There is no such thing as a victimless crime. Injuries can take all different forms from physical to emotional to financial. Sometimes, people who are wrongfully accused and/or convicted violent crimes suffer as much as the actual victim of the crime. While our legal system is full of checks and balances that usually works to the advantage of the falsely accused, this was not the case for a man who was wrongfully convicted of murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in 1992 and spent 10 years incarcerated in the Arizona State Prison Complex.
During that time, the man was subjected to what many would describe as abuse from guards. Meals were placed outside of his cell, just out of his reach. Hours later the guards would push the cold food to the prisoner. He was forced to sleep in tattered tents in the desert and on a concrete slab in the prison. His public defender flat out told him that they expected a guilty verdict at the trial, and despite the fact that there were contradictions in the evidence—size 11 footprints were found at the crime scene but he wore size 9—the man was sentenced to death. In 2001, new DNA legislation was passed. The man, with new lawyers, persuaded a judge to re-test the victim’s underwear. The DNA did not match the man’s; rather, it belonged to another man serving time for a different sexual assault. The wrongfully convicted man was exonerated in 2002.
Others who have been wrongfully accused or convicted should never give up on their pursuit for freedom. Technological advancements are being made every day that could shed new light on evidence to get convictions overturned. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney could be beneficial.
Source: Express & Star, “Dead man walking,” Elizabeth Joyce, Oct. 23, 2013.