Wrongful convictions based on coerced confessions, unreliable eyewitness testimony, prosecutorial misconduct or other reasons are a widespread tragedy in California. Such injustices cost innocent Californians years of their freedom.
They also cost California taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars according to a new report.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, a recent study of 692 wrongful California convictions from 1989 to 2012 found that those cases alone cost taxpayers over $220 million. Of that enormous sum:
- $80 million was spent on incarceration costs for individuals who were set free after their convictions were overturned
- $68 million was spent on lawsuit settlements in wrongful conviction cases, and
- Another $68 million was spent on trials and appeals in those cases
The study found that the most common reason convictions were reversed was judicial mistakes at trial — including improper instructions to juries or rulings on evidence. Prosecutorial misconduct was found in 86 of the cases analyzed in the study.
The study only scratches the surface of the problem of wrongful convictions in California. But for individuals who are convicted of crimes they did not commit, just one wrongful conviction is enough to ruin a life.
If you are facing criminal charges in California, don’t risk the possibility of a wrongful conviction. Contact one of our experienced and aggressive California criminal defense attorneys who will fight to protect your rights every step of the way.