Friday, February 05, 2010

How Many Innocent People Are In Jail, Right Now?

Scott Greenfield reports this morning on the Innocence Project's announcement of the 250th exoneration of an innocent person. This one was convicted when I was 7, and left prison on parole when I was 12.

We as criminal defense lawyers read about exonerations and react. We shake our heads, we get angry, we roll our eyes when our friends express amazement that an innocent person was in jail, that a prosecutor fought their release even after DNA cleared them, and we wonder how many else there are.

We also hear the deafening silence of the vast majority of the public who don't care.

There are those, you know, that consider this the cost of doing business. They're apologists for the "imperfect system. I'll never forget watching a guest on a TV talk show say that if 1% of the people executed were innocent, that would be a pretty good stat - 99% being guilty.

The problem here is not that 250 people have been exonerated, the problem is that we don't know how many innocent people will spend yet another night in jail, for something they didn't do.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com

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