Before DNA testing was widely available, establishing guilt in a sex offense wasn’t just a matter of testing bodily fluids. Instead, much of the evidence used to convict suspects included things like eyewitness testimony and identification—things that aren’t error proof. According to a new study from the Urban Institute, numerous convictions during this time may have been in error.
The Urban Institute looked at sex assault cases between 1973 and 1987. They found as many as 33 people convicted of such assaults during that time are likely innocent. This is a wrongful conviction rate of 8 to 15%, an astronomical figure when you are talking about the damage done to these people’s lives. [Read more…]