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Exoneration shows flaws in criminal justice system

On behalf of Kenneth Krebs of Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs posted in Violent Crimes on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

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 the offender.

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