it happens. I see it particularly where defendants are offered time served if they plead guilty or, in the alternative, they will be held on bail if they want to wait for a trial. And that can takes months or longer.Her estimate came in on the high side of what I might have guessed: "I would say somewhere around 10-15% of the people who are pleading guilty are not, in fact guilty," she opined. A couple of other lawyer commenters put the number for their clients at about 10%
Two more attorneys said 95-98% of their clients were guilty of the offenses to which they pled, which still implies that 2-5% are innocent. That's a lot.
Another BJ commenter had actual data on the subject:
an awesome book on wrongful convictions put out by the UCBerkeley grad program in journalism and edited by Dave Eggers, "Surviving Justice," they write about a poll conducted among prosecutors all across the country. By their own very conservative estimates, they figured that something like 1% of all convicted people were literally, actually, factually innocent (like mistaken-identity, not even there, didn't know that person type innocent).So the range of estimates among Blonde Justice commenters of the number of innocent defendants who confess or plea to crimes they don't commit ranged from 1-15%. (I'd be curious to hear the opinion of Alan Hirsch, who blogs at The Truth About False Confessions, on this subject.) Personally I might have guessed 1-2%, overall, and was surprised by the higher estimates. What do you think is the right number?
Statewide, roughly 3/4 of a million Texans - about one out of 20 adults - are in prison, on probation or on parole. So taking the low range of the estimates on Blonde Justice, if 1% of those folks didn't commit the crime, that would mean Texas currently has around 7,500 innocent people under control of the criminal justice system. If the figure really were as high as 10%, that would mean Texas had convicted 75,000 innocent people who are currently under state supervision! I hope that's a dramatic overestimate, but there's really no way to know.