False accusations happen everyday. I wish I could tell you that the truth always wins out. But life isn't a fairy tale.
A System That Has
Failed So Many People
It is notoriously difficult to quantify how frequently people are wrongfully convicted of a crime. But the best available studies suggest the figure is between 4-6%. With certain crimes that are more susceptible to wrongful convictions being as high as 11.6%. Over 3,000 people have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated since 1989. Those are just the cases that have been proven. Have no doubt that there are many more. Our court system leans strongly toward finality. Only the most glaring errors and obvious evidence overturns cases on appeal. And even then, it can be not enough (see the Cameron Todd Willingham case).
The Pitfalls of the Past
Provide Insights to Chart
a Path Toward Success
But out of all of this darkness a silver lining emerges for those falsely accused today. We can learn from the past. No two false accusations are exactly the same. But false accusations fall into certain patterns. Did a lying witness or an honest but mistaken identification contribute to the wrongful conviction? The number of cases where factors like this occur has been quantified by the Registry of Exonerations.
And of more help than the sheer numbers is that these cases can be analyzed. What happened and how did it happen? Are there similarities between that case and your case? Analyzing the pitfalls of the wrongful conviction and the successes of the exoneration can be helpful to those falsely accused today. This site serves as a jumping off point for searching for defenses and ways to think about your case. However, I cannot stress enough that this website is not legal advice. The laws in your jurisdiction are likely different than the laws in the cases on this website. You should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney in your jurisdiction about your specific legal needs.