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Four decades until freedom

Can you imagine spending a lifetime behind bars for a crime that you did not commit? One man did exactly that. He spent almost four decades in prison; however, now, a judge has vacated the murder conviction.

A court set the man free after many years in prison for the rape and murder of a little 8-year-old child, which dates back to 1975.

Nevertheless, this year, the man was in tears as the judge ordered that he be released after an investigative agency filed a motion to set him free. What was the reason for acquittal? His trial attorney had provided a poor defense.

According to reports, the man received ineffective counsel when his defense lawyer did not challenge the blood and semen evidence from the crime scene at his trial. Eventually, a court-ordered DNA test found that the man's blood type did not match the semen found on the staircase where the victim was killed.

This is incredible news for the former suspect. However, it is so sad to see that it took this long before his innocence could be properly asserted. Unfortunately, his parents, now deceased, will never be able to witness the affirmation of their son's innocence. Also, after years behind bars, it will take time before he can properly assimilate into the community.

Do not let your case be compromised by poor legal representation, as in the aforementioned case. Every criminal defendant deserves effective representation at all critical stages of a case. After all, this is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. To learn more about your constitutional protections, you can speak with a qualified criminal law attorney in your area.

Source: New York Post, "Bronx man freed after 38 years in prison as judge tosses child-murder conviction," Douglas Montero, April 12, 2013