A man is celebrating his exoneration after spending a dozen years in prison
for a crime he did not commit. Unfortunately, his story is not unheard
of. A recent report in The Washington Post notes that over 317 exonerations
have occurred since 1989, many with the help of the Innocence Project.
The most recent exoneration is unique since the man who was exonerated
did not even know his case was getting reviewed. The review was part of
a local district attorney's work to investigate "claims of innocence
and other old cases." This case was investigated since it involved
an untested rape case.
The problems began when the man was encouraged to plead guilty to allegations
of rape. He was told that it was unwise to go to jury with the accusation
of a black man raping a white teenager. He took this advice, and served
a sentence for a violent
crime that was committed by someone else. A review of the DNA in the rape kit
not only confirmed that he was innocent, but also positively identified
Exoneration can help individuals falsely convicted of crimes move on with
their lives. In addition to removing the criminal record, it can also
lead to monetary compensation for the time spent falsely imprisoned. In
the case above, the man from Texas could receive $80,000 for each year
he spent in prison.
This case outlines how important it is to take criminal charges seriously.
Unfortunately, innocence is not always a guarantee. Defenses are available.
Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to better ensure your legal
rights are protected.
Source: The Washington Post, "
Texas man exonerated through DNA testing he didn't know was going to happen," Mark Berman, July 25, 2014