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Study indicates racial bias in convictions

Illinois residents may be interested to learn about a study completed by the National Registry of Exonerations that indicates that African Americans are far more likely to be wrongfully convicted of crimes than whites. Researchers looked at cases from 1989 to 2016, and they discovered that 47 percent of individuals exonerated for crimes were African-American, which is three times their representation in the U.S. population.

It was found that African-Americans were more likely to be wrongfully convicted of charges involving murder, drug crimes and sexual assault. African-Americans were seven times as likely to be wrongly found guilty of murder and 12 times as likely to be wrongly convicted of drug crimes compared to whites. These findings are attributed to a combination of bias, racism and institutional discrimination.

A large number of convictions found to be incorrect came from Texas, and a number of convictions were reversed when, years after the fact, labs determined that items were found to not contain controlled substances. One reason for the increase in exonerations coming from the state is due to the fact that several counties have set up integrity units to look into prosecutions for potential issues.

If someone is facing drug charges, even if is for a first offense, they should take these charges very seriously. Even a misdemeanor conviction can make it difficult to obtain jobs later on, and a conviction may also carry penalties that include fines and time in jail. A lawyer could assist someone in understanding their charges and potential penalties if they are found guilty, and they may also be able to assist an individual in crafting a defense and ensuring their rights were not violated by law enforcement.

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