Image being labeled as the blame for a brutal death, rape, arson, and the like that has affected a victim’s loved ones which you have never even committed. How does that imagery set within your mind?
Thinking about being falsely accused can be a difficult concept to fathom given the majority of the human populace has not experienced such a false accusation, but many unfortunate individuals have which may affect them mentally and physically.
Wrongful accusations have arisen throughout the world, but what constitutes as a wrongful accusation? According to the National Institute of Justice, these occur when “the person convicted is factually innocent of the charges…and…there were procedural errors that violated the convicted person’s rights.” These typically surface through several ways albeit false confessions being spoken, faulty forensics, or eyewitnesses being identified incorrectly as seen by the Innocence Project. Furthermore, factors such as racial prejudices and hate may spur it as well.
In looking at the U.S by itself, many cases of wrongful accusations and hence imprisonment has been documented. In looking at the People’s Law Office, several examples of those who have fallen victim to this and their sentencing is as follows: 14 year old Johnathan Barr accused of rape and murder and served 18 years before being found innocent, Nicole Harris charged for the murder of her son because a the Chicago police confessed incorrectly, Darrell Cannon tortured into a confession through medias like electric shock, bagging, and suffocation only to end up serving 19 years before found innocent, Ronald Kitchen forced to confess through torture in committing 5 murders and hence placed on death row before found innocent, Randy Steidl sentenced to death because evidence of his innocence were hidden by the police, and so much more.
Wrongful accusations and imprisonment deeply affects those who were falsely labeled as being the reasoning for harsh crimes they did not do. “These individuals are victims of miscarriages of justice, and the harmful effects of confinement are further exacerbated by the unjust nature of their incarceration,” the Canada Department of Justice says. One example outside of the U.S recently occurred in South Korea in which Man He Lee, a man over 90 years old, has been imprisoned for supposed accusations of embezzlement and being responsible for New Heaven New Earth, a religious group he leads, for starting the coronavirus there despite the lack of proof.
Examples of different types of thoughts individuals can have in being given false accusations are how to cope with prison life given the violence contained within, dealing with the guilt that can envelop in being accused and why they are now in prison, to even dealing with losing relationships. According to the National Institute of Justice, being wrongfully accused was worse than original victimization and many began to grow in stress, fear, and anger, in which “some experienced helplessness, devastation and depression; at least one felt suicidal.”
Although we as a human species are imperfect and faulty in our logic and reasoning at times, we must understand the consequences of our actions. This is no excuse for ruining someone’s life and their potential in doing good for our society. Justice must be served and truth is something we must achieve in seeking because in the end, that is what will ultimately prevail.