For many years, DNA evidence has been used to overturn convictions in cases overseen by judges in Florida and throughout the country. Research has discovered a few common reasons why individuals may have been wrongfully convicted, and that research has led to reforms aimed at creating a more equitable justice system.
People may feel an incentive to lie in court
Individuals who have been victimized or witnessed a crime take place may have been coerced or otherwise convinced to make false or misleading statements in court. In some cases, witnesses are actually jailhouse informants who may be seeking to improve their own circumstances in exchange for their testimony.
Authorities may abuse their power
The vast majority of police officers and prosecutors take their professional obligations seriously. However, some abuse their authority or are more interested in securing a conviction than they are in finding the truth. Police intimidation has been known to result in individuals writing false confessions or otherwise telling authorities what they want to hear.
Witnesses don’t always identify the right person
It isn’t uncommon for authorities to ask witnesses to identify the person who they saw commit a crime. However, it also isn’t uncommon for a witness to name the wrong person. Mistakes may be made because an individual feels pressured by authorities to identify someone regardless of whether the identification is accurate.
This can be problematic for both the person who has been mistakenly charged with a crime and the community as a whole. While the police are investigating an innocent person, whoever actually did commit a crime is free to potentially violate the law again.
If you are charged with a crime, a criminal law attorney may help you obtain a favorable outcome in your legal matter. This may be done by asserting that you were convicted based on false testimony or official misconduct. If your lawyer’s efforts are successful, your case may be thrown out or the charges against you reduced.