Convicted Criminals Who Were Later Proven Innocent Share What Life Is Like Now.
Unfortunately, sometimes the justice system wrongly convicts people who they think are criminals, and it can be overturned quickly or take a long time.
Below are stories of people who were wrongly convicted, and how life is after having been proved innocent. Check them out.
1. All over mistaken identity...
I was arrested for "stealing" from my engineering firm, got arrested and taken to jail. The whole experience was awful. I was arrested on a Friday, and ended up spending three days in jail. Got strip searched, put in an isolated cell completely naked because of my past use of anti-depresants, which deemed me worthy of "suicide watch", and then got marched into court in an orange jumpsuit and shackles.
Eventually it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, but the whole experience sucked.
2. All is forgiven.
I was convicted of stealing a crappy old Ford from an alleyway near a nightclub which had an old CCTV system on it. I had walked home from said nightclub the night the car was stolen, apparently very close to the time it went missing. Although I obviously didn't do it (I earn 45,000 a year, roughly) the police apparently thought I did. Spent three months in prison until the decision was overturned. Of course I was massively angry, but also glad that the case was overturned so quickly (I was due to be in there for 18 months after all). I've forgiven those who wrongly prosecuted me by now; they were just trying to do their job- although of course I don't hesitate to say that they messed up that bad!
3. How is that even possible...
I was arrested and charged (and convicted in one court) with drunk driving and causing an accident despite having a shattered right foot and an inability to even stand. I guess the officer thought my repeated falling down when he tried to force me to walk was evidence that I was drunk.
Long story short, after about eight months of the best people I've ever met being kind enough to waste hours of their day driving me back and forth to court (you know, because of my inability to drive with a broken foot) and a couple thousand dollars in lawyer fees, the arresting officer was forced to take the stand where he...(Continued)
Contradicted his report and perjured himself on three separate occasions. The prosecutors immediately offered a plea deal after this, which I turned down because it required me to admit guilt and required me to drive (again, can't do that) to another state to take alcohol education classes; then the prosecutor literally ripped up the agreement in front of my lawyer and quit the case. The next prosecutor was much more willing to listen to terms.
I never got anything out of it except for a few newspaper articles that called me a criminal and tried to turn public opinion against me that required me to threaten to sue the publications to get taken down. Some people, old friends, still believe that I did it and I'm not sure why, but 99% of the folks in my life believe I was innocent; at least, they do now. It's not easy meeting new people who read those newspaper articles though; I have to explain to them the whole court case to convince them that I didn't do the thing I was randomly accused of as well as how broken feet work (or don't work) and that gets really exhausting.
As far as what people don't understand about this if they haven't been through it...well, that's already been echoed here by others: the whole time being stolen from you that you never get back. Even if I was compensated, nothing can make up for that experience. Having practically the whole world turn against you because of a single false accusation and losing all hope of life getting back to normal is nothing shy of a living hell.
4. The world can be cruel.
My wife (now ex) were in the process of separation and we were fighting over my son. I was studying to become a police officer at the time. We got in an argument about my son, and I left for work. Next day she calls me and says "Haha ruined your life!"
So I contact my lawyer and they tell me there is a warrant for my arrest. My ex had told the police I had attacked her with a knife. I had a first degree, second degree assault, and dangerous weapon charge. No evidence. No witness. Just her story. They never even contacted me to ask my side of the story.
I try to get the warrant quashed and while I'm leaving for work I get stopped and arrested. $150,000 bond. Two days in jail before my brother bails me out.
We get to the court date and I provided the court with text messages where she said she wanted to ruin my life and career, and wanted $10,000 for plastic surgery for her not to testify.
I was found not guilty, and my ex got away with it with no consequences.
5. It's just not fair...
I spent 5+ years of my life fighting a very very sick alleged charge pressed on by the step mother of my ex girlfriend's children, regarding a small child, 3 years of age.
This was not the first person this woman had accused. The first actually blew his head off in fear of what was to come.
The second, my ex's father was working off shore and had no contact so then came me. Even though we were not still together, the mother still testified on my behalf because she knew the truth.
I beat the first charge only to have a lesser but still sickening charge pressed against me, due to double jeopardy and all which I also beat. Although never convicted, this charge still appears on my arrest recorded and follows me to this day when trying to get a apartment and somehow at various jobs then spreads like a wildfire through out the workplace all though this may be due to it being such a small town. I am a very poor person than can not afford any sort of decent lawyer to remove this from my record or sue for any sort of restitution. this has really messed with my mind and life in general in many ways to this day.
6. Bordering on bullying.
My husband's case was minor compared to some of the other stories here, but it still makes my blood boil some 21 years later.
My husband was driving, I was in the car with him, he turned right on a red light when there was no traffic. Cop pulls him over and tickets him, saying there's a "No Turn on Red" sign "right there" pointing to where apparently a sign used to be. They ran his license and then handcuffed him, saying he had a warrant. We were shocked, had no inkling. Hauled him off to the lockup at the police station and told me that I was "lucky" that they were letting me drive our car home rather than them towing and impounding it.
