The criminal justice realm in Colorado and nationally will always comprise top-tier subject matter when it is spotlighted in conversation or a news piece.
And that is logically so, because virtually everything about it is of an ultra-serious nature. The outcomes of criminal law cases are often life-changing and even compellingly dire for those affected.
Today’s blog post underscores that reality and focuses on one singular and narrow topic to drive home the point.
Namely, that is wrongful convictions, which denotes subject matter that is immediately sobering and, as many commentators stress, deeply troubling.
It is a bedrock American legal principle that every accused criminal wrongdoer is presumed innocent unless proven guilty and that he or she can present a defense on a fundamentally fair playing field. Confidence in the legal system hinges on that core assumption.
Immutable fairness is of course a lofty and salutary ideal. It has also been repeatedly exposed as an unrealistic hope in cases where defendants have been wrongly accused and convicted.
How common are wrongful convictions in the United States?
Although it can’t be stated with certainty how often wrongful convictions occur across the country, ample evidence underscores what is clearly a problem of huge dimensions.
Here is one relevant sliver of information to confirm that: A recent report on the subject matter that is exceptionally comprehensive and is widely considered to be authoritative bases its research on 2,400 exonerations of wrongfully convicted individuals.
Many readers of this blog post might reasonably find that number to be both startling and depressing. And it is, of course, merely representative of what is certainly a much larger number of people who are currently locked away behind bars despite being innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.
We will take a look at the key findings in the above-cited National Registry of Exonerations report in our next blog post, noting particularly the evidence that points to the role played by government officials’ misconduct in securing wrongful convictions.