Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.


Number of exonerated people in 2015 shows extent of problem

Many Illinois residents have heard about the numerous exonerations that have occurred in recent years. These exonerated individuals were freed only after serving years in jail for crimes they didn't commit. To some, the issue illustrates that the criminal justice system in the United States is flawed.

Just in 2015, 149 people were exonerated and freed after serving an average of 15 years each in prison. A total of 54 of those exonerated were convicted of murder while others were convicted of lower-level offenses including drug crimes. Two-thirds of the people convicted of murder were minorities, and more than 50 percent were African-American.

Out of those wrongfully convicted people, 27 made false confessions. Many of these individuals were either minors or had mental disabilities. Because the issue of wrongful convictions is now getting more attention, many prosecutors' offices across the nation have begun reviewing old cases to look for instances in which a wrongful conviction appears likely. An additional problem exists in cases in which innocent people pled guilty because of fear about what might happen if they were to be convicted after trial.

When it comes to criminal law, prosecutors are supposed to pursue justice in a fair manner. Unfortunately, innocent people are sometimes convicted. While strides have been made to reduce this problem, some believe that there is still a lot of work that must be done to prevent the wrongful conviction of innocent people. A person who is charged with a crime that they did not commit may seek help from a criminal defense lawyer.

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