1. Many wrongful convictions are the result of junk science, prosecutorial misconduct, police misconduct and unreliable eye witness testimony. See Eyewitness Testimony - Reliable? and Innocence Project Statistics
2. It is extremely difficult to find lawyers willing to go against their own or fight against systemic error.
3. Exonerations, if wrongfully convicted, are difficult, expensive and take years. The United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Also wrongfully convicted spend an average of more than 11 years in prison and nine out of 10 of them are men and half are African-American.
4. A word about exonerations: When Nelson Mandela was on Nightline after his release, Ted Koppel said, "Well I guess you are glad the system worked." Mr. Mandela quickly responded, "Mr. Koppel, if the system had worked, I would not have been jailed in the first place!" Exonerations are MUCH rarer than wrongful convictions. We think Nelson Mandela summed it up perfectly!
Wrongful Convictions Galore!
Reported Rhode Island Wrongful Convictions
FINALLY set free ONLY because the REAL killer confessed
Detective Jeffrey Scott Hornoff
Read this excellent expose on the wrongful conviction of Carlos DeLuna
Wilmington 10 Pardoned - 40 years late!
ALL innocent but FORCED to confess!
The Central Park Jogger Case
A Case Out Of Thin Air!
The McMartin Preschool Abuse Trials
"They're putting on witnesses who they know are lying. They concealed exonerating evidence. Don't we have enough criminal conduct by the prosecutors to put them behind bars?"
"It doesn't work that way," the lawyer laughed. "The law is just for the little people. When we break the rules we go to jail. When they break the rules they go to lunch...."
"But what about the law?" the woman gasped. "What about the Constitution?"
"I'm afraid that's just one of those nice, comforting fantasies like the tooth fairy. There are two classes of people. Those who hold power and those who do not. And in any dispute the guys who hold power will decide which way it's going to go....I hope you understand that this is not about child abuse, just as McCarthyism was not about Communists."
--- Eberle, Paul and Shirley. The Abuse of Innocence: The McMartin Preschool Trial ( 1993) (reporting a discussion between a friend of the Buckeys and a defense lawyer)
A must see: The National Registry Of Exonerations
Quoted from the National Registry Of Exonerations: More than 2,000 people have been exonerated of serious crimes since 1989 in the United States, according to a report by college researchers who have established the first national registry of exonerations. Researchers say their registry is the largest database of these types of cases and showcases some of the major issues with the criminal justice system, including that the leading causes of wrongful convictions are perjury, faulty witness identification and misconduct by prosecutors. "No matter how tragic they are, even 2,000 exonerations over 23 years is a tiny number in a country with 2.3 million people in prisons and jails," says a report released by the authors. "If that were the extent of the problem we would be encouraged by these numbers. But it's not. These cases merely point to a much larger number of tragedies that we do not know about."
Wrongly Convicted? Think You Can Sue? Think Again! Read this and this!. See how your state compensates the wrongfully convicted. WARNING: fasten your seatbelt. The Innocence Project has some things to say on how wrongful convictions should be handled. About 40 percent receive no compensation for their wrongful imprisonment.