Few people would ever want to be sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit. Unfortunately, wrongful convictions happen all the time in the United States, including here in California. And as we explained back in January in a piece on wrongful conviction compensation, reimbursement by our state government for time spent in prison can seem mediocre when compared to the rest of the nation.
Research shows that while false confessions occur among defendants of any age, the phenomenon occurs more frequently among juveniles. The Innocence Project explains that people may admit to a crime they didn’t commit for the following reasons:
Have you ever run up behind someone on the street, calling their name, only to find out it wasn't the person you thought it was? It's an honest mistake that has probably happened to many of our Pleasanton readers. Usually in these situations, you both walk away from the situation -- no harm done.
When we are young, our parents constantly remind us that lying is wrong. While we don't completely understand why at the time, we certainly do as we get older. That's because we come to learn that some forms of lying can actually have a profound effect on our lives as well as others. In some cases, such as with false accusations, it can lead to criminal investigations and litigation that could wreak havoc on a person's reputation or may even lead to a wrongful conviction.
Did you know that only 30 states, including California and the District of Columbia, have passed laws that grant compensation payments to people who have served time in prison because of wrongful convictions? This may seem surprising especially when one considers the serious impact a conviction can have on a person's life.
We see it in movies and police dramas all the time: someone confessing to a crime they did not commit in order to protect someone they care about. But while many people believe that no one would ever risk a false confession for someone else's sake, a case out of another state is proving that it does happen in real life sometimes.