Although the goal of every justice system is to provide fair and impartial judgements (ok, almost every justice system), more often than one would like to admit human nature runs its course. Either because of concealed evidence, people being framed, or corrupt law enforcement these 25 worst cases of people being wrongly accused should serve as a lesson to all of us.
In 2007 Sally Clark died of alcohol poisoning after not being able to recover from the horrors and false accusations of her conviction and imprisonment. Psychiatric issues like alcohol dependency syndrome stemmed from the alleged murders of her 2 sons, one in 1996 and the other in 1998. In January 2003 her convictions were all overturned stating the deaths were of natural causes and that evidence had been tampered with.
The case of Sally Clark was not the only one of its kind. There were several and one of the worse is Angela Cannings’ ordeal. After her sons’ deaths in 1991 and 1999 and serving her sentence for a year, the results of further investigation revealed that her family had a significant history of sudden death syndrome. In 2003 her conviction was overturned but her family was already split apart and a prison inmate continued harassing her.
Being falsely accused by your own daughter of raping her several times is probably a father’s worst nightmare. Because some of the evidence seemed so authentic, Thomas Kennedy was sentenced to 15 years in prison. After 9 years, Cassandra, his daughter owned up to falsely accusing her father and confessed that the physical evidences of rape were because she had sexual relations with a boy in second grade. The boy, already an adult by the time she revealed the truth, released a statement saying that what she said was indeed true.
Nora Wall is a former Irish nun of the Sisters of Mercy who was wrongfully convicted of rape in June 1999, and served four days of a life sentence in July 1999, before her conviction was quashed. Wall was the first woman in the history of the Irish State to be convicted of rape, the first person to receive a life sentence for rape and the only person in the history of the state to be convicted on repressed memory evidence.
Suspected as the main culprit in the bombing of the Olympic games in Atlanta, Richard Jewell was paid back for his vigilance in forwarding to the police a package which he thought was suspicious. A little while later, it blew up the venue and fingers pointed at him for killing one and injuring hundreds. Even though he wasn’t really convicted, the fact that his reputation was tarnished and he was “villainized” because of the whole ordeal was bad enough.
After the 2011 exoneration of her conviction of murdering her 2 year old son in 1993, Tammy Marquardt keeps her hopes up in finding her other 2 sons who were put up for adoption while she was imprisoned for 14 years. Her son was said to have died from an epileptic seizure rather than being murdered by her.
Yet another case of a DNA evidence swinging the proceedings in favor of the accused is the case of Lynn DeJac who was convicted of murdering her daughter. She was exonerated years later when the DNA analysis results pointed to her companion, Dennis Donohue who was before that also linked to a case separate from DeJac’s.
Although there was no evidence linking Darryl to the alleged rape he was being convicted of, a supposedly racist jury went ahead and convicted him anyway. He served 19 years starting in 1984 but thanks to DNA testing, he was cleared of the rape and is now fighting back by helping others in his postion.
The case that brothers, Ray, Peter and Brian Mickelberg were involved in was famously known as the Perth Mint swindle, a robbery of 49 gold bars weighing 68 kilograms that was valued at $2.02 million in 2011. And yes, like the others on the list, they didn’t do it. A movie and a book were produced and published to present the real story behind their infamous ordeal since the 2 surviving brothers are still fighting to win the case against the Western Australia Police for allegedly framing them.
Dewey is a former amateur boxer who is best known for being imprisoned for a conviction which was eventually overturned. Convicted in 1983 for the murder of an elderly woman, Bozella served 26 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2009. Lawyers discovered new evidence that had been suppressed by prosecutors showing Bozella was in fact innocent and had been framed.
Why would you admit a crime that you never committed? Gerry Conlon probably asked himself this question after the Irish Republican army bombing in 1974. Thankfully, he was exonerated when there was evidence which claimed that the police had tortured him to own up to a crime he never even knew anything about.
When law enforcement is corrupt…the people suffer. Arthur Allan Thomas learned this all too well when he was convicted of a double murder case in 1970 all because of a rifle cartridge case that was planted in the garden of the house where the murders took place. Although the police who planted the case are now dead, the authorities are still conducting a thorough review of the original investigation to get to the bottom of the incident.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter fought professionally as a middleweight boxer from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, he was arrested and wrongly convicted for a triple homicide in the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey. He and another man, John Artis, were tried and convicted twice for the murders, but after the second conviction was overturned in 1985, prosecutors chose not to try the case for a third time.
A 14 year old Canadian student was sentenced to death in 1959 for the murder of a classmate. He was supposed to be the youngest person ever placed on death row but a temporary reprieve was granted to postpone the execution and eventually was commuted to life imprisonment. Things turned around in his favor and almost 50 years later, Truscott was awarded $6.5 million in compensation after he was acquitted.
Being accused of beating to death his pregnant wife Marilyn Reese Sheppard landed him 10 years in the state penitentiary. He was then convicted of murder and earned a sentence of life imprisonment. Although he insisted that his wife was killed by a man with thick dark hair in a white shirt who attacked him as well, no one believed his story until in 1966 when his conviction was overturned in light of new evidence.