Many innocent people are tragically convicted and sent to prison, so today I decided to write about some statistics about exonerations in cases and just how proficient the system is at putting innocent people in prison.
Many times throughout my practice I’ve seen that there are many people who are exonerated and there are some surprising percentages of people who are wrongfully convicted of crimes. When they use the word exoneration for this purpose, it indicates that the person is actually innocent.
This could mean that either no crime occurred at all, or if a crime occurred, that the crime was not committed by the person who became incarcerated for it.
This means that it’s not necessarily always the standard that you didn’t get due process and your conviction was overturned but could be that you get fully exonerated as being actually innocent.
It’s estimated that the actual innocent population in prison is somewhere between .5% and 10%. That means if there were 1 million people in prison, 100,000 of all of those people could be wrongfully convicted and actually innocent. It’s an enormous number, and that’s just one estimation put out by the Texas Office of Court Administration as well as the National Office of Court Administration.
These statistics are surprising, but you have to also consider what exonerations are occurring. The common idea is that innocent people are being exonerated mostly by DNA evidence However, DNA evidence is far less likely to result in the exoneration than other grounds that would show actual innocence. More likely cases for exonerations occur when:
- You have mistaken witness identifications
- You have perjury or false testimony.
- You have false confessions when someone has been pressured, coerced, or tricked by the police into falsely confessing something they didn’t do.
- The false or misleading presentation of forensic evidence.
The last common one is official misconduct. That occurs when prosecutors or police in some way are hiding evidence, presenting false evidence, not being honest about Brady material or something similar to that. The highest exoneration rate is related to perjury, false testimony, or false accusations. These are contributing factors in at least 50% of cases.
As you can see, It’s often that there are many things that contribute to a person being falsely convicted in these situations. When you are trying to free yourself from prison, remember the five most common areas of exoneration: Mistaken identity, perjury or false testimony, false confession, false or misleading forensic evidence, and official misconduct.
Sept 2020 – Washington Post – More than half of all wrongful criminal convictions are caused by government misconduct, study finds
About The Attorney
Jacob Blizzard is board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law.
He regularly practices in the areas of state and federal criminal defense, criminal appeals, post conviction writs of habeas corpus.
In Texas, there are more than 100,000 attorneys licensed to practice, but only 7,450 are board certified.
In the entire State of Texas, as of the 2019 certification year, there were only 87 attorneys board certified in both criminal law and criminal appellate law, making Mr. Blizzard one of 0.087% of attorneys in Texas to hold both of those certifications.