DNA Shows 33 Convicted Sex Offenders in Virginia May be Innocent

by dmatson on July 2, 2012

It is amazing how much bad evidence, misinformation and panic can get you a wrongful criminal convictions, especially when it comes to sex offenses.

Via vacrminaldefenselawyer.com,

The Urban Institute looked at sex assault cases between 1973 and 1987. They found as many as 33 people convicted of such assaults during that time are likely innocent. This is a wrongful conviction rate of 8 to 15%, an astronomical figure when you are talking about the damage done to these people’s lives.

Witness testimony is notoriously unreliable, even though it makes for compelling and convincing evidence when you hear someone assert something out loud. But people are frequently mistaken in these cases.

It is scary that we can find out how wrong people were simply by using modern scientific evidence and DNA analysis. But dozens of people in Virginia have been wrongly convicted, and spent time in jail.

How many people nationwide are in the same situation? Can it be anywhere close to the 8-15% nationally? This is a horrific miscarriage of justice and a national tragedy.

And it should be a blow to the court system that, by design is supposed to be all about the principle of  “innocent until proven guilty” and “It is better to let 9 guilty men go free than convict one innocent man.”


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