Michigan residents who have been accused of a crime or who are the subject of an investigation soon realize the enormity and strength of the opposition forces lining up to push for a conviction. The number of investigators, the volume and scope of scientific detection resources employed, and the input from the prosecutor's office might all contribute to an extremely uneven playing field for a defendant. With this reality, it is not that uncommon for an innocent person to be convicted of a crime.
Two Mueller Law Firm clients, Ledura Watkins and Darrell Siggers, testified this week before the Michigan Legislature on the need for a Forensic Commission to oversee the state's crime labs. Watkins and Siggers, who were wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 42 and 34 years behind bars before being exonerated, gave testimony to highlight the flaws in forensic science that contributed to their convictions. Siggers also appeared on a WDIV (Ch. 4 - Detroit) news story on November 26 that highlighted the success of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office's Conviction Integrity Unit, led by Valerie Newman.
This year, a new unit was started in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office aimed at catching incorrect convictions.
News stories are coming out on a regular basis that show people of color being profiled just because of their race. The stories of "Barbecue Becky" and "Poolside Patty" are just two examples of the many innocent situations that have led to people calling the police on individuals based on their race.
Imagine going to prison for a crime you didn't commit. While many people in prison claim this happened to them, there are some cases in which the person actually didn't commit the crime and was convicted wrongfully. As you can imagine, this is a very traumatic situation to face.
It's unfortunate to say this, but the facts and statistics don't lie: Being 'nonwhite' puts you at an increased risk of wrongful conviction by criminal courts in the United States. The problem is especially concerning for the black population.
A man was convicted of killing his entire family, including his wife and a pair of young daughters. He went to jail and spent 26 years behind bars.