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Explanation for Wrongful Conviction Reasons


No two false accusations are exactly the same. But false accusations do fall into certain patterns. If you've been falsely accused, it can be helpful to learn about the categories to see if you can gain wisdom from previous cases that have similarities to your case.

Wrongful Convictions Categorized


Did someone's lie lead to your criminal charge? Or did someone honestly but mistakenly identify you as the culprit of a crime? There are many ways it can happen. But the National Registry of Exonerations using data from over 3,000 exonerations has narrowed it down to five primary categories (perjury or false accusation; false or misleading forensic evidence; mistaken witness identification; false confessions; and official misconduct).

Official Misconduct: The Outlier

For the purposes of this website, I do not address official misconduct because it is a complicated category and an issue that is often not unearthed until after the case has resolved. It is also an issue that is frequently just one contributing factor among many (such as the Curtis Flowers case where the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence but there was also all four of the other categories present). If you are falsely accused, it is more fruitful to focus on the other four categories before looking at the fifth category unless official misconduct is glaringly obvious. For these reasons, this website focuses on the other four categories.

Simplified Terminology

When identifying the reasons for wrongful conviction I use language that is more accessible and easy to understand. Instead of calling a category "perjury or false accusation" like the Registry of Exonerations, I just call it "lying". Because if you boil it down that is what is going on. Consult the registry of exonerations for official statistics and terminology. 

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