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African-Americans more likely to be wrongfully convicted

A study indicates that African-Americans living in Minnesota and around the country are far more likely that whites to be wrongly convicted of a variety of types of crimes. The study, which was completed by the National Registry of Exonerations, determined that African-Americans were 12 times as likely to be falsely convicted of drug charges and seven times as likely to be erroneously convicted of murder when compared to whites.

Researchers were able to determine this by going over cases between 1989 and 2016 and looking at the rate of exonerations. They discovered that of the 1,900 people exonerated after being convicted of a crime, just shy of half of those were African-American.

Unsurprisingly, the apparent reason for the high wrong conviction rate is due to bias and racism. Researchers found that official misconduct was much more likely when an African-American was wrongly convicted of a crime. A number of reversals have come as a result of lab results showing that people convicted of drug crimes were not actually in possession of illicit substances.

There are a variety of ways that someone can end up facing drug charges. Along with selling drugs, people may also face charges if they have illegal substances or paraphernalia in their possession. Even misdemeanor charges can result in fines and jail time, so people should take these charges seriously. A lawyer could assist a defendant in determining if law enforcement collected and handled evidence in a lawful manner, and counsel may also be able to arrange for a plea bargain that reduces the penalties.

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

Christa Jacqueline Groshek
© 2012 Aspatore Books from
Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
Reproduced by permission