Wrongful Convictions Lawyers in Tacoma Helping the Wrongly Convicted Get the Justice They Deserve
You know it. We know it. And the justice system may not want to admit it, but they know it, too. Sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes they put a person on trial for crimes they did not commit and, in a series of unfortunate events in the courtroom, that person finds themselves wrongly convicted and put behind bars. It is one of the foulest injustices that one could imagine.
Statistically, somewhere between 2% and 10% of those convicted for crimes in the US justice system are believed to be innocent. Of those sentenced to death, statistics show that four out of every hundred are probably innocent of the crime they’ve been sentenced to committing, and only two of those four are likely to be exonerated before death takes them.
Those who have been wrongly convicted of a crime may feel that the world has abandoned them and that truth does not matter. And no free man, woman, or child can fault them for feeling so. But even when the justice system has let them down, the wrongly convicted still have legal rights and ways by which they can be exonerated, released, and, potentially, pursue compensation from the state for the damage and disruption that have been inflicted upon their lives.
In 2013, Washington State passed a new law that streamlined legal matters for those who have been wrongfully convicted so that they can attempt to obtain compensation. However, this is no simple legal issue, and it may require an experienced attorney to help get the justice that is owed.
At South Sound Legal Group, our attorneys have successfully presented cases that rewarded settlements to clients who suffered wrongful convictions, whereas other law firms have struggled to find the same success for their clients. Contact our lawyers to schedule a free consultation for help determining eligibility and for legal advice on how to begin the process of righting the wrongs that have been done to you.
Is it Worth it to Challenge a Wrongful Conviction?
Yes. Those who have been convicted for crimes they did commit will appeal and try to get reduced sentencing or later have their criminal record sealed. So, those who were wrongly put behind bars, who lost months or years of their life that they’ll never get back, all for a criminal act they actually were not to blame for? Yes. Yes, those people should challenge the conviction and try to get any form of justice that could be provided to them.
Because the fact is, even if you have already been released from jail (or soon will be), you’re not getting those days back. Not ever. And that’s not right.
What’s more than that, though, is that even if you’re no longer serving time for the wrongful conviction, you may yet still be facing the consequences. A criminal conviction can make it harder for a person to obtain housing, get a loan, or find gainful employment, and it could cost them certain rights, such as the right to own a firearm or live in certain areas.
Even if no compensation comes of it, the chance to be exonerated is always a chance worth taking.
Is it Possible to File for Financial Compensation?
In 2013, Washington State passed a new law to provide financial compensation to those wrongfully convicted and exonerated for those crimes in the state. RCW 4.100 says that any person who was imprisoned for a crime which it can be proven they did not commit can file a claim in court.
There have been settlements with the state, which amounted to nearly $50,000 a year for each year the person was wrongfully imprisoned, and some rewards have amounted to nearly $500,000 in total.
However, these cases are not easily won. An exonerated individual must provide a compelling case to the courts showing how much this false conviction has negatively disrupted their lives in order for the judge to award them for damages done. The level of proof provided can also affect how much compensation is awarded.
Do You Qualify Under the New ‘Wrongly Convicted Persons’ Statute in Washington State?
There are a very specific set of requirements for eligibility under this new statute.
While it may be possible to begin building your case while still serving time, no claim for wrongful conviction compensation can be submitted while still incarcerated. The individual must have been exonerated and freed, with no new crimes committed since their release.
Even if the claimant was innocent of one charge, if they were in prison serving time for a concurrent sentence, the claim is likely to be denied. Similarly, the claim will likely be denied if the claimant was found to have committed perjury or false testimony in their original court case.
There also may be a ticking clock on how long you have between exoneration and when a claim for compensation can be filed, so please do not delay; talk to an attorney for legal guidance today.
Contact an Attorney at Our Law Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation
Not every lawyer in Washington State has experience handling cases related to the new statute of RCW 4.100. The attorneys of South Sound Law Group have experience and a history of results to get you the results you need. No one can guarantee anything, but our lawyers do feel confident in our ability to help eligible claimants seek compensation for wrongful convictions.
To discuss the particulars of your case, please contact our law offices to schedule a confidential free consultation today. 253-383-3328.