Wrongful Conviction

The Role of Wrongful Conviction Lawyers in the Criminal Justice System

In order for the criminal justice system to be effective, it must administer justice in a swift and fair manner. There is often tension between these two goals. On the one hand, the government must be able to detain and incarcerate dangerous criminals to protect the public. On the other hand, the system must respect the Constitutional rights of criminal defendants and ensure that only those guilty of committing crimes are actually punished. Chicago civil rights lawyers work to ensure that the Justice System accomplishes both of these goals.

Overturning a Wrongful Conviction

Challenging a conviction can involve a number of complex procedures and may require criminal, civil, and/or administrative proceedings in state and federal courts. Any experienced Illinois wrongful conviction attorney knows that seemingly minor procedural decisions can play a significant role in any challenge to a conviction. Because most criminal convictions are entered in state courts, the first step to challenging a conviction generally consists of petitioning the appropriate state appellate court. If state appellate procedures if been exhausted and the conviction still stands, a defendant, with the help of a Chicago wrongful conviction attorney, may petition for a writ of habeas corpus. This process allows a defendant to challenge a conviction on Constitutional grounds in federal court.

Receiving Compensation for a Wrongful Conviction

The battle does not end once a conviction has been overturned. In many wrongful conviction cases, the defendant may be entitled to compensation. In order to receive compensation, an individual must file a separate civil action, generally a § 1983 action. This action is a civil action that alleges wrongful conduct on the part of some state actor violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiff. These cases involve complex issues of state and federal law. The plaintiff, with the help of an Illinois wrongful conviction lawyer, generally must show that a reasonable person would understand the state actor’s misconduct violated clearly established law. This misconduct may include suppression of exculpatory evidence, fabrication of evidence, reliance on erroneous testimony, employing suggestive line-up procedures, obtaining confessions through torture or inappropriate manipulation, and other acts. A successful Plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. A Plaintiff may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are additional damages intended to punish those responsible and prevent them from harming others.

Learn about your options from our experienced Chicago lawyer

When you deal with a legal matter on your own, you might not be aware of all the options available. At Dolan Law, PC, we know how to find effective solutions to your wrongful conviction that you may not consider without our help. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today, call our firm at [ln::phone] or contact us online. We represent clients in Chicago, throughout Illinois and nationwide.