That is a question every client should ask their criminal defense lawyer. Many people claim to be innocent of a crime because they are scared to face possible consequences. The best thing you can do to help yourself is to be honest with your attorney.
Our lawyers do not take for granted that the criminal justice system always works and that everyone who is accused of a crime actually committed one. We know all too well that innocent people are not only accused of crimes, but they are charged with them, and can even be convicted of a crime they did not commit.
We investigate and prepare each case knowing that we will have to fight hard to prove you are innocent. Even when the evidence supports your innocence, prosecutors will work to keep that evidence out of the documents and out of the court to try to make you appear guilty.
Remember, the prosecutor already assumes you are guilty; their job is to get a conviction not to defend your rights.
If you are innocent, our first goal is to try to get all charges dropped. If we need to go to trial, our main goal will be to prove your innocence.
A 2011 report on the convictions of innocent people showed that between 1989 and 2011 in Michigan, 34 people convicted of committing a serious crime were later exonerated; four by DNA evidence, and 30 by other means. Of those wrongfully convicted, not one of them exonerated at the time was entitled to financial compensation for their prison time served.
In the past 20 years, nine people put to death in other states were found to be innocent based on DNA evidence—after they were executed. While Michigan does not have a death penalty, you can be sentenced to life in prison. One 2011 report estimated that nearly 20,000 innocent people are currently serving time in jail or prison.
Unfortunately, innocent people who do not have aggressive and competent legal counsel sometimes do end up in jail. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the Michigan criminal justice system is notorious for miscarriage of justice because of the lack of quality legal representation:
"Faces of Failing Public Defense Systems, a new report issued by the ACLU, ACLU of Michigan and the Campaign For Justice, shows how Michigan’s crumbling public defense system allows innocent individuals to become collateral damage as a result of inadequate legal representation."
Unlike prosecutors who automatically assume you are guilty, we want to hear your complete side of the story. Police and prosecutors who treat you like a convicted criminal before you have even had your day in court are not going to try to uncover all the facts of your case: they will only focus on anything that makes you look guilty.
During an investigation, the police focus on finding evidence and witnesses to support your guilt. If they find something that proves otherwise, they may bury it in a report, or not do a proper follow up. As a result, many times, so-called evidence is incomplete or circumstantial, or witnesses who are unreliable have offered tainted information.
We aggressively seek to discredit witnesses who may have some personal or other interest in seeing you convicted, or whose testimony is not relevant, is conflicting, or is unreliable.
If your rights were violated during any part of an investigation, arrest, interrogation or any step in the legal process, we identify those issues and assertively bring them to light.
Most important, we will work with an open-minded approach carefully examining any evidence that could make you appear guilty in order to refute it, while preparing a defense based on facts that show you are innocent.
For a free initial consultation contact our law offices immediately. Your future is at stake. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you are innocent the legal system will work for you.