But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, 'whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,' and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever."
This trope covers when an innocent person goes through the justice system, but for whatever reason is found guilty. The reasons can often include corruption in the system, a Frame-Up, or misleading circumstantial evidence. In Real Life, it can include bad eyewitness evidence; in fiction, it's more likely to be a false witness or a lying eyewitness. In both, it is not uncommon to see overzealous prosecutors who may focus more on their record of getting successful convictions than guilt or innocence.
This can be the premise of a story, leading into Great Escape, Boxed Crook, Clear My Name, and many other plots, or it can be a Downer Ending if it overlaps with Acquitted Too Late. At the most extreme, it can explode into a Rage Against the Legal System.
The inverse an Obviously Evil and guilty person going free isn't this trope, but a Karma Houdini situation that falls under one of a number of tropes depending on how they escaped justice; Off on a Technicality is the most common, but sometimes it can be a result of Diplomatic Impunity, Screw the Rules, I Have Money!, Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!, an Insanity Defense, Not Proven, and so on. Also, has nothing to do with a pregnant woman having a miscarriage due to bad karma.
- Astro City:
- The death of the Silver Agent, "To Our Eternal Shame". He was framed for the murder of a supervillain due to said supervillain faking his own death, and afterwards was arrested and executed by the government to show they had some control over the superhero population.
- A lawyer gets one guilty client off by invoking the numerous superheroic instances of this trope — evil twins, doppelgangers, mind control — and cites the Silver Agent's death as probably the clinching factor.
- In "Pastoral", in the Back Story, a man claimed to have been a victim of genetic engineering at the hands of Trans Gene International; they were acquitted, and he was convicted of breaking and entering. The main character notes during the story some evidence that he was telling the truth.
- Bunty: In "Botany Belle", the heroine is tricked into switching places with a pickpocket and is transported to Australia for a crime she didn't commit.
- Icon: Subverted with "Buck Wild," a parody of Luke Cage. As he says, "It all started when I wuz convicted of a crime I didn't commit. I plea bargained down from the crime I really did."
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Sonic is put under arrest for disobeying royal orders to not get roboticized, where he was turned into Mecha Sonic and wrecked Knothole. Antoine used the entire ordeal to try and ruin Sonic's name in the trial and despite Sonic showing evidence that Nack the Weasel had escaped his cell, backing up his claim that Nack ambushed him, he was still sentenced to exile, but Sonic is given a chance to find Nack and bring him back, clearing his name.
- In storyline Strangers at the Heart's Core, Shyla Kor-Onn and her lawyer use manipulated evidence to charge Supergirl with participating in a criminal conspiracy with Lex Luthor. Even though it makes absolutely no sense that Superman's cousin is in cahoots with his nemesis, Kara is found guilty and hurled into the Phantom Zone.
- In Death & the Family, Inspector Henderson tells Supergirl the story of a case that his old superior Captain Tanner was never able to solve: a young boy named Hiriam Zeiss was mysteriously murdered. There were no witnesses except for a teenage girl who claimed she watched a woman sucking the soul out of Hiriam's body. She was innocent, but Hiriam's grandparents were baying for blood, so they used their wealth to make sure that she was arrested, charged, put on trial, and found guilty.
- Disturbed has "3", a B-side off of the Asylum album, which is written about the West Memphis Three, as seen below in the Real Life section, told from their perspective. Draiman had expressed a desire to donate it somehow on their behalf rather than release it conventionally, which the band did eventually over their website, asking for dollar donations to get the song. The proceeds go towards the defense fund of Damien Echols (he has since been released).
- Reba McEntire's (originally by Vicki Lawrence) "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" has the singer's brother arrested, tried, convicted, and executed all in a single evening for a murder the singer committed.
That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia
That's the night that they hung an innocent man
Well, don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer
'Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands
- "Over the Hills and Far Away" by Gary Moore (also covered by Nightwish) has the protagonist spend ten years in prison for robbery when he could have alibied out because his alibi was that he was having sex with his best friend's wife at the time.
