In the United States, it is common knowledge that there are many wrongful convictions each and every year. Sadly, they are most often victims of an unavoidable error in an imperfect judicial system. If you know someone who has been wrongfully convicted, doing something to help them can seem like a lost cause once they’ve already been institutionalized. However, with enough persistence and the right legal representation, it is in fact possible to have wrongful convictions overturned. Here are some actionable steps that anyone can take to help an innocent person rightfully regain their freedom.
Contact a Wrongful Conviction Lawyer
Contacting an experienced wrongful conviction lawyer is the very first thing you should do to ensure you’re accompanied by a professional who has successfully overturned wrongful convictions in the past. In fact, you can find expert lawyers for wrongful convictions like those at RB Law. Approaching the appeal backed by a reputable group of attorneys will ensure that your motion will be taken more seriously by the judge and members of the court.
Reach Out to the Media
Depending on the nature of the case, it may be beneficial to generate some publicity by having a news story published. You could also start a social media group to share the story with the public directly. The larger the outcry and backlash surrounding the case, the more likely it is that a judge will want to side with, or at least consider, the public opinion. You may need to talk to multiple news agencies, journalists, and blogs before you find a few who are willing to publish your story. This all might seem like a hassle but if you truly care for the person who has lost their freedom, it won’t be too difficult of a task. Spend a couple hours every week reaching out to new media outlets and letting them know the story and why you believe the person is innocent.
Start a Petition
If you’re the only person trying to help a wrongfully convicted inmate, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Petitions are one way you can turn a widespread opinion into a political movement. The more people who sign the petition, the more likely it is that it will be taken into consideration by legislators, the media, and the determining judge. Keep in mind that it might take a few months to a year or longer before you have enough signatures to push the issue. There are services and sites that you can use to promote your petition. Start by following a list of tips for promoting a petition.
Look for Additional Evidence or Testimonies
Doing all of the above might still not be enough to set the wrongfully convicted person free if there simply isn’t enough supporting evidence. Conduct a thorough re-investigation of the case to uncover overlooked details and see if you can find new witnesses who can bring forth additional testimonies. If the person was convicted solely based on the testimony of others but without sufficient physical evidence to prove actual wrongdoing, you may be able to have the initial conviction overturned on the grounds that it wasn’t supported by tangible evidence beyond hearsay. You may need to use several of the above mentioned strategies, but with concerted effort, it really is possible to have a wrongful conviction overturned.