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Record numbers of “accused” criminals exonerated

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2015 | Firm News |

I was reading an article about a record number of people accused of crimes being exonerated.  The article goes on to say prosecutors are more willing to admit mistakes.

Make no mistake… this is not because defense attorneys have gotten better.  It is not that prosecutors have found some new found morality.

It is primarily the advancement of technology.  It is videos that show something totally different than the police report.  It is calling out some of the fiction that is written in reports.  Years ago, people accused would make these statements with a prosecutor setting the statements aside as a tactic.  Now, when an accused statements are closer to truth the police there is not much a prosecutor can do.

Without the video or other technology than the police officers statements will be believed and the accused will have to contend with battling the thought that the police officers testimony is stronger than a normal person.

Video killed the seedy reports.


A record high number of exonerations occurred last year in the United States, in part because of prosecutors willing to admit mistakes, according to a report released Tuesday.

In 2014, The National Registry of Exonerations recorded 125 exonerations. The previous highest total was 91 in 2012 and again in 2013, followed by 87 in 2001.

Local law professor Justin Brooks is the director of The California Innocence Project, which is located in Downtown San Diego.

His project has exonerated 17 people since it started 15 years ago. NBC 7 asked for this thoughts on the report.

“People are seeing innocent people in prison. They’re seeing the public react positively with prosecutors and police going back on their own cases and fixing mistakes,” Professor Brooks said.

The California Innocence Project has been a part of a number high-profile exoneration cases, some of them recent. Michael Hanline’s murder conviction was reversed last November. He had spent 36 years behind bars for the crime. Then there’s NFL hopeful Brian Banks who lost five years of his life after a woman accused him of rape and kidnap.

Brooks hopes these new numbers and each exoneration will be viewed as opportunities to improve procedures/policies for the future. He adds the local District Attorney’s Office works very well with the Innocence Project, however that’s not the case in different parts of the state and country.

The full article can be found here.

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