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Wrongful Prosecution in Michigan


Wrongful prosecution occurs when someone is accused and charged with a crime they did not commit, resulting in an unjust and unfair trial process. This can happen for various reasons, including mistaken identity, false accusations, and corrupt law enforcement practices.

Wrongful prosecution is a severe problem in Michigan, where innocent people have been convicted of crimes they did not commit, often due to flawed evidence, unreliable witnesses, or biased juries.

Cases of Wrongful Prosecution

One of the most high-profile cases of wrongful prosecution in Michigan is the case of Davontae Sanford. In 2007, at 14, Sanford was accused of shooting and killing four people in a drug house in Detroit. Despite having an alibi and no physical evidence linking him to the crime, Sanford was arrested and charged with the murders. He was coerced into giving a false confession after being interrogated by police for hours without a lawyer.

Sanford was convicted and sentenced to 37-90 years in prison. However, in 2015, after new evidence came to light, a judge vacated Sanford’s conviction and ordered a new trial. The latest evidence showed that another man, Vincent Smothers, had confessed to the murders and provided details that only the killer would know. Smothers was a hitman hired to carry out the killings, and Sanford was not involved.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of Sanford’s innocence, the prosecution fought to imprison him. They claimed that Smothers’ confession was unreliable and that Sanford had been involved in the murders. However, in 2016, after a lengthy legal battle, the charges against Sanford were finally dismissed, and he was released from prison after spending nearly nine years behind bars.

Another case of wrongful prosecution in Michigan is the case of Marwin McHenry. McHenry was convicted of the murder of a Detroit cab driver in 2009 and sentenced to life in prison. However, it was later discovered that the police had coerced witnesses into testifying against McHenry and that the prosecution had withheld evidence that could have exonerated him.

In 2018, McHenry was released from prison after a judge overturned his conviction. The judge found that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence that would have impeached the credibility of the witnesses against McHenry. The case highlights the importance of prosecutors fulfilling their duty to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense and the dangers of relying on witness testimony that has been coerced or otherwise compromised.

The case of Ledura Watkins is yet another example of wrongful prosecution in Michigan. Watkins was convicted of the murder of a Detroit woman in 1976 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. However, it was later discovered that the police had coerced a witness into identifying Watkins as the killer and that the prosecution had withheld evidence that could have exonerated him.

In 2017, Watkins was released from prison after serving over 40 years behind bars. The Michigan Innocence Clinic, which worked on Watkins’ case, argued that he had been wrongfully convicted based on false witness testimony and withheld evidence. Watkins’ case highlights the need for reform in the criminal justice system, particularly in the area of eyewitness identification.

These cases are just a few examples of the numerous instances of wrongful prosecution in Michigan.

Factors That Lead To Wrongful Convictions

Other factors that can lead to wrongful convictions include:

False confessions

In some cases, police may use coercive tactics to extract false confessions from suspects who are vulnerable or easily intimidated. This can lead to innocent people being charged with crimes they did not commit.


Eyewitness testimony is often unreliable, and witnesses may mistakenly identify someone as the perpetrator of a crime. This can be due to factors such as poor lighting, stress, or the passage of time.

Flawed forensic evidence

Forensic evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, and ballistics can be powerful tools for solving crimes, but they are accurate. Mistakes can be made during the collecting, analyzing, or interpreting of this evidence, leading to wrongful convictions.

Prosecutorial misconduct

Prosecutors must uphold the law and ensure justice is served, but they are not infallible. In some cases, prosecutors may engage in mischief, such as hiding exculpatory evidence, making improper arguments to the jury, or using unreliable witnesses.

The consequences of wrongful prosecution are severe and long-lasting. Innocent people can lose their freedom, livelihoods, and reputations due to being wrongly convicted. They may also suffer emotional trauma and damage to their relationships with family and friends. Moreover, the real perpetrators of the crimes may remain free and continue to commit additional crimes, putting others at risk.

Get Yourself a Good Lawyer

Here at Haque Legal, we always tell potential clients that the best thing they can do in case of a case filed against them is to get themselves a good lawyer at the beginning of the proceedings. Even when you are filling up forms or think you already have a dispute, you can always get a good lawyer to start the process.

The first great thing that you can do is to make sure that you have a good guide when it comes to dealing with legalities. After all, you are fighting for your freedom and your life.

Contact Your Lawyer

You must contact your law firm if you have been involved in a criminal complaint in Michigan. A lawyer can help you get started with adequately protecting your rights. A lawyer at Haque Legal will ensure that your needs are met from the beginning to the end of the proceedings. You are always in good hands with Haque Legal and what it offers.


The article you read is based on general applications of the law, and it is not legal advice and should not be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

Let us help you out.

If you are having trouble with the law about a possible charge of a sex crime or you want a lawyer to help you with the representation, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or seek justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call.

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