A Pennsylvania man has filed a civil lawsuit after being wrongfully convicted for rape and murder. Despite no evidence tying him to the crime, Lewis Fogle was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to life in prison. He spent 34 years behind bars before DNA evidence exonerated him. Now, he's suing 17 people associated with his case, alleging his civil rights were violated.
“They'll falsify evidence, witnesses, change the events of the crime, even pay witnesses to lie just to rest a conviction,” Fogle told reporters. “I think the criminal justice system is broken and it needs to be redone.”
It's not just Fogle who has borne the weight of the wrongful conviction. The person responsible for the rape and murder of the 15-year-old has never been found. Justice eludes the victim, her family, and the criminal responsible for this horrific case.
The Rights of the Wrongfully Convicted
Even when someone's innocence has been proven, reentering society after a lengthy prison stint can be challenging. With no money, housing, transportation, or support system, many wrongfully convicted people find that the punishment lingers even after their name has been cleared. States have a responsibility to restore the lives of the wrongfully convicted to the best of their abilities.
Some states have compensation statutes to help the wrongfully convicted expunge their criminal records, secure affordable housing, and gain new workforce skills. Unfortunately, no such statute exists in Pennsylvania. A civil lawsuit is one of the few ways wrongfully convicted individuals can hold stakeholders accountable for the injustice they experienced.
Wrongful Convictions: More Common Than You'd Expect
Fogle's name was cleared when the Innocence Project found DNA evidence that he had no idea existed. Had the organization not worked so tirelessly to bring this evidence to light, Fogle might still be behind bars today. This is a frightening prospect for all Pennsylvanians – the idea that we're all just one accusation away from a lifetime in prison is indeed the stuff of nightmares.
Unfortunately, wrongful convictions are more common than you might expect. From 1989-2012, the National Registry of Exonerations found more than 2000 instances in which a person was convicted of a crime but later relieved of all legal consequences. That figure is a mere fraction of total wrongful convictions.
Get the Justice You Deserve
Those who have been wrongfully accused have lived a nightmare. They've been victimized and deserve assistance as they return to their communities. With the cards stacked against them, though, many wrongfully convicted individuals face an uphill battle. Compensation can help create the life they should have had. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help exonerate you and hold responsible parties liable for the harm they have caused.
If you've been wrongfully accused and need help, reach out to the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686 or clicking here.