In the event that someone is found guilty of a crime during a criminal trial, there can be an element of shock and disbelief, especially if the defendant feels as though the trial was unfair, or additional evidence that challenges their guilt was not available at the time of trial. The initial trial conviction isn't always final, and there are a couple ways that the case can be examined again.
One Florida man is hoping for an appeal of his murder conviction from almost 30 years ago. The defendant has spent 28 years in prison for a crime he may not have committed.
One of the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the right for an accused person to have an attorney, or counsel, in a trial with charges against him/her. If there is a deficient performance by that counsel, and the result of the trial may have been different had it not been for that specific performance, an accused person may appeal a conviction under the terms of ineffective assistance of counsel through the Sixth Amendment.
A former prosecutor and judge in Texas will go to jail for his role in the wrongful conviction of a man. The prosecutor has pled guilty to intentionally failing to disclose evidence in a case that sent an innocent man to prison for the murder of his wife. The prosecutor turned judge, possessed evidence at the time of the trial that may have cleared the accused man of the crime.
A new Supreme court case gives hope for prisoners and individuals convicted of crimes where they have received incorrect information in some instances - In Lee v. United States 582 US ___ (2017) the court held that:
When you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you are afforded. The sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides clear criteria for those rights. One of the guaranteed rights is that the accused have the right to the assistance of counsel in a case against them. The U.S. Supreme Court has gone a step further in this requirement and ruled that states must provide a public defender for those criminals who may be indignant and unable to retain their own lawyer.
Picture this: you've just interviewed for your dream job, and you feel great about it, with the exception of one tiny detail. You've got something on your record. The worst part about it is, the thing that's on your record is an old and minor conviction.
Since the first Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) was established in Dallas in 2007, the country has seen a rise in the establishment of these bodies. CIUs are intended to be an independent reviewer of previous cases that may be wrongful convictions.
The subject of wrongful convictions seems to be on most people's radars. With the runaway popularity of documentaries such as Netflix's "Making a Murderer," there has been a surge of interest in exonerations and the justice system. While no judicial system is perfect, there is certainly something to be said for the rate of overturned convictions.
Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that Florida's death penalty sentencing procedures are in violation of constitutional rights. The court heard the case of 37-year old Timothy Hurst, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in in 1998.