In the 1990s, the courts sentenced a man to 25-years-to-life for a murder he didn’t commit. The legal system denied his ten post-conviction notices. After 21 years of his sentence, the board paroled him in 2014, and the courts exonerated him in 2015. He wants to fight to protect people who plead guilty in New York, New York.
False arrest or false imprisonment is more common in prison than people think. Many people plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit because prosecutors offer a deal that appeals to them. The innocent people may have no evidence in their case and see a deal as a chance to go home. In 2019, the New York State Court of Appeals made it so people who plead guilty can’t challenge their convictions. After People v. Tiger’s decision, inmates who pleaded guilty need DNA evidence to support their claim.
The exonerated inmate is now advocating for the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act. The act helps people who pleaded guilty get another chance at justice. A New York State senator and assemblyman introduced the bill. Sometimes people wrongly plead guilty because of coercion and poverty. If the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act passes, it’ll include $10 million to fund a counsel for people seeking to overturn a conviction in court.
The critics say requests of discovery before a deal may slow the legal process. Clogging the legal system is a nonissue compared to the money the state and municipalities pay for wrongful convictions. Prisons don’t care who’s innocent or guilty. The bill is trying to prevent false arrest Or false imprisonment. Some of these false imprisonments are 20 to 30 years, and the city pays $1 million per year to a person. It’ll save the city money in the long run.
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