According to a recent report, The National Registry of Exonerations has finally hit a terrible milestone: victims on wrongful convictions who were later exonerated for crimes they didn't commit have now lost more than 20,000 years behind bars.
According to a recent report issued by The National Registry of Exonerations, there were at least 139 wrongfully-convicted individuals who were exonerated last year in the United States, with New York having the fourth most exonerations in the nation.
A couple weeks ago, we told you about a re-introduced New York bill that is currently seeking to increase the benefits provided to victims of wrongful convictions. Among the benefits proposed by this legislation -- otherwise known as Assembly Bill 3894 -- include free college tuition, health care paid for by the state and the reimbursement of legal fees.
Several New York lawmakers are sponsoring legislation that will, if passed, increase the benefits for those wrongfully convicted of criminal offenses.
It is no secret that our criminal justice system has its flaws. In New York alone, there are many examples of innocent individuals having to spend years behind bars after being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, only to be exonerated and freed decades later.
In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled in Brady v. Maryland that prosecutors are required to provide defendants with any evidence that may be considered favorable to the accused. This means that prosecutors are supposed to turn over every piece of evidence that may cast doubt on the individual's guilt, no matter how slim.
More than two decades ago, a Kansas man named Lamonte McIntyre was arrested, charged and wrongfully convicted of a 1994 double homicide -- a crime he did not commit. However, after the state of Kansas stole 23 years of his life, he was freed just last week following his exoneration.
If you think only guilty people confess to crimes, you couldn't be more wrong. In fact, innocent individuals are often convicted after they provide police with false confessions.
Think only guilty people are in prison? Nope, not by a long shot. In fact, wrongful convictions occur all the time for a variety of reasons, including faulty evidence, eyewitness misidentifications and even official misconduct by police. This problem is so pervasive that one NYC politician has even called for the state to create a special commission to investigate why wrongful convictions occur and who is to blame.
Back in April, we told you about several proposed changes to Section 8-b of the New York Claims Act, which is the state law that allows victims of wrongful convictions to seek damages from the state.