Colorado Sex Crime Attorney Blog

2,000 Guilty of Felony Crimes Exonerated in 23 Years

Posted by Kyle B. Sawyer | May 23, 2012 | 0 Comments

A study by the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions, part of the School of Law at Northwestern, discovered that over 2,000 people have been exonerated after being wrongfully imprisoned. They included data from all over the United States, including exonerations from Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams, Douglas, Larimer, and Weld County.

The database reports that since 1989, over 2,000 people have been wrongfully imprisoned in the United States. Researchers pulled much of their data from the 873 cases of those 2,000 that included the most extensive and definitive evidence. In those, they discovered that the combined prison time totaled more than 10,000 years. That makes the average prison time per person to be more than eleven years.

From this collection of over 800 cases, researchers found that almost half were homicide convictions. People convicted of Sexual Assault, including crimes like Aggravated Incest (CRS 18-6-301), Unlawful Sexual Contact (CRS 18-3-404), and Sexual Assault of a Child (CRS 18-3-405) equaled one third of the exonerations. DNA evidence proved to be a very strong ally for the defense in most of those sexual assault exonerations. In 80% of those cases however, an eyewitness made a false identification and the defendant was wrongfully found guilty.

Researchers did not include another 1,170 cases where police officers tainted, invented, or planted evidence to bring about a false conviction. This may seem like a rare event, but police in cities like Denver, Littleton, Englewood, Castle Rock, and Broomfield will sometimes do anything to make an arrest. There may be many cases in which a defendant is maintaining their innocence behind bars but after convicts because of police corruption, lying witnesses, and inaccurate DNA results during trial.

According to the researchers, there are around one million felony convictions annually. With those kinds of numbers, it is a very real possibility you or someone you know may face felony charges, including sexual offense charges, in the future. Be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the O'Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880. Together we can protect your future.

About the Author

Kyle B. Sawyer

I have a passion for defending others in criminal cases. I am able to empathize with my clients and understand their emotions and fears. I have a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and I understand what it feels like to be wrongly accused of a crime.


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