In order to prevent wrongful convictions, the United States legal system is designed to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused in a criminal case. Put another way, the system is sometimes said to be designed with the thought that it’s better to have a guilty person be acquitted than have an innocent person found guilty. Unfortunately, innocent people are sometimes found guilty, due to any number of reasons, such as the use of unreliable scientific testing, the use of less than truthful witnesses, and attorney error. When all three deficiencies are found in one trial, a person can find themselves incarcerated for a crime they did not commit.
An Alexandria, Minnesota man now finds himself in this situation. In 2006, Michael Hansen was convicted by a jury of second degree murder in the death of his infant daughter. Hansen has been incarcerated for the past five years. At trial, the State presented medical evidence that was said to show Hansen was responsible for the death of his daughter. The State also presented the testimony of his cellmate, who testified that Hansen confessed to the cellmate that Hansen murdered his daughter. In exchange for his testimony, the cellmate was given a plea agreement that led to the cellmate not serving any prison time for the charges he was facing.
Thanks to the diligent, hard-working attorneys at the Innocence Project, Hansen has now been granted a new trial. The attorneys at the Innocence Project had an independent review conducted on the cause of death of Hansen’s daughter. The independent review found that the supposed cause of death the State’s medical experts testified about at trial could not have actually caused the infant’s death. Tragically, it appears that Hansen has spent the past five years of his life behind bars for a crime he did not commit. While it’s commendable that Hansen will now be given a new trial in the matter, why this evidence was not brought to light at his earlier trial is a question that will need to be answered.
Even if Hansen is exonerated at his new trial, he still will not be able to get back the past five years of his life. If you are facing serious felony criminal charges, you need a criminal defense attorney who will not only fight for you at the day of trial, but diligently investigate your case prior to trial and contest any scientific evidence presented by the State. Max. A. Keller is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will leave no stone unturned in the investigation of your case. If you have an issue, he will work to find it. If the State presents scientific evidence, he will examine it. Max. A. Keller will fight for your rights so you are not one of the many individuals who ends up wrongfully incarcerated.