A recent study of exonerations may interest some Florida residents. In the study, the researchers found that African-Americans were much likelier to have been wrongfully convicted than members of other groups. The researchers believe that the reason for this is tied to racial bias combined with official misconduct.
The National Registry on Exonerations examined the exonerations that have happened from 1989 to 2016. During that time, 1,900 people were exonerated after being wrongfully convicted. About 47 percent of the people who were exonerated were African-Americans, even though that percentage is three times greater than that of people in the population that are black. In 2016 alone, 166 people were exonerated, and 60 of those cases came from Texas.
A majority of the Texas cases came from Harris County, which is where Houston is located. Most of them were for drug convictions. In some cases, people pleaded guilty to drug crimes when lab work later came back showing that the questionable substances did not contain any controlled substances. Illinois was second in the number of exonerations behind Texas with 16.
Drug crimes are treated seriously in Florida, and people who are convicted may be sentenced to years in prison. People who are charged may benefit by getting help from experienced criminal defense lawyers. Attorneys may identify problems with the ways the cases were investigated. In some cases, there may be warrantless searches or suspicionless stops. When attorneys spot these kinds of issues, they may challenge the admissibility of the evidence against their clients in motions hearings held before the courts. If they win these hearings, the evidence may be suppressed, which could force the prosecutors into dismissing the charges against the defendants. Attorneys may also fight for their clients through jury trials when plea agreements cannot be reached.