It is a tragedy that happens daily in courtrooms across America. Far too many innocent people are going to jail for crimes they did not commit. In many cases, it is the result of bad advice from their criminal defense attorney. It happened to Rodney Roberts of Newark, NJ, who spent 7 years in prison for a kidnapping charge.
Back in 1996, Roberts was arrested on assault charges. After spending 4 days in jail, he was transferred to another correctional facility and was later charged with kidnapping and sexual assault after a 17-year-old girl pick him out of an array of photos. Despite not being anywhere near the crime, Roberts was pressured by his attorney into a plea deal. Roberts was told by his attorney that he would serve no more than 2 years in jail. His attorney believe Roberts would be found guilty and could have been sentenced to life in prison. Roberts followed his attorney’s advice and plead guilty. He ended up getting sentenced to 7 years. The prosecution ended up dismissing the sexual assault charge after a guilty plea to an unrelated robbery charge. On June 1, 2004, Roberts was scheduled for release. But instead of being sent to a treatment facility, he was reclassified as a “violent sexual predator”. For the next ten years, Roberts appealed to have his DNA tested. Unfortunately, the rape kit test was nowhere to be found. When it was located, it revealed Roberts was cleared of any wrongdoing. He was finally released on in 2014.
Rodney Roberts lost 18 years of his life for a crime he did not commit. He has since filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Newark Police Department and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. The Roberts case further illustrates the importance of having a good criminal defense attorney. Although the attorney isn’t the only person to blame, there are too many people currently sitting in Utah prisons who should be free. The overcrowding of the prison system is not only costing taxpayers to keep more people incarcerated, it is also destroying the lives of countless innocent people.
The Consequences of Poor Legal Representation
The statistics are shocking. At least a quarter of inmates in America’s prison system are completely innocent of their charges. The Sixth Amendment provides the right of each criminal defendant to have “Assistance of Counsel for his defense”. However, it does not guarantee the quality of a person’s legal counsel. Poor criminal defense is often the result of the following.
- Poor communication with the client.
- Little or no attempt at discovery
- Insufficient investigation
- Poor preparation
A Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
The selection of a criminal defense attorney can often make the difference between losing or regaining your freedom. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is important to seek legal representation from an experienced legal professional a track record of protecting the rights of each client and looking out for their best interests. Attorney Daniel Matern has spent more than 25 years of providing legal counsel for men and women accused of various crimes. He utilizes an aggressive and comprehensive approach to ensure each client receives fair treatment to help resolve their legal matters. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of White & Matern, PLLC today.