- The Danganronpa-inspired Doubt Academy struggles with this, due to Monokuma's altered set of rules. Here, unlike the original games, convicting an innocent person doesn't lead to everyone but the murderer getting killed; only the scapegoat is executed, right after Monokuma confirms their innocence. Thus, you can have a double dose of the murderer going unpunished while somebody else dies for their crime.
- A stock phrase of Gorilla Monsoon, whenever a wrestler (always a heel) cheated to win. Amped up when the face wrestler was disqualified for using a weapon after the heel used the same weapon... and the referee saw only the face use it!
- Danny Davis' corrupt referee gimmick was based on creating these — allowing the heels to blatantly cheat and get away with everything, but the face immediately gets disqualified for using the same tactics or suffers defeat by the heel's cheating. Eventually, after an extremely egregious trick where he allowed the Hart Foundation to repeatedly double-team the British Bulldog in a tag-team match, Jack Tunney had seen enough and suspended him for life.
- This was a favorite tactic for Eddie Guerrero. If the referee was distracted or knocked out, he'd sometimes throw a chair at his opponent and then lie down on the mat just as the referee was about to turn around, making it look like his opponent had just hit him with the chair. It didn't always work, but Eddie gained more than a few DQ wins this way.
- Dwarf Fortress has a legal system which can be broken such that a dwarf may be convicted for a crime committed against them. This even has a special reaction modifier for the offended party: "outraged at the bizarre conviction against all reason of the victim of a crime." And since every single case of it is a bad thought in and of itself that affects every last dwarf, abusing the system can lead to bad places; there was one reported incident where over a dozen incidents of vandalism were all blamed on a dead kakapo parrot, and the moment the player left the justice screen the entire fortress started a massive riot (due to unhappiness-induced tantrums), killing dozens and paralyzing the entire place for weeks.
- A mission in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. When you first enter Markarth, you will witness a murder on the streets (or prevent it if you are quick enough). The following quest causes you to continue on a CSI-esque Mission to figure out why one man attacked the woman. Once you've found out, the guards pick up on it and blame you for the murders in town, even if you didn't kill a single soul. From there, you have to make a big decision: Murder the gang leader who has been forced to plan these attacks, while letting the real mastermind, Markarth's crime lord, get away with it, or work with the gang leader to kill the crimelord, but lose control of the gang, which kills about a dozen innocents between the prison entrance and the hold's exit. You can also kill both factions, but then you've just massacred two entire factions for each others' crimes and weakened the region while the threat of the Thalmor still struts in the palace.
- The Protagonist of Persona 5 was sentenced with a criminal record for assaulting a man. What really happened is that while he was walking home, he noticed a drunk man harassing a woman and stepped in to help her. The drunk guy slipped and fell, injuring his own face, after which he threatens the woman with imprisonment if she doesn't claim he was attacked. The police then show up, where the woman says Joker attacked the man, leading to his arrest. Furthermore, all but one of the bad endings have the Protagonist taking the fall for a crime or tragedy he wasn't responsible for. The most notable instance occurs late in the game, where playing your cards wrong can result in the main character being framed for a series of psychotic breakdown incidents by the real perpetrator, who then assassinates him inside an interrogation room in a staged murder-suicide.
- Several of the anecdotes that Max may tell in Poker Night at the Inventory about the run-ins that Artie Flopshark (the unseen 'Poker Guru' of Telltale Texas Hold'em) had with Flint Paper result in Artie getting pummelled to within an inch of his life by Flint due to misunderstandings on the latter's part. For instance, when Artie was collecting money for a 10K charity run, Flint jumped to the conclusion that he was shaking people down for ten thousand dollars, and broke both of his legs.
Max: This reminds me of the time Flint Paper beat the snot out of that poker instructor Artie Flopshark. He was a total scammer. See, Artie was squeezing our friend Jimmy Two-Teeth for money after teaching him to play some game that didn't really exist!
Tycho: What was the game called?
