A recent news article shared with the world the story of John Bunn, who was convicted as a 14-year-old for a robbery and murder he didn’t commit. For 27 years he carried that wrongful conviction before being exonerated in May 2018. According to the article, Bunn has now found success as an entrepreneur. He started a business that provides books and promotes literacy at Rikers Island Prison and in under-resourced communities.
African Americans, like Bunn, make up a disproportionate percentage of those who have been wrongfully convicted. While African Americans represent 13 percent of the United States population, they also represent 47 percent of known exonerations, according to The National Registry of Exonerations.
The National Registry of Exonerations attributes the high rate of wrongful convictions to a variety of forms of bias and discrimination including:
- Misconduct by police officers
- Eyewitness misidentifications
- Racial profiling
Despite these harrowing statistics, there are still options after a loved one receives a wrongful conviction. A criminal appeal can be filed within 30 days of your loved one’s conviction. If the conviction remains the same after the criminal appeal, your loved one may consider seeking post-conviction relief.
When a loved one is wrongfully convicted, it can be devastating. However, it is important you and your loved one do not lose hope and continue to challenge the wrongful conviction.