Most Common Crimes in Wrongful Conviction Cases and Why

Marrone Law Firm Represents Exonerated Individuals Following Wrongful Conviction Cases

Although wrongful convictions occur in all different types of crimes, some crimes are more frequently involved in cases of exoneration. Unfortunately, there also appears to be a racial disparity in who is affected by wrongful convictions for these particular offenses. Studies reviewing exoneration records have concluded that a combination of societal factors, implicit biases, and institutional and explicit racism all contribute to certain crimes more frequently leading to wrongful convictions and disproportionately affecting certain groups of individuals. But because the true number of wrongful convictions is believed to be many times more than the number of exonerations, it may be impossible to truly know what are the most common crimes in wrongful conviction cases and why they occur or happen more frequently to certain individuals.

If you have been exonerated following a wrongful conviction, turn to Marrone Law Firm, LLC for experienced legal advice to help determine whether you may have a civil claim against individuals or officials whose misconduct led to your wrongful conviction. Our experienced civil rights attorneys can advocate on your behalf to pursue the justice you need and deserve.

What Types of Crimes Most Frequently Result in a Wrongful Conviction?

A study by the National Registry of Exonerations, which keeps records of over 2,000 cases across the country that ended in exoneration for the defendant, found that three crimes are most commonly involved in exoneration cases — murder, sexual assault, and drug crimes. 

Why Do Certain Crimes Lead to Wrongful Convictions?

Of the cases recorded by the National Registry of Exonerations, approximately 47 percent of exonerees were Black or African American, despite Blacks and African Americans representing about 13 percent of the total U.S. population. 

Extrapolating from the rates of exonerations in murder cases, Black and African American defendants are about seven times more likely to be convicted than whites. This can be attributed in part to high homicide rates in the Black community. However, the rate of false convictions of Blacks and African Americans for murder is also affected by who the victim of the murder was. The National Registry of Exonerations found that Blacks and African Americans were more likely to have been wrongfully convicted of the murder of a white victim than a victim of another race. The study found that murder exonerations involving Black and African American defendants were approximately 20 percent more likely than cases involving white defendants to involve police misconduct, which might be attributable to institutional racism or to unconscious bias or explicit racial animus by members of the law enforcement community. 

In sexual assault crimes, the National Registry of Exonerations found that a Black or African American defendant was over three times more likely to be innocent of their crime than a white defendant. The study attributes this disparity to erroneous identifications by white victims of assaults committed by Black or African American assailants. Although sexual assaults of white victims committed by Black or African American perpetrators represent a small fraction of the total number of sexual assaults committed each year, about half of all cases of Blacks and African Americans being exonerated from sexual assault crimes involved witness misidentification. These misidentifications may arise from issues with cross-racial identification, implicit bias or explicit racial animus by the witness, or racially motivated official misconduct. 

Although Black and African American individuals use illegal drugs at the same rates as whites, Blacks and African Americans are about five times more likely to be incarcerated for drug possession. Based on exoneration records, Blacks and African Americans appear to be about 12 times as likely to be wrongfully convicted of a drug crime compared to whites. These disparities are believed to result from law enforcement more vigorously enforcing drug laws on Blacks and African Americans. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Common Elements of Wrongful Conviction Cases Throughout PA

FAQ: Why are wrongful conviction cases suddenly becoming so prominent in Pennsylvania?

FAQ: How does police misconduct contribute to wrongful convictions?

*Visit our official misconduct in wrongful convictions page for more details.

How The Marrone Law Firm Helped Walter Ogrod Get Justice After Years of Incarceration for a Wrongful Conviction

Contact us today for a free case review if you have been exonerated from any of the most common crimes in wrongful convictions to learn more about why certain crimes more frequently lead to wrongful convictions and how our firm can help you seek accountability and justice if someone’s misconduct may have been the cause of your wrongful conviction. 

Contact Our Firm To Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options for Seeking Accountability and Justice When You Have Been Exonerated from a Wrongful Conviction

Philadelphia Wrongful Conviction Attorney

Call or contact Marrone Law Firm, LLC today for a free initial consultation to learn more about how our experienced attorneys help exonerated victims of the most common crimes in wrongful convictions and why those wrongful convictions happen. Our dedicated civil litigation & trial attorneys in Philadelphia, PA are ready to discuss your legal rights and options for seeking accountability and justice.