Max: Omaha? Maybe Topeka. Someplace horrible.
Tycho: Omaha's a real thing, Max.
Max: Well, don't tell that to Artie Flopshark! Flint socked him until he promised he'd never play or teach it ever again!
- This is the Executioner's end goal in Town of Salem: get a randomly selected town member falsely accused of being evil and getting him lynched. If the town member dies before he can be lynched, the Executioner turns into the Jester instead.
- Ace Attorney:
- The third case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations begins with Maggey Byrde being convicted of murder. Not only was she framed, but the murderer actually disguised himself as Phoenix Wright so he could be her lawyer and make sure she lost. Fortunately, this means a mistrial is declared and the real Phoenix can uncover the truth in another trial.
- The fourth case of Trials and Tribulations revolves around Terry Fawles, who had already been falsely convicted of murder 5 years ago, and now has to be saved from getting convicted a second time after escaping from prison and allegedly murdering the cop who arrested him in the original case. Sadly, he's manipulated into committing suicide on the stand even as you reveal he's innocent. Your only satisfaction is that, as this is a flashback, you've already seen the conviction of the monster who drove him to it.
- The third case of Ace Attorney Investigations 2 (Gyakuten Kenji 2) is about a man who was found guilty as an accomplice to a murder 18 years prior. The defending attorney, Gregory Edgeworth, tried his hardest to get an acquittal, but the lack of a body didn't give him enough evidence to work with and eventually, due to overzealous pressure for a confession, the defendant eventually cracked and confessed to a crime he never committed. The best he was able to do was give the prosecution a black mark for their conduct during the interrogations (which itself leads to the infamous "DL-6 Incident" that was basically the ignition for the rest of the franchise). The conclusion uncovers the true culprit and proves the defendant innocent, however the culprit was only able to be convicted because the defendant's trial and conviction as an accomplice had extended the statute of limitations on the murder by one year when it would have otherwise run out four months ago. If the defendant were to have his conviction overturned and go free, then the extension would no longer apply and the culprit would go free as well. Ultimately, Edgeworth and co. choose to free the defendant, while planning to try and get the problems with the statute of limitations sorted out in the future so that the culprit can still face justice.
- Also in Investigations 2, this is the implied fate of everybody who has "disappeared" after pissing off Blaise Debeste. That list of people has his own wife on it, just in case you didn't think he was enough of an evil bastard already.
- The Great Ace Attorney has a rare example of a false acquital- Magnus McGilded, who was tried for the murder of Mason Milverton, is successfully defended by protagonist Ryunosuke Naruhodo, only for it to become clear by the end that he is guilty after all. But despite the pleading of Ryunosuke for the trial to continue, the jury goes with a not guilty verdict. Though he gets murdered by the son of Mason anyway.
- Chaos;Child: In the Common and True endings, protagonist Takuru Miyashiro himself is framed for the New New Gen Murders and arrested, and while he could use his Gigalomaniac powers to break himself out, he decides to live out his sentence as part of a bet with one of the true culprits.
- Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Kaede Akamatsu is initially thought to be the one who murdered Rantaro Amami via Death Trap in Chapter 1, but the final trial reveals that her trap actually failed. The mastermind, Tsumugi, stepped in to kill Rantaro and arrange the scene to make it look like the trap worked, in order to keep the reality show on-track.
- The Twitch chat of Skyblock, but Every 30 Seconds a Random Item Spawns believes this to be the case in Jim Jum being convicted of Barnaby's murder. They were right.
- Played With on The Weather; A caller is strung up to the electric chair, and the cast prepares to kill them, even sending him off with a prayer and asking for his last words... before asking if he was actually guilty of the crime. He casually states that he was innocent, and they decide they probably shouldn't actually kill him.
- Chozen. The main character Phil spent 10 years in prison after being framed by his deranged band member Phantasm, who knocked him out and left him in a hotel room full of drugs, weapons, and unconscious prostitutes when Phil walked in on Phantasm force-feeding kidnapped vegans deli meats and filming it (yes, seriously) and was about to call the police on him. The series begins when Phil, now calling himself Chozen, is released from prison and sets out to become a rap star, which Phantasm, who serves as the series' Big Bad, has already accomplished in the past decade.
