Wrongful Convictions in Los Angeles, CA

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At least 4.1% of convictions in LA County are wrongfully obtained. While Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is taking a second look at questionable convictions, they do continue to happen.

Could you become the next victim of police or prosecutorial misconduct?

What is a wrongful conviction?

A wrongful conviction is any conviction wherein a person who is actually innocent is convicted of a crime. 

A wrongful conviction is a failure of justice on two levels. First, the innocent person loses their life, career, housing, family, reputation, and future more often than not. Second, the person who actually committed the crime gets away with it.

What causes wrongful convictions?

The Innocence Project has identified five common causes.

  • Eyewitness misidentification. Advances in technology have added facial recognition software misidentification to this category.
  • False confessions, often extracted from individuals who are mentally impaired after being forced to go hours without food, drink, or sleep.
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel. If you do not take the time to get the best criminal lawyer you can find then you are very vulnerable to wrongful convictions.
  • Unreliable informant testimony; informants who have a financial or legal incentive to testify, and who may be less than truthful on the stand.
  • Junk science: microscopic hair comparisons, firearm tool marks, impression evidence, bite mark analysis, shoe print comparisons, and other methods that television has painted as foolproof but which in reality are inaccurate and unreliable.

Juries tend to believe that police “always get their man.” They believe that police officers investigate cases as thoroughly as they’ve seen them do on CSI: Miami or Law and Order. In reality, police will arrest and prosecutors will prosecute anyone they can make a plausible case against, regardless of whether or not they did the crime or not. 

Some truly believe the defendant to be guilty, some are corrupt and actively protecting the real perpetrators of crimes, and some simply do not care as long as their stats look good.

What are your best defenses against a wrongful conviction?

Your first best defenses happen on the day of arrest. That is, you need to invoke your 5th Amendment rights instead of answering any police questions, and you need to insist on a lawyer right away. 

Let’s talk about staying quiet first: many people think they can talk the police into letting them go. In reality, they often make their cases for them. Police ask a question and they think they’re giving an alibi. In reality they’re placing themselves near the scene of a crime during the proper time frame. 

Do not talk to the police about anything for any reason. You can give them your name, address, and phone number if asked, and then the only words out of your mouth should be, “I invoke my right to remain silent and want to call a lawyer.”

If at all possible, you should hire a private criminal law firm such as our firm. This is because public defenders are usually overwhelmed and barely have time to meet with clients or review their cases. Public defenders almost always urge plea bargains.

A plea bargain might in fact be the best option for someone who is actually innocent, just so they can get on with their lives, but you should have an attorney who will look at other options as well. It may be possible to get your charges dropped or dismissed if the evidence is nonexistent or suspect. 

If you get convicted of the crime you will have to go to the appeals process, and the post-conviction relief process is rarely effective at getting innocent suspects off the hook. There have been instances where judges have acknowledged that suspects are innocent…and then left them in prison for a whole host of procedural, political, and legal reasons.

If you’ve been accused of a crime, you cannot count on innocence alone to save you.

In trouble? Call us today.

See also:

What to Do If the Police Are At the Door Of Your Los Angeles Home

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After Your Los Angeles Arrest

What Should You Do if There’s a Warrant Out for Your Arrest in Los Angeles?

Wrongful Convictions in Los Angeles, CA

inne-rpage-seperator

At least 4.1% of convictions in LA County are wrongfully obtained. While Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is taking a second look at questionable convictions, they do continue to happen.

Could you become the next victim of police or prosecutorial misconduct?

What is a wrongful conviction?

A wrongful conviction is any conviction wherein a person who is actually innocent is convicted of a crime. 

A wrongful conviction is a failure of justice on two levels. First, the innocent person loses their life, career, housing, family, reputation, and future more often than not. Second, the person who actually committed the crime gets away with it.

What causes wrongful convictions?

The Innocence Project has identified five common causes.

  • Eyewitness misidentification. Advances in technology have added facial recognition software misidentification to this category.
  • False confessions, often extracted from individuals who are mentally impaired after being forced to go hours without food, drink, or sleep.
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel. If you do not take the time to get the best criminal lawyer you can find then you are very vulnerable to wrongful convictions.
  • Unreliable informant testimony; informants who have a financial or legal incentive to testify, and who may be less than truthful on the stand.
  • Junk science: microscopic hair comparisons, firearm tool marks, impression evidence, bite mark analysis, shoe print comparisons, and other methods that television has painted as foolproof but which in reality are inaccurate and unreliable.

Juries tend to believe that police “always get their man.” They believe that police officers investigate cases as thoroughly as they’ve seen them do on CSI: Miami or Law and Order. In reality, police will arrest and prosecutors will prosecute anyone they can make a plausible case against, regardless of whether or not they did the crime or not. 

Some truly believe the defendant to be guilty, some are corrupt and actively protecting the real perpetrators of crimes, and some simply do not care as long as their stats look good.

What are your best defenses against a wrongful conviction?

Your first best defenses happen on the day of arrest. That is, you need to invoke your 5th Amendment rights instead of answering any police questions, and you need to insist on a lawyer right away. 

Let’s talk about staying quiet first: many people think they can talk the police into letting them go. In reality, they often make their cases for them. Police ask a question and they think they’re giving an alibi. In reality they’re placing themselves near the scene of a crime during the proper time frame. 

Do not talk to the police about anything for any reason. You can give them your name, address, and phone number if asked, and then the only words out of your mouth should be, “I invoke my right to remain silent and want to call a lawyer.”

If at all possible, you should hire a private criminal law firm such as our firm. This is because public defenders are usually overwhelmed and barely have time to meet with clients or review their cases. Public defenders almost always urge plea bargains.

A plea bargain might in fact be the best option for someone who is actually innocent, just so they can get on with their lives, but you should have an attorney who will look at other options as well. It may be possible to get your charges dropped or dismissed if the evidence is nonexistent or suspect. 

If you get convicted of the crime you will have to go to the appeals process, and the post-conviction relief process is rarely effective at getting innocent suspects off the hook. There have been instances where judges have acknowledged that suspects are innocent…and then left them in prison for a whole host of procedural, political, and legal reasons.

If you’ve been accused of a crime, you cannot count on innocence alone to save you.

In trouble? Call us today.

See also:

What to Do If the Police Are At the Door Of Your Los Angeles Home

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After Your Los Angeles Arrest

What Should You Do if There’s a Warrant Out for Your Arrest in Los Angeles?

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