California courts may find that DNA evidence can provide clarity in cases with questions about those who may have been involved in various types of illegal activity. In some cases, DNA evidence may even serve to clear those who have been convicted in the past. This was the case for brothers in North Carolina as their criminal convictions were overturned. The state's governor also issued a pardon that has allowed for compensation to be given for the time that the men spent in prison.
The case involving these men dates to 1983, when they were accused of raping and killing a young girl. The men were 19 and 15 at the time of the killing. They reportedly signed confessions in spite of the fact that no physical evidence connected them to the scene of the crime. As DNA evidence on items found at the scene has since been tested, officials are now considering charging the person whose DNA was identified.
The compensation issued to the men has been invested to assure them of an ability to live without needing to work in the future. While the older of the two men has enjoyed his freedom, the younger brother is reportedly dealing with serious health and mental challenges because of his wrongful conviction. Many states provide compensation in cases of wrongful conviction, but North Carolina also has a commission that is dedicated to investigating cases that are disputed.
An individual who is wrongfully detained and charged might find that legal assistance is important for ensuring that their rights are upheld as officials interview them or continue to investigate. An individual who may have been tricked into confessing or who may have been denied access to a criminal defense attorney might face serious consequences without representation. The attorney might review documentation and video evidence of any interviews to identify inappropriate action by officials.