Sex crimes are undoubtedly among the most heinous forms of criminal acts. Every person who indulges in rape, assault, pornography, prostitution, or a similar act should be punished. They are a threat to society and humanity, so there is no reason to spare them. Punishment for such criminals sets examples for society and discourages others from indulging in such acts. Luckily, the American legal system has the harshest penalties for sex crimes. However, wrongful convictions for these crimes are an equally daunting concern.
In 2018, more than 300 persons were exonerated of adult assault convictions, and 250 people were exonerated of child sex abuse. Moreover, sexual assault is the second most common form of crime leading to wrongful convictions. It follows only homicide in the list of wrongful convictions. The implications are dire because people have to lose their families, careers, and reputation because they are accused and convicted despite being innocent. It is vital for the legal system to reassess its stance and find ways to save the innocent from being punished.
Statistics show sex crime convictions going wrong
Over the years, statistics have consistently shown sex crime convictions going wrong. The causes for the problem are even more daunting. Nearly 84% of child sex abuse cases get a wrong judgment due to perjury or false accusations, while official misconduct leads to it in 44% of the cases. Mistaken witness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in sexual assault cases, with 67% of cases being misled. Perjury or false accusations account for 42%, and official misconduct is responsible in 38% of the cases. Whatever the reasons for people being wrongly convicted, it ruins them and their loved ones for a lifetime. They suffer financially, morally, and emotionally. Their relationships go awry, they lose jobs, and society isolates them for good. The struggle continues for a lifetime, even after they come out or clear their name eventually.
Things may not get better in the future
Even as data indicates the growing concern over wrongful convictions for sex crimes, things do not seem to get back on track. The numbers may actually increase in the future due to the over-criminalization of sex crimes. Sex offender registries are growing longer, leading to frustration in people who are on the list despite being innocent. Investigations are biased towards the victims, so the accused have to struggle with partial approaches. Overall, there are more chances of people landing in jails only because they face sex crime claims and lawsuits. The only way to prove innocence is by having a robust defense strategy. Anyone who faces an allegation must connect with a sex crimes attorney right away. These professionals can establish the innocence of their clients in court with proper evidence and viable arguments. It is the only way statistics can get back on track.
Understanding how exoneration works
Wrongful convictions are not the end of the road for innocent people. A seasoned sex crime lawyer can help clients devise a plan to prove their innocence even after being convicted despite their innocence. Fortunately, exoneration is the right solution as it can get the accused out by ensuring that the court takes back the criminal conviction. It requires a display of innocence for the person proved guilty initially. Alternatively, a flaw in the original judgment is also a valid point for exoneration. DNA exoneration is among the most prevalent ones in sex crime cases as it can prove the innocence of people convicted for acts like rape. The good thing is that the statistics for exonerations are encouraging, so there is hope for Americans put behind bars without being guilty.
Erroneous convictions show the failure of the legal system. It is a breach of the social contract between the law and citizens. The worst part is that an innocent person has to serve time for a crime they did not even commit. It is even worse for sex crime cases because people end up facing social stigma, losing jobs, and missing out on relationships. Their families also have to bear the trauma of a loved one being accused of a sex crime. The legal system needs to rework itself to ensure that the innocent never suffer due to flaws and loopholes. Likewise, they must get the opportunity to have their word and prove their innocence. A little work on the sex crime laws can take the country on the road to righteousness and save countless lives and families from the trauma of false convictions.