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Trend: marked uptick in inmates freed for wrongful convictions

That a knowledgeable and aggressive defense attorney is an invaluable asset to any person facing an Arkansas state or federal criminal charge is a given, owing to the tremendous investigatory and judicial powers wielded by law enforcement officials and prosecutors, respectively.

Here's yet another reason why a criminal suspect has critical need of prompt and diligent legal representation: Many of the individuals and agencies aligned against that person routinely make mistakes that can materially botch a criminal outcome.

Indeed, an erroneous result in a criminal matter is far from a rarity, which makes closest scrutiny of police and prosecutorial actions a compelling consideration and a prerequisite for ensuring fundamental fairness and a defendant’s due process rights.

Consider the following data supplied recently by the National Registry of Exonerations. It indicates that exonerations for wrongful convictions of inmates across the country are trending upward and at the highest reported level in decades.

In fact, 87 “known” exonerations were recorded in 2013. That number, sadly, might convey with only slight accuracy the true number of persons who languish in prisons following criminal convictions for an unlawful act that they did not commit.

In more than 30 percent of the exonerations noted last years, no crime actually occurred at all.

A recent Wall Street Journal article discussing the exonerations refers to “the fallibility of prosecutors and investigators.”

Owing to myriad reasons, that fallibility will always exist, with errors being committed that send innocent people to prison.

Arkansas residents with questions or concerns regarding any criminal charge can receive candid and knowledgeable advice -- as well as aggressive advocacy -- from a proven Little Rock criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Criminal exonerations at all-time high," Jacob Gershman, Feb. 4, 2014

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