What New Year’s means to Innocent Prisoners, their Families and Supporters

In regular society, this time of the year is celebrated in many different ways. Every
News Channel shows huge groups of people coming together. What’s not being shown is the struggle of innocent Prisoners, their families and supporters.

I’m one of MANY innocent prisoners and unfortunately I’ve been incarcerated over 19 years. Most of us do not celebrate New Year’s. We (Innocent Prisoners) hold on to the hope that, this year our innocence finally comes out, a judge Grants our pending appeal, the prosecution drops their prosecution, we find the evidence or witness that will exonerate us. For those of us who do not have a lawyer or support, we hope that an investigator, lawyer or Innocence Organization hears our cry and comes to our aid. Some of us are in better situations than others, and in some of our cases, we are on Death Row with a date to die and time is not on our side.

The majority of us comes from low-income families. Wrongful Convictions hits us the hardest. For most of us, our families lose hope and faith as the years pass that we will be vindicated. In some of our situations, we come up with the evidence needed to clear us or show we didn’t receive a fair trial, but due to strict procedures that have been put in place, our Innocence claims are fought against by Malicious Prosecutors arguing our claims are untimely and should be dismissed. These prosecutors is NOT out for Justice but to maintain a conviction. The sad thing is, Judges deny our appeals due to strict guidelines in our appeal process. As if you can put a strict time on showing Innocence.

Family and supporters of innocent Prisoners on New Year’s pray that, New Laws and legislation is passed to help assist us. But, most of the time, the only New Laws and Legislation that are passed, are ones that limit our access to the courts. Thanks to social media, our stories are being heard and some of us began to get the assistance we need to combat our Injustice. Below are some of our statistics:

* Exoneree’s spent an average of 11 years in prison: ten (10) were exonerated posthumously or died in prison. Roughly 50 percent of the cases involved African American defendants. Source: (University of Michigan law professor Samuel Gross).
* Of the 400 million serious criminal cases prosecutors have handled since 1989, at least 2,061 of them were wrongful convictions, according to a new report. Source: (John Zich/CORBIS).
* 2,061 Total known number of inmates and ex-convicts exonerated of serious crimes since 1989, according to the new report.
* 400 million serious (non-traffic) cases prosecutors have handled since 1989, according to the National District Attorneys Association.
* 891 specific wrongful convictions cases detailed in the National Registry of Exonerations.
* 93 percent of the exonerated was men.
* 10,000 combined time, in years, the 891 exonerated prisoners spent behind bars.
* 1,170 convicted defendants cleared in 13 “Group Exonerations” since 1995, following large police-corruption scandals, usually involving planted drugs or guns.
* 416 People exonerated of wrongful homicide convictions.
* 64 Percent of those convictions attributed to perjury or false accusations.
* 101 Exonerated convicts who had been sentenced to death.
* 203 People exonerated wrongful adult-rape convictions.
* 80 Percent of those convictions attributed to mistaken witness identification.
* 102 People exonerated of wrongful child sexual abuse convictions.
* 74 Percent of those cases attributed to “fabricated crimes that never occurred at all”.
* 289 People cleared since 1989 due to DNA testing, 222 of them since 2000, according to the Innocence Project.
* 17 Defendants cleared by DNA who had spent time on death row.
* 129 People exonerated of crimes that never happened.
* 135 People exonerated who had confessed to crimes they didn’t commit.
* 78 Exonerations in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), since 1989, the most in the country. (The areas with the most exonerations aren’t necessary the ones with the most wrongful convictions.)
* 21 Exonerations in Dallas County, Texas, since 2007, the most in recent years. – Sources: AP, Atlantic, Huffington Post, Innocence Project, National Registry of Exonerations, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Wrongful Conviction Blog.

Minus exonerations for us innocent prisoners, a New Year only brings our families, supporters and us more torture and heartache. I wouldn’t be totally accurate if I said I’m Innocent, and a crime have been committed by my wrongful conviction. Why? If I was exonerated today, the culprits responsible of my injustice wouldn’t face a criminal charge. The prosecution should be charged with attempted murder in ALL cases an Innocent Person was sentenced to Life or the Death Penalty. After ALL of the exonerations we know about, not one law has been enacted to charge government officials who are behind wrongful convictions. I hope for our sake, this year is better than last year for all of us.