldn’t be influenced by preconceived notions surrounding a defendant or their specific situation, they can be. A defense attorney is there to make sure that they hear all of the different perspectives surrounding a case, and why it might not be as straightforward as it initially may appear. Having a great attorney is crucial to winning a case; just because a person is innocent doesn’t mean that they’ll go free, even if their innocence seems obvious to some. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 10,000 people in the U.S. are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes each year. Below, we’ll examine how this phenomenon occurs, and why a good defense attorney can make a real difference in preventing this issue.
What Kinds Of Crimes Are People Wrongfully Convicted Of?
It may be easy to imagine that a person could be wrongfully convicted of a minor theft — that kind of crime isn’t going to hold a major sentence. But just as there are many different types of defense attorneys — from attempted murder defense lawyers to DUI defense attorneys — there are countless types of crimes of which people are frequently wrongfully convicted. If you can be convicted, essentially, you can be wrongfully convicted — no matter how serious the crime. A murder charge can carry a sentence of life in prison or even the death penalty in some states; but this doesn’t mean that a jury will take the seriousness of this into account. This is why it’s crucial that a defendant has a highly respected lawyer on their side, who can communicate how seriously juries take convictions. It’s true that in the U.S. alone, an estimated 3,944 years have been served by innocent people in prison, and since 1989 over 300 convictions have been overturned due to DNA evidence. Some of these convictions are relatively minor — but some are serious. Without the highest level of legal representation, a defendant is always risking his or her freedom.
What Are Some Examples Of Wrongful Convictions?
There are several famous cases of wrongful convictions throughout history. Recently, the “West Memphis Three” were released on an Alford Plea — maintaining their innocence, but acknowledging that there was enough evidence to convict them — after being presumably wrongfully convicted of murdering three boys. Two of the three defendants had been sentenced to life in prison, and one had spent nearly two decades on death row. Sam Sheppard, a doctor, was famously exonerated of the murder of his wife — after spending ten years in prison, he was granted a new trial and acquitted. The issue with both of these cases is that the media circus surrounding them made it virtually impossible for juries to be impartial. For that matter, in the first case in particular there was a lot of pressure on the prosecution for a conviction. A good defense attorney won’t leave these types of details to the side, whether they’re an attempted murder defense lawyer or a theft lawyer.
What Does It Take To Have A Conviction Overturned?
Certain groups like the Innocence Project have attempted murder defense lawyers, sex crime attorneys, and more on hand to help overturn wrongful convictions. But make no mistake — this process takes years, lots of money, and is never guaranteed to work. Therefore, it’s extremely important that defendants understand that they shouldn’t gamble on their freedom the first time around.