I went to the station, the warrant was from an unpaid ticket almost 2 years earlier for an expired license plate. Husband told me "I paid that ticket!", cops told me I needed $200 to bail him out. Went to ATM, got the cash, and we spent the rest of the night digging in the attic through old household records to find the bank statement and cancelled check for that ticket. Found it, went to appointed court date, and the old warrant was cleared up and the red light ticket was dismissed when we provided photographic evidence that there was no sign. But as we checked out, we were assessed $200 in court costs and when I asked how we got our bail money back, they pretty much laughed at me and said: (Continued)
"You don't". They also invited us to "sue them". We were already out $400 for two non-crimes and certainly couldn't afford the money and time involved to hire a lawyer to sue the city
7. Caged up like an animal.
My buddies got raided on really big drug charges (distributions, trafficking) and they threw my name out there when they were being interrogated. Cops came and kicked in my girlfriend's door at 5 AM. Took me to jail, put me on the news in a bracket with them for my whole family to see, interrogated me and tried to pull their funny tricks to get me to talk.
Ended up pulling 15 days in the slammer until I could leave. Jail was terrible I might add. Living like an animal locked in a cage. Not for me.
8. Not even her fault!
My wife was arrested for an outstanding warrant on something she had taken care of years before. She was charged with shoplifting for walking out of a store with sunglasses on her head that she had meant to pay for. She had paid for everything else, but spaced that she stuck the sunglasses on her head absently. Despite having $200 in cash on her and immediately offering to pay, the security at the grocery store called the police on her.
She did community service, paid fines, etc.
Apparently the county lost the paperwork. So when she got pulled over for a brakelight being out, she was arrested due to a bench warrant for not paying a fine/doing her community service.
She managed to dig up the paperwork and get it cleared, but the fact that she had a warrant out apparently invalidated her license and she never knew. I'm not sure how that happened, but it did, so in addition she got fined and ticketed for driving without a license and driving without valid insurance, because without a license you can't have valid insurance despite the fact that she paid it every month.
Another two years later, this happened again. She was pulled over for going 5 over in a school zone and arrested on a warrant for the same alleged unpaid fines and community service. Because this was her second time with the same situation--invalid license, invalid insurance as a result, all unbeknownst to her, she lost her license for a year and got slapped with $3,000 in fines. To boot, the judge told her she was being extremely lenient to my wife only because we had a newborn baby at the time, and would normally have put her in jail for 6 months.
Once again we've provided proof that she cleared up the fines and community service YEARS ago, but who the hell knows if it's taken care of. It's to the point where we're considering lawyering up and suing the county because if it happens again she'll wind up in jail on a third offence for no license/insurance. Meanwhile I've had to take a low paying job close to home so I can be on call to grab the kids at school or whatever if something happens, and she's been homebound for over a year now going out of her mind.
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9. Bitcoins are a trap!
Over a year ago I was arrested under suspicion of money laundering. I've never laundered any money whatsoever, but I had bitcoin miners which they were interested in. They took a hell of a lot of my stuff away (phones, laptops, tablets) when they raided my house, then took me away, put me in a holding cell (only for about 30 minutes though), interviewed me and released me on bail. Its been over a year and I'm still bailed. Just a waiting game now. I can't say much more as I guess the case is still ongoing.
10. Racism never wins.
Happened to my dad long before I was born. Somewhere between 1990's, my dad worked in a far away town, and that town had just about nothing of interest. My dad's coworkers were racist and didn't like a Hindu working around them so they got my dad responsibility of a new dairy nearby and there were some construction work going on and my dad was to inspect it.
Then his co workers accused my dad of stealing stuff of construction site into his personal use. My dad told them and tried to explain them that it won't end up the way they think it will if they keep this up.
My dad fought the case for months, he spent hours with lawyers learning and reading books studying the case. He won the case and all 15 of those co workers were fired and 3 of them spent jail for a short amount of time , my dad got his job back, but wasn't compensated
Later on, in 2013 he went back to court for compensation and he got it all about 61k. He's now building the old house the value of it is now about a million.
Also the guy who accused my dad met my dad again in 2010's he apologized for what he did to him and my dad promised to help him get his life up , he lost his job spent time in jail, he lost his only son later on and now he's one of those fortune tellers.
I asked my dad how he felt after he won the case and how people reacted to him. He said "I was happy that I got my job, but it was a needed moment for me, as I realized whom to trust and who not to."
When you're a kid most adults will tell you one thing or another is "cool" and "fun." Odds are you're too young to form any kind of opinion on the matter one way or another. You're a kid, right? You don't know what you're eating for breakfast. However, when you get older and form that larger worldview, you realize that yeah, maybe that one time when you were a kid actually wasn't fun.
These are those stories.