Nathaniel E. Epps and Percell F. Warren loudly protested their innocence when they were convicted of raping and beating a woman in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1996. Two decades later, DNA testing has just proven conclusively that they could not have been the perpetrators, but the truth is confirmed too late for Warren who died of cancer in 2012 – while still incarcerated for crimes he did not commit.
If ever there was a textbook case to demonstrate the dazzling array of unacceptable problems with our criminal justice system, it is the case of Sandeep “Sonny” Bharadia. Eyewitness misidentification, law enforcement incompetence, perjured testimony and bad lawyering all played a part in sending this obviously innocent man to prison for life without the possibility of parole. And in spite of recent DNA evidence that would surely exonerate him, he has been denied a new trial on the basis of a loophole in Georgia state law.
Eyewitness misidentification has been a contributing factor in over 75% of wrongful convictions in recent years. In this article we take a look at what is a widespread problem – Part 1 of a series on The Common Causes of Wrongful Convictions.