Woody White Law PLLC
Phone 910-338-4900
Toll Free 866-677-8525

African-Americans and wrongful convictions

African-Americans living in North Carolina and around the country should know that they are much more likely to be wrongfully convicted of certain crimes than white Americans. According to a study released by the National Registry of Exonerations, factors such as misconduct by officials as well as racial bias increases the chances that they will be unjustly convicted for sexual assault, illegal drug activity or murder.

Out of 1,900 defendants in examined cases from 1989 to October 2016 who were convicted of crimes and then later vindicated, 47 percent were black Americans, a figure that is three times their representation in the population. The results of the study also stated that African-Americans were seven more times at risk of being wrongly condemned of murder than whites. Regarding drug crimes, black people have 12 times the risk of being wrongfully convicted than white people.

According to the senior editor of the organization that track exonerations in the United States, the rate of official misconduct was significantly higher in the cases where the defendant was black compared to the cases in which the defendant was white. Contributing factors in some of the wrong convictions included obvious racism, unconscious bias and institutional discrimination. The results of another study that was released by the same group indicate that a record number of known exonerations in the United States since 1989 was set in 2016 with 166 cases. This is an increase from 160 cases in 2015.

Individuals who are facing drug charges should consult with a criminal law attorney who may provide legal representation against drug possession or trafficking charges. The attorney may examine the factors of the case and determine if their rights were violated with an improperly conducted search warrant, traffic stop or arrest.

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