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African-Americans More Likely to Be Wrongly Convicted

March 10, 2017

The number of African-Americans who are exonerated after having been convicted of crimes indicates that they are more likely to be wrongly convicted than whites. Florida residents may be interested to learn that a study by the National Registry of Exonerations, which looked at cases from between 1989 and 2016, found that African-Americans were 12 times as likely to be wrongly convicted of drug crimes and seven times as likely to be wrongly convicted of murder compared to whites.

A large number of exonerations have come from Texas, Illinois, New York and California. Texas has led the way in reversed convictions, and this is likely due to the fact that many parts of the state now have integrity units designed to check for potential problems in prosecutions.

Researchers discovered that of 1,900 defendants that were later exonerated in the cases they looked at, just shy of half of those individuals were African-American. There are a number of factors that appear to have led to this significant imbalance, and racism and official misconduct were some of the most prominent. According to a University of Michigan Law School professor, official misconduct in murder cases is far more likely when the defendant is African-American compared to when the defendant is white.

If people are facing drug charges, they should be aware that there are a variety of penalties for misdemeanor and felony convictions. Penalties can include fines, jail time and community service. Additionally, a conviction may make it difficult for someone to obtain a job. When a person is facing these types of charges, a lawyer could assist them in ensuring that law enforcement did not abridge their rights while collecting evidence as well as work to build a defense against their charges.