Despite the many positive steps that the United States has taken over the past few decades with regards to equal rights, it is becoming increasingly clear that we still have a way to go. Many studies have shown that minorities face a huge disadvantage the criminal justice system.
According to a recent study by the National Registry of Exonerations, African Americans appear to be much more likely than white Americans to be wrongfully convicted of crimes.
When reviewing 1,900 cases of people who were wrongfully convicted, researchers found that 47 percent of them were African American, despite the fact that African Americans make up only about 13 percent of the population.
Breaking down the statistics according to the type of crime charged, researchers found that African Americans appeared to be seven times more likely to be wrongly convicted of murder when compared to white defendants.
In reviewing sexual assault cases, researchers found that African Americans were 3.5 times more likely than whites to be wrongfully convicted. In addition, blacks also faced lengthier prison sentences with these unfounded convictions when compared with white Americans who were wrongfully convicted.
Our legal system is meant to prevent false convictions and to treat everyone as equal before the law. No one should be sent to prison for a crime he or she did not commit. Sadly, our system doesn't always live up to its goals.
The best way for any defendant to protect him- or herself in the criminal justice system is with the help of a lawyer with skill in criminal defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can argue strongly on a client's behalf and help the accused to understand their rights and the strategies that can help them.
Source: Huffington Post, "Innocent Blacks More Likely Than Whites To Be Wrongfully Convicted," By Matt Ferner, March 7, 2017