Articles Posted in Wrongful Conviction

emiliano-bar-1266993-unsplash-copy-300x199James Gibson, the man who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of a double homicide, is finally a free man. After an appellate court tossed a conviction against him, the district attorney’s office dropped the charges. It was unclear if they were going to retry Gibson for the case, but it did not appear likely. Gibson was convicted on a confession made under duress during which he claimed he was tortured over the course of two days into admitting to the slayings. Gibson later recanted the confession and pleaded not guilty at trial. The prosecution leaned heavily on that confession in order to make their case against Gibson.

In addition to the confession, the prosecution had two witnesses that later recanted their testimony. The appellate court vacated the conviction and James Gibson waited to find out what the prosecution would do. Had they wanted, they could have tried Gibson again for the same charge. However, lacking sufficient evidence, they decided to let Gibson go which seems like the right thing to do.

How an Innocent Man Goes to Prison for 28 Years

For the past 28 years, James Gibson has maintained his own innocence. For 28 years he has remained behind bars. This is despite the fact that Gibson ostensibly confessed to the murders of an insurance agent and his friend. Gibson has always said that, over the course of two days, he was beaten by former Chicago police officer Jon Burge and the confession elicited during interrogation was coerced. Burge was accused of torturing confessions out of at least 200 suspects during his 19 years on the force. While the statute of limitations had elapsed on many of Burge’s crimes, he was eventually convicted in 2008 of obstruction of justice and perjury. He was sentenced to four and a half years, but released in 2014 after serving less than three.

As Burge’s crimes became public, Governor George Ryan pardoned four of those who had been convicted of crimes with confessions obtained by torture. Still, there are many behind bars who were convicted on phony confessions. James Gibson is among them. After 28 years, an appellate court threw out his conviction and ordered a new trial. Nonetheless, Gibson will likely remain behind bars until his friends and family raise the $20,000 necessary to release him on bail and will require electronic monitoring for the duration of the trial. 

Gibson Has Always Maintained His Innocence

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225If you have had to serve a prison sentence, then you know the significant emotional and psychological toll you and your family have had to endure, not to mention the loss in terms of time and money. In Chicago, unfortunately, too many citizens are being jailed for crimes they did not commit. The city currently is dealing with dozens of cases from the past in which citizens were wrongly convicted and imprisoned. At the same time, innocent victims, with the help of experienced attorneys, can pursue justice and potentially receive lucrative payouts from the city for having their rights violated years or even decades prior.

The Implications of a Wrongful Conviction

Legally speaking, when police officers arrest and prosecute someone for a crime in Chicago, the law requires probable cause. Yet, too often, the city’s law enforcement officers engage in false arrests, malicious criminal prosecution, and wrongful convictions. As a result, too many innocent people end up spending months and sometimes years in prison for crimes they did not commit.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225If you have been following the news in Chicago lately, then you know that too many citizens have been wrongly convicted over decades and are now just beginning to receive justice. Recently, the city vacated 15 convictions of innocent citizens that were framed by the Chicago Police Department.

In the event of a wrongful conviction, you and your family have likely lost precious time and financial resources for years and even decades. However, rest assured that you have rights and that you are entitled by law to claims for past and future financial compensation for the injustice you endured. Learn what you can do to file a claim and how a law firm can facilitate the process for you in receiving the financial compensation you deserve.

What is the Significance of a Wrongful Conviction?

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200Few laws have created the angst that is experienced in the stop-and-search era. The basic premise is that if you come from an ethnic minority, then the chances are that you will be more likely to be stripped and searched than a member of the mainstream community, which is primarily white Caucasian in this context. It is a violation of civil liberties. There are numerous reports of these powers being abused.

The law enforcement agencies may hide behind the notion that they are merely engaging in a consensual process, but consensus can never be achieved if one of the parties to the cause is so much more powerful and influential. The power of arrest and charge is particularly compelling to any would-be suspect when he or she is deciding whether or not to resist the arrest. The law enforcement agencies have attempted to report this as a practical matter of people from ethnic minorities committing more crimes more often than their mainstream white Caucasian counterparts. Other social researchers disagree with this premise because it does not account for the impact of the systemic deprivations with which these ethnic minorities have to contend.

Working Towards a Sustainable Model

DSC_0289Our system of law and order works pretty well, most of the time. After an arrest, it is up to the prosecutor to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the accused is the perpetrator of the crime. The defendant is entitled to be judged by his peers, and he is entitled to be represented by an attorney of his choosing during every aspect of the criminal proceedings up to and including trial of the matter; and to be able to present to the court any evidence of applicable defenses. However, sometimes there is a glitch in the system, a miscarriage of justice that results in the conviction and incarceration of an innocent person. Tragically, there are cases where a person convicted of a crime, has served years in prison for a crime he or she did not commit. The wrongfully accused can never get those years back, but may be entitled to compensation.

The State of Florida vs. Bain

In 1974, James Bain was convicted of breaking and entering, kidnapping, and rape, and was sentenced to life in prison. Bain maintained his innocence throughout, and after serving 35 years of the life sentence, his innocence was proven by DNA evidence.