Wrongful Incarceration Attorney in North Carolina
Civil Trial Lawyers Serving the Wrongfully Convicted Across Raleigh & Beyond
America’s criminal justice system employs the highest burden of proof, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” because our society has agreed it is better to let a guilty person go free, than to imprison someone who is innocent. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen from the increasing use of DNA exonerations, there exist deeply disturbing and systemic problems within the criminal justice system – problems which ensnare the innocent and wrongfully put them behind bars.
As a firm led by two of the nation’s most respected trial attorneys, former U.S. Senator John Edwards and David Kirby, Edwards Kirby has become known for our unwavering support of civil justice and civil rights, and for our ability to help clients prevail in complex cases. For these reasons, we’ve been entrusted by clients throughout North Carolina after they suffered harms and injustices – from preventable injuries to prison and police abuses, and by attorneys nationwide who turn to our team with high stakes issues.
If you or someone you love are seeking skilled, experienced, and highly passionate legal representation regarding wrongful incarceration in Raleigh, the state of North Carolina, or anywhere in the U.S., Edwards Kirby is here to help. Call (919) 335-7005 to speak with a lawyer.
Why Wrongful Convictions / Incarceration Happen
Wrongful convictions and incarceration happen throughout the country, and when ousted, they reveal concerning failures and disturbing trends within our criminal justice system. These include:
- Mistaken identity – Misidentification of suspects, often by eyewitnesses, is the single most common contributing factor behind convictions proven to have been made in error. As the Innocence Project notes, mistaken eyewitness accounts were involved in an overwhelming 70% of wrongful convictions overturned using post-conviction DNA testing.
- Misapplication of forensics – Problems involving the use of forensic science in criminal cases are the second most common factor behind wrongful convictions. According to the Innocence Project, problems involving unreliable forensics, insufficient methods of validation, misleading testimony, mistakes, and sheer misconduct were found for roughly 45% of DNA exoneration cases.
- False or coerced confessions – Though it may be difficult for some to believe that anyone would confess or admit to crimes and conduct they did not commit, statistics show over 1 in every 4 wrongfully convicted individuals in the U.S. made false confessions, admissions, or incriminating statements. Researchers have identified coercion and intimidation by law enforcement, used of force during interrogations, compromised / vulnerable suspects (i.e. suspects exhausted by interrogations, or limited education and understanding of rights), devious questioning tactics, and fear as some of the most concerning issues behind false confessions.
- Inadequate defense – Proving inadequacy of defense provided to wrongfully convicted defendant at trial or on appeal may be exceedingly difficult, but statistics show failures made by attorneys are not uncommon. From incompetent, unethical, and unskilled defense to overburdened public and private defenders, inadequate defense can take many forms.
- Informants with incentives – Incentivizing informants to testify against defendants in criminal trials allows prosecutors to gain convictions, but doing so can come at tremendous costs. The Innocence Project has found that 15% of overturned wrongful convictions involved testimony and statements from incentivized individuals (including incentives about which juries are not made aware) were critical pieces of evidence used to convict innocent people. Such testimony is commonly provided by jailhouse informants, co-conspirators, and other unreliable witnesses or informants.
- Government Misconduct – Many law enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges, and others involved in criminal cases are trustworthy individuals who uphold high standards and comply with the special rules and procedures by which they are bound. Unfortunately, police and prosecutor misconduct, negligence, and even downright fraud are common and crippling to our faith in the system. From coercion, false statements, and evidentiary misconduct to withholding or destroying evidence, making misleading arguments, and pressuring witnesses out of testifying for the defense, there are many forms of misconduct committed by government actors which can lead to wrongful incarceration.
Ultimately, why any wrongful incarceration occurred is a matter that always depends on the unique and individual aspects of a case. Why your case, or the case of your loved one, devolved into devastating consequences is a question that requires meticulous investigation, collaboration with experts, and experienced guidance through a highly challenging procedural journey.
Support for Wrongfully Incarcerated State & Federal Prisoners
Edwards Kirby is available to review potential wrongful incarceration cases involving formerly incarcerated individuals at jails and state prisons throughout North Carolina, as well individuals convicted of crimes in federal courts nationwide. Our firm focuses our wrongful incarceration practice on civil claims that seek accountability on the parts of government entities and agencies, as well as justice and compensation for our clients.
Per North Carolina Gen. Stat. Section 148-82, individuals wrongfully incarcerated for a felony offense in a jail or state prison who have either received a pardon or who have been determined innocent post-conviction may be eligible to file claims within 5 years of that pardon or dismissal. These claims offer the opportunity to obtain:
- Up to $50,000 per year of wrongful imprisonment, with a total maximum of $750,000;
- A year of job skills training; and / or
- Tuition and fees for any NC community college or institution within the University of North Carolina.
Additionally, we help clients explore their options for pursuing other claims, including those involving police and prosecutorial misconduct, injuries suffered in prison, police brutality and shootings, and more. Our objective is to make our clients voices heard, send a message that failures which led to their wrongful conviction not be tolerated, and obtain the justice they rightfully deserve.
Have Questions? Call (919) 335-7005 For a Free Consultation
Edwards Kirby has recovered record-setting verdicts and settlements for clients and hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from challenging opponents, including massive corporations and the government. Learn how our award-winning, caring, and compassionate legal team can help you move forward with your life, and pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.
Call (919) 335-7005 or contact us online to speak with a North Carolina wrongful incarceration lawyer. Consultations are free and confidential.