An Atlanta woman recently spent 53 days in jail. The problem? She was innocent and should never have been there in the first place, let alone for nearly two months.
This story is dramatic and, in some ways, frightening. But it is also a good way to start this blog, which will focus on criminal defense and criminal law issues and news that are relevant to us here in Atlanta.
First, we want to say that it is important that we all have respect for the criminal justice system and for the men and women who make it work. But pointing out and seeking correction for a flaw is not disrespectful.
In this case, the woman was jailed for 53 days after she was arrested for assaulting a man by throwing hot water on him. The problem is, police got the wrong person and even though she told them time and time again that she was not who they were looking for, prosecutors continued with her case. All the while, she sat in the Fulton County Jail, feeling powerless and watching life pass her by.
It is not all that uncommon for police to arrest someone mistakenly, perhaps because the person looked similar to someone for whom they were looking or because of a confusion over names. But criminal law experts familiar with this case say it’s concerning because the woman was in jail for so long, the mistake should have been apparent after a few days and there were multiple agencies involved and yet none of them put a stop to what was happening.
This case is a good illustration of why it can be helpful to have a criminal defense attorney working to protect your interests. The criminal justice system is not perfect and everyday people can be confused by its machinations, so having an experienced advocate can sometimes really make a difference.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Innocent woman spends 53 days in jail,” Rhonda Cook, July 5, 2012