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wrongful conviction, appeals, Illinois criminal defense attorneyThe criminal justice system in the United States is based on the ideals that only those proven to be guilty beyond reasonable doubt should be convicted of crime. In practice, however, the system is far from perfect, and every year, hundreds if not thousands of individuals are found guilty of crimes they did not commit. With the proliferation of DNA-based exonerations, the issue has been brought to the forefront in recent years, as some 2000 convictions have been overturned in the last several decades. Still, one wrongful conviction is too many, and if you or a loved one has suffered legal consequences for a crime you did not commit, a qualified lawyer may be able to help.

Earlier this year, a Washington, D.C., Superior Court ordered to the District of Columbia to pay more than $9 million in damages to man whose life had been ruined by a wrongful conviction. The man had spent more than 22 years behind bars for a rape and robbery that he did not commit, as proven by subsequent DNA evidence. The question is, though: how do these things happen? How does an innocent person get convicted of something he or she did not do?

Organizations from around the country, including the Innocence Project and Northwestern University’s Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions based here in Chicago, have put together some of the most common causes of false convictions. While some may be understandable to a degree, others are downright disheartening and may represent criminal activity on their own.

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