We recently shared an interesting nugget about the prevalence of wrongful convictions in our criminal justice system. As we said then, when mistakes occur in the criminal justice system, we all have an obligation to learn from them and ensure people’s rights are protected.
Unfortunately, the post-mortem blame game on wrongful convictions does nothing in the short term to insulate you against flaws in the justice system.
Are penalties too severe? Yes, for the most part.
Do we incarcerate far too much of our population? Yes.
Do prosecutors, juries, and judges make mistakes? Yes.
Will addressing those issues and reforming the system help you if you are already facing criminal charges? No. You can do only one thing now to protect your rights and lessen the chance of being wrongfully convicted of a crime you did not commit.
Regardless of the work that is yet to happen on criminal justice reform, your best bet is to make sure you have an experienced, knowledgeable, and resourceful defense attorney looking out for your interests. You have too much on the line to leave your defense in the hands of someone who only dabbles in criminal defense or has yet to take part in a criminal trial.
A proven defense attorney can identify potential issues with jury selection, discovery, and trial procedure and limit your exposure to a wrongful conviction. In some cases, early intervention can result in criminal charges not being pursued or dismissed due to a lack of admissible evidence.
The Bottom Line
Our system is not perfect, and there is much work to be done, but it is all we have right now. Therefore, it is essential to have an attorney on your side who knows how to navigate the system as it exists today to limit your exposure to a criminal conviction and penalties.