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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > How are Innocent People Sent to Prison?

How are Innocent People Sent to Prison?


Recently, a Virginia man named Gary Bush was proven innocent after 10 years in prison, according to WTVR News. Bush was charged with two counts of armed bank robbery back in 2006. “It was unbelievable… out of nowhere,” he said, in regards to his sudden and completely unexpected arrest. Afterwards, when his picture had already appeared in the local newspaper, he was picked out of the police photo lineup by two witnesses. He was also identified by another employee of one of the banks with which he had recently done business. None of his fingerprints were found on either crime scene, however. “I didn’t sleep for about nine-and-a-half years but fitful sleeps trying to figure out how in the world I got there,” he said. The man who just recently came to police and confessed his guilt in the robberies, Christian Amos, said that after he gave a lecture to his grandson about telling the truth, his conscience finally came forward. Bush, when asked whether he believed in the criminal justice system, said “No… definitely not. The innocent until proven guilty? You’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent.” Attorneys with the Innocence Project and local counsel are pursuing exoneration via a Petition for Writ of Actual Innocence.

2.3 to Five Percent of Prisoners May be Innocent

Innocent people get sent to jail and prison every day. There is no way to know the percentage for sure, but some estimate that it may be as high as between 2.3 and five percent, according to the Innocence Project and as reported by Vice News. That percentage equates to 120,000 individuals. So how are so many innocent people sent to prison and jail? Is the criminal justice system rigged against us?

The Courts are Overworked and Prison Sentences are Exceedingly Harsh

Because so many acts have been criminalized in the past few decades, particularly drug possession, there are simply too many cases to bring to trial without the justice department falling apart. The courts cannot handle the huge load that would place upon them. It is much easier, cheaper, and more time effective to offer a plea bargain, which many defendants take when faced with decades behind bars. Ninety-six percent of cases go to plea bargain, as opposed to trial. Because of this overcrowding of the courts, over punishment of crimes, and criminalization of drug possession and other non-violent offenses, many innocent people plead guilty and take a decreased prison sentence over going to court and risking a 20 year sentence.

Call an Experienced Trial Lawyer at Once

If you have been charged with any type of crime, you deserve a lawyer who will fight for your innocence and keep you out of jail or prison. Our attorneys are adept in court and are ready to take your case to trial, and we are experienced negotiators as well. For assistance, call Simms Showers, LLP at 703-997-782 today.




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