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Innocent Americans spent at least 10,000 years in jail

The US Constitution guarantees a fair trial, but the number of
Americans that will argue otherwise is incredible. At least 2,000 people
have been sentenced to prison for crimes in the last 23 years, only to
eventually be exonerated by the court.
As shocking as it may be, until now there has been no official
database of information pertaining to Americans wrongfully convicted of
crimes only to be exonerated down the road. As a result, researchers at
the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful
Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law took it upon
themselves to change all that and have just now rolled out a database
that examines exonerations in America and the findings are astounding.
Taking into account as much information as obtainable dating back to
1989, more than 2,000 people have been sentenced to time behind bars for
crimes that the court would later say they did not commit. Scanning
barely two decades of available info, researchers have found a trove of
information detailing 873 well-documented exoneration cases. Of just
those, the time spent behind bars totals to more than 10,000 years in
prison. The creators of the database have found proof of roughly 1,200
separate exonerations during the same time span, although less
information at this point is available.So far the results offer
an uncensored look at the falsities of the US justice system, and,
sadly, the researchers feel like they are only just beginning to dive
into the data."We know there are many more that we haven't found," University of Michigan law professor Samuel Gross tell the Associated Press of his findings.

Although
the database only contains a limited amount of information for now,
Gross says that it is a critical starting point for reexamining the
mistakes that mare the justice system in the United States."This is useful, because if we want to prevent false convictions, we have to learn how we make mistakes," Gross adds to McClatchy.

Of
the trends identified so far in their research, the group behind the
database has found that, in nine out of 10 cases, exonerated ex-cons are
male and half are African American. Roughly half of the 873
exonerations were homicide cases and over one-third were convictions for
sexual assaults.Of just the 873 sample size, 101 of the convicts
eventually exonerated were sentenced to death. The number of Americans
that may have been proved innocent if it wasn’t for a state-sanctioned
execution could have easily skyrocketed that statistic to an even more
alarming number.In all, Gross says that the number of exonerated
Americans dating back to the 1980s exceed 2,000, but they purposely
excluded more than half of that figure due convictions that were canned
because of known law enforcement corruption. The report reveals that
there is information pertaining to an additional 1,170 defendants that
only came up as an accident and as “a byproduct of searches for individual cases.”"Some of these group exonerations are well known; most are comparatively obscure,” reads the report.

Regardless
of what factor forced researchers to cast them aside, many involved
cases where cops either planted drugs, guns or other weapons to get
unlawful arrests, only to later be caught.Of the nearly 900 cases
that are well documented, however, Gross and company say that they’ve
found many common factors among them. If half of those cases, the most
common tie was either perjured testimony or false accusations. Around 43
percent of the cases involved eyewitnesses mistook the identity of
alleged criminals and almost a quarter of the cases included false or
misleading evidence."[T]here's usually someone to blame for
the underlying tragedy, often more than one person, and the common
culprits include defense lawyers as well as police officers, prosecutors
and judges. In many cases, everybody involved has egg on their face," reads the report.


Added: Jun-14-2012 Occurred On: Jun-14-2012
By: theLAB
In:
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Tags: jail, prison, justice, system, theLAB
Views: 624 | Comments: 6 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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