Ernenwein & Johnson, LLP

Man found innocent after 22 years of prison

It may be hard to think of innocent people being convicted of crimes they did not commit. The entire justice system is built around the belief that criminals are found guilty of crimes, while innocent people will be set free. Those who did not actually commit a crime should feel rest assured that the justice system will do its job to prove their innocence. Sadly, cases do not always work out this way and those who are innocent are sometimes found guilty. 

This is what happened to a man who spent 22 years locked up in prison for a murder he was accused of committing but had no part in. In fact, DNA evidence processed before the man went to trial in 1997 showed that he had no connection to the crime. Yet, using coerced statements from law enforcement as evidence, the jury found him guilty of murder. Studies show that false confessions can be produced using psychological tactics, such as sleep deprivation. In this case, law enforcement interrogated the man for more than 30 hours, threatening him with execution and told him that if he admitted to the crime, they would seek leniency in his case.

Law enforcement departments use these measures to gain statements from suspects, even without scientific evidence proving the suspects committed the crime. Rather than look at the scientific evidence, or lack thereof, presented to the court, jurors may go off of law enforcement testimony. 

People who feel they have been wrongfully interrogated or mishandled by law enforcement may want to contact an attorney regarding their legal rights and options.


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