Wrongful Convictions in Minnesota
When innocent people are put behind bars, it undermines the credibility of our legal system and is often devastating to one’s well-being. Unfortunately, many factors lead to wrongful convictions in Minnesota, including unreliable eyewitness identification, false confessions, insufficient forensic data, and racial bias in the court system.
You shouldn’t have to suffer from the harmful effects of a wrongful conviction, and the team at CJB Law is here to help. Read on to learn more about the criminal appeals process and how a knowledgeable attorney can help reverse your situation.
Distinguishing Wrongful Convictions
While the prosecutor, judge, and jury’s jobs are to help administer justice, an error can still occur, leaving the innocent to bear the consequences of unjust sentencing. From improperly admitted evidence and nondisclosure of plea deals to legal incompetence, the slightest mistake can lead to a wrongful conviction and life-altering consequences. Common reasons that criminal verdicts are appealed include:
- False accusations
- Unreliable eyewitness reports
- Misconduct by government officials
- False or misleading forensic science
- Inadequate legal counsel
- Juror misconduct
- Significant legal error
- Evidentiary issues
- Excluded witnesses
- Violation of statute of limitations
- Sentencing issues
Additionally, while forensic science continues to develop, some outdated and faulty techniques are still used, including shoe print comparison, hair microscopy, false bullet match, and bite-mark comparisons. These can cause unjust convictions due to fabricated results, errors, and inaccurate testimony. As you can see, there are many reasons a wrongful conviction case may be overturned, requiring high-quality legal representation.
Discrimination in the Legal System
Although justice is supposed to be blind, legal systems are not without their shortcomings. There is no denying that certain protected groups are often burdened with the presumption of guilt, and this can still play a role in implementing harsher, unjust sentencing.
The “Equal Protection” clause in the 14th amendment of the Constitution states that defendants should not be treated differently because of their race in the United State’s justice system. Sadly, even with these lawful protections, discrimination continues to affect the judicial system and harm the perceptions of innocent people. Those more likely to experience discrimination in the court system include:
- African Americans
- Low income or unhoused groups
- Individuals with mental or physical disabilities
- Gender non-conforming individuals
- Non-native English speakers
Understanding the Criminal Appeals Process
Sadly, thousands of people throughout the country have been wrongfully convicted of crimes due to errors, legal bias, and insufficient evidence. With more innocent people in our prisons than ever, it’s vital to understand the criminal appeals process and how to fight for integrity and justice in wrongful conviction cases.
This is where the criminal appeal process can help. It’s a multi-tiered system where defendants can fight to overturn their guilty verdict. Learn more about how this process works to help innocent people fight for justice.
Criminal Appeals Qualifying Circumstances
In order to request an appeal to a criminal conviction, there needs to be clear errors and questionable decisions in your original case. While not every defendant is eligible for this process, others can make a formal request to an appellate court to appeal their case. This is especially true if there were any violations of constitutional rights, including:
- The right to not testify against oneself
- The right to a speedy trial
- Unlawful arrests
- The right to an attorney
- The right to confront accusers
- The right to due process
- Freedom of illegal search and seizure
- The right to not be charged twice with the same crime
If you are unsure whether or not a court infringed upon your constitutional rights, it is best to work with knowledgeable attorneys who can cut through the red tape and take action.
Winning Your Wrongful Conviction Case
After being wrongly convicted, the last thing you want to deal with is tackling the criminal appeals system on your own. Navigating this difficult time can feel overwhelming, but thankfully you don’t have to go through it alone.
When you work with an experienced criminal appeals attorney from CJB Law, they can help provide you the tools needed to win your criminal appeal, including:
- Gathering and reviewing all crucial case files.
- Filing an official notice of appeal on time before the window to do so closes.
- Establishing your innocence through an emotional plea to the judge.
- Filing a motion for a release from jail on a bail bond while you wait for results.
- Preparing and filing your opening brief, which explains why the initial judgment was wrong.
- Developing a strong oral argument to be heard by the Court of Appeals.
- Relaying the verdict to you and your loved ones.
Having an advocate during this process can also help alert you to new laws and initiatives that could work in your favor.
Recent Updates to Wrongful Conviction in Minnesota
Over the past few years, the state of Minnesota has worked to address the errors within the justice system and decided to take action to help free wrongfully convicted people. As of August 2021, the Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, announced the Conviction Review Unit (CRU) creation.
This response unit will begin accepting applications to review wrongful convictions. While this creates another opportunity for overturning wrongful convictions, it’s still a good idea to work with an experienced attorney to ensure all essential documents are included in the application to strengthen your chances in the criminal appeals process.
Work With CJB Law to Overturn Your Wrongful Conviction
Even though navigating the appeal process may feel intimidating, it’s important to stay hopeful. With the addition of the new response unit and a shifting legal landscape, there is a strong push to overturn wrongful convictions. Working with a skilled criminal appeals attorney from CJB Law gives you the best chance of overturning wrongful convictions in Minnesota.
Our team will work tirelessly to establish your innocence and appeal your criminal verdict. Instead of trying to fight through this process on your own, you can rest assured that every detail will be handled by the caring and capable wrongful conviction attorneys at CJB Law. Connect with us today to schedule your free case evaluation.