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New DNA evidence clears Oakland man of sex crime conviction

A person facing false accusations needs a strong defense attorney to clear his or her name. There are fewer things more unfair than being imprisoned for a crime one did not commit. Being falsely accused of a sex offense can affect a person for a lifetime. One Oakland man is working through the repercussions of having 14 years of his life taken away by a false conviction, at the same time that he's celebrating the clearing of his name by a Santa Clara University Law School group.

The man was convicted in 2000 for two counts of forcible lewd conduct against a child under the age of 14, and one count of attempted rape against a 9-year-old girl as she walked to school. No DNA evidence was initially found on the t-shirt the girl had been wearing at the time of the assault. The girl and her mother mistakenly identified the defendant as the man who had assaulted her.

Shortly after the man's parole in January, law students and attorneys with the Northern California Innocence Project and the California DNA Project were able to get his guilty conviction overturned with new DNA evidence on the t-shirt that didn't match his. The evidence was run through national and local databases without finding a match. The man is now attempting to have his name removed from California's sex offender registry.

The consequences of a wrongful conviction can be devastating. In addition to prison time, one who is wrongfully accused faces damage to his or her reputation and disruption of his or her personal life. Wrongfully accused people are victimized as well as the victims of the crime.

Source: The Oakland Tribune, "Judge overturns Oakland man's conviction of raping 9-year-old girl in 1998," Paul T. Rosynsky, Mar. 11, 2013

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