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Wrongful Convictions

Wrongful convictions are cases in which a defendant is legally and/or factually innocent, but due to one or more errors made by the legal system, the defendant is found guilty of the offense in question. When a defendant’s conviction is overturned because it is discovered that the state violated the individual’s constitutional rights (due to procedural error), this is referred to as legal innocence; however, the person may not be factually innocent. Factual innocence means that someone other than the defendant committed the crime (i.e., actual innocence). When a wrongful conviction is overturned or a pardon occurs, the innocent individual is said to have been exonerated. Most of the scholarly inquiry on wrongful convictions focuses on factual innocence. Thus, this entry discusses various aspects ...

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