Over the past three decades, new scientific testing and technology have opened people’s eyes to the injustice of the justice system. This is something that is plainly evident in the state of Michigan where 72 prisoners have been exonerated since 1991.
As mentioned in a previous blog, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has a unit focused on righting wrong convictions. The Conviction Integrity Unity recently made headlines when they discovered evidence that led to the exoneration of two men.
A series of unfortunate events
The first of the two cases involved a man wrongly accused of sexual assault of a child in 1993. Recently, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and her Conviction Integrity Unit took the case and found that there were serious issues with the dog-tracking evidence that solidified the guilty verdict. The unit found that the dog tracking “…violated many protocols” including:
- Starting the dog at an improper location
- The dog’s handler introducing bias by first talking to the suspect
Based on the recommendation of the Conviction Integrity Unit, a judge exonerated the man after 25 years behind bars.
The second of the two cases involved a man found guilty in a fatal 2006 shooting. The Conviction Integrity Unit released its recommendation of immediate release. The recommendation was based on evidence that the sole-witness admitted to fabricating the whole story. After 11 years, that man is now free.
While exonerations are certainly the goal, we don’t stop there. The wrongly accused have lost more than money can buy, but monetary relief may provide the basis for a new start.