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This could hapen to someone dear to you and is likely to happen to someone young. Proof is news stories from every state--many people exonerated, after serving years in prison, usually starting when they were teens or in their twenties.
I am competent to do legal research and I am an author. I offered these services to several innocence groups who may have requests from young people who do not fit their parameters. Most innocence groups are limited to people within their own state; most are limited to people in prison or on death row.
Michael was referred to me. He was on probation. He had the entire file from the public defender's office but did not know how to use it. He was twenty when he was wrongly accused and illegally transported across state lines by a rogue police officer from South Carolina.
I found all the evidence that should have freed him early on. It was in the file--but no one bothered to look at it. I linked the facts with law and prepared the documents for Michael to file pro se. (I am not a lawyer, therefore cannot represent him in court. And neither of us could get any lawyer licensed in South Carolina to take this case without a sizable up-front fee.)
You can read the story and the pleadings filed in state court at www.AccidentalFelon.net/Michaels-Story/
Use this to warn children and granchildren and neighbors: Never speak to a police officer unless accompanied by someone who knows the law, who can protect your rights, who is assertive. If you do not know the law, read, learn. Michael's grandparents, who raised him, did not know. They could not advise him to request a preliminary hearing.
Those who are most often victims of injustice are innocent, naive, and trusting of police and courts. Misplaced trust harms you.
Read on the 'net about the young sailors who were wrongly convicted of rape and murder because they trusted (and had rotten lawyers initially)--the story of The Norfolk Four (or the book, "The Wrong Guys."
I had to learn criminal law and the laws of South Carolina to help Michael. I hope to recruit others who are competent to do legal research and to draft court documents, so that together we can assist other young people. I am willing to teach anyone who is willing to become obsessed about fighting for justice.