The criminal justice system is there to protect society from the ills of crime by punishing the offenders. Although this works well on paper, there are several victims of the attempts to correct problems by aggressively prosecuting people who may not be guilty. This is why the presumption of guilt is a very important part of the system.
One man knows the price of mistakes in criminal prosecutions. A 71-year-old Detroit man was exonerated last year for a murder charge dating back to 1972 after new testimony proved he was not the offender. He is one of three recipients of $2.3 million in compensation after their prison sentences were proven unwarranted.
“Conceding that no system is perfect, the government’s public recognition and overturning of the convictions of these men helps to foster a healing process, and assures Michiganders that the government– regardless of fault – will take ownership of its errors,” said the Wolverine State’s attorney general.
The Wrongfully Imprisoned Compensation Act of 2016 allows Michigan’s convicts who served time for crimes they did not commit to receive up to $50,000 per year served in prison. Although municipal funds may not have sufficient money for all qualified claims, people who have improperly paid for crimes should still forward these claims in the interest of justice.
People facing criminal charges should consider an attorney to make sure they are properly represented in negotiations with prosecutors, hearings with judges and a trial environment if necessary. Legal representation is enshrined as an irrevocable right for a good reason and everyone should remember that.