Did you know that the National Registry of Exonerations currently has 2,519 counts of cases where someone has been wrongly convicted and later freed? Of that number, 83 of them are from Florida-based cases, with 11 of those taking place in Broward, 9 in Miami-Dade, and 8 in Palm Beach. These numbers are shocking enough that Broward County has decided to do something about it.
How Conviction Review Units Are Making a Difference
The 11 cases in Broward include five false confessions, four mistaken eyewitness testimonies, and one attorney malpractice case. State attorney, Mike Satz, is created a conviction review unit to consider the cases of those who claim to be innocent behind bars. Similar units exist all over the country. Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando are the other Florida cities that have special teams to look into such claims.
One notable recent Florida case involved the exoneration of two innocent men, Clifford Williams Jr. and his nephew, Nathan Myers. Both men were incarcerated for 42 years before being found innocent in the death of a young woman who was shot in her own apartment. With the help of Melissa Nelson, who is heading the conviction review unit in Jacksonville, it was discovered that the eyewitness was mistaken in her testimony, as she claims the men entered the room – but new evidence showed the bullets entered through the outside of the home.
Why Are So Many Wrongful Convictions Happening?
No one should ever be convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, but wrongful convictions happen more often than they should. Wrongful convictions may occur if there is attorney malpractice, invalid eyewitness accounts, missing evidence, or false confessions out of police brutality, fear, or even mental illness.
If you or someone you know are incarcerated while innocent, having an experienced criminal defense attorney review the case could make a huge difference. Russell Spatz has over four decades of experience, and knows the legal system in and out. Give him a call today at (305) 442-0200 to see how he can help you.
Board, Sun Sentinel Editorial. “After Wrongly Convicting so Many, Broward’s New Conviction Review Unit Is Welcome News: Editorial.” Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 29 Nov. 2019, https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/editorials/fl-op-edit-florida-wrongful-convictions-20191129-nthtgt7bcbbo3d4yhbez7jspii-story.html?int=lat_digitaladshouse_bx-modal_acquisition-subscriber_ngux_display-ad-interstitial_bx-bonus-story_______.