Wrongful Conviction Attorneys in New York

Helping Victims of Wrongful Conviction by NYPD Get Justice

Post-Conviction Justice Unit is reviewing more than 1,100 cases tied to 22 former police officers. Nearly 200 convictions already dismissed.

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What is a Wrongful Conviction?

A wrongful conviction is when a person is accused of a crime and then convicted under false pretenses..

The legal definition of “wrongful conviction” is the conviction of a person accused of a crime which, as a result of an ensuing investigation, proves erroneous.

Wrongful convictions have the potential to completely and irreparably destroy the lives of victims.

Watch: National Institute of Justice's Just Wrong: The aftermath of wrongful convictions

A long-term study performed by the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) reported over 2,500 people in the U.S. had been exonerated between 1989 and 2019. Combined, subjects in the study served 22,000 years, despite being innocent of the crimes they were charged with.

The numbers reported by the NRE are only those who were exonerated – released from prison and absolved of any charges or crimes. There are still many, many more people doing time for crimes they did not commit, right here in New York.

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Background and Summary: Wrongful Conviction

NYPD Investigation

On November 17, 2022, nearly 200 misdemeanor convictions connected to 8 former NYPD officers were vacated at the request of the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The eight officers involved were each convicted of crimes themselves.

“The 188 misdemeanor cases occurred between 2001 and 2016, with more than half of the sentences resulting in fines or incarceration, the statement said.

The officers behind the arrests were convicted on charges that included official misconduct, perjury, bribe taking, drug sales, and stealing and selling guns from a precinct house, according to the statement.”

-CNN: Nearly 200 convictions linked to discredited NYPD cops dismissed at Manhattan DA’s request

Corruption in NYPD has led to the wrongful conviction of an untold number of people, likely in the thousands considering known statistics.

It is also likely that this corruption has a racial bias, as reported by the National Registry of Exonerations.

“About 69% of people exonerated from drug crimes were Black and 16% were white, despite studies showing that white and Black people use illegal drugs at similar rates. And of the nearly 260 people who were exonerated in individual cases in which they were deliberately framed for drug crimes by corrupt police officers, 87% were Black.”

– Innocence Project: New Report Highlights Persistent Racial Disparities Among Wrongful Convictions

Challenges Faced by Exonerees

Many victims serve lengthy sentences, and once exonerated, they’re forced to start over. Only now, they’re in a worse position than before they were convicted.

Re-entering into everyday life can be incredibly challenging. Many victims must repair relationships with loved ones. Other victims often cannot find adequate work or lose out on career opportunities.

Many exonerees are still burdened by the social stigma of having served time, or faced abuse and mistreatment while imprisoned.

The trauma alone of being blamed by the law and by society for a crime you did not commit leaves a permanent impact.

Here in New York City, it is still unknown just how many prisoners are serving sentences for crimes they did not commit.

As investigations into the corruption in the NYPD continue, we may start to learn the true scale of this tragedy.

If you were wrongfully convicted due to corruption in the New York Police Department, you do not have to face these challenges alone.

What Victims of Wrongful Conviction Can Do

New York is one of 29 states and Washington D.C. that have statutes for compensating people who were wrongfully convicted.

Provided you can prove your innocence with clear and convincing evidence, victims of wrongful conviction in New York can seek monetary damages for time incarcerated.

Jabbar Collins, one of the most famous victims of wrongful conviction, was exonerated in 2014. He won $13 million from New York City and New York State as compensation for spending 15 years in a maximum-security prison for a crime he did not commit.

If you were wrongfully convicted, or if you are currently serving a sentence for a crime you did not commit, please contact the wrongful conviction lawyers here at Merson Law PLLC.

Please understand that there is a path to justice, freedom, and prosperity. And now is the best time for you to start this journey.

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