- In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Duckman of Aquatraz", Scrooge McDuck is framed for theft by his rival Flintheart Glomgold and put into prison, where, conveniently, it turns out that his cellmate was also framed by Glomgold.
- In one episode of The Inspector, the Inspector gets arrested when a criminal who looks like him robs a bank and runs past him. The criminal is never captured and the Inspector spends the entire episode in prison (despite making numerous failed escape attempts), ending with him trying to chisel the Rock of Gibraltar in order to be paroled.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko is convicted (by a Joker Jury of insects) for injuring a fly, and sentenced to 30 days as a fly. Later, the fly that Rocko allegedly injured is seen perfectly fine, guzzling soup at a fancy restaurant. At the same restaurant is The Judge, who catches the fly red-handed and takes him to Rocko's home to make him apologize to him for faking his injury; then, he himself apologizes profusely and turns him back to normal.
- The Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Late Mr. Kent" deals with this. Clark finds evidence that would clear a man wrongly imprisoned for murder. As he's racing back, his car is destroyed by a car bomb. Clark survives (obviously) but now has to figure out how to save the man without blowing his identity to the world.
- Happens a number of times in Tiny Toon Adventures. One incident that really sticks out is in the TT version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the role of Goldilocks is played by animal abuser Elmyra. After breaking into the three bears' house, trashing everything, messing with their stuff, followed by causing great pain and abuse to the bears, upon being summoned by the bears' alarm, instead of arresting Elmyra, the police mistake the bears for wild creatures, capture them, and haul them to the zoo!
- Although Baby Bear, who wasn't that comfortable living in a modern home, didn't complain about the change.
- For film documentary accounts:
- The Thin Blue Line where director Errol Morris made such a convincing case of Randal Adams being framed for murder by the police and the District Attorney that he was exonerated and released.
- Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, where three non-conformist boys, The West Memphis Three, were indicted for a horrific triple murder and convicted even though it's obvious that at best there is not enough evidence, or at worst they are innocent boys screwed by community prejudice and hysteria. Here, activists worked on getting them exonerated with the help of the producers following up with Paradise Lost 2 and soon, Paradise Lost 3, which drop the ambiguity of the first film and firmly support the three's innocence. They have since been released.
- A Murder In the Park has a disturbing twist on this. Anthony Porter was released in 1999 after a team of university students claimed to have found exculpatory evidence, including the confession of the real murderer. However, the film says, not only was Porter almost certainly guilty, but the man who confessed did so under coercion and manipulation from their private investigator. The man who confessed, Alstory Simon, was pressured to plead guilty by his lawyer to avoid a life sentence. His lawyer just so happened to be a friend of the same investigator who procured his confession. Simon got 37 years, though he was freed in 2014. So, if the film is correct, we have a killer wrongly set free and another man wrongly sent to prison later in his place, then himself exonerated. What is most damning is that per its allegations, the investigators seeking to exonerate Porter used many of the same tactics found in miscarriages of justice by the government: getting witnesses to change their stories with bribery or threats, coercing a false confession, and ignoring evidence implicating him in a double murder. Not only that but since Porter has been pardoned and the statute of limitations has run out on the investigators' crimes, no one can be prosecuted. However, Simon sued them and the university, receiving an undisclosed settlement in 2018.
- Wikipedia has this page, which details cases of this.
- On their Showtime series Bullshit, Penn and Teller did an episode focusing on the causes and results of such miscarriages of justice.
- The "Central Park Jogger" case. On April 19, 1989, investment banker Tricia Meili was savagely attacked in New York City's Central Park — beaten, raped, and left for dead. Within days, five young men — known as the Central Park 5 — who had been terrorizing people in the park were arrested. Despite no DNA evidence, no identification by Meili (she survived, but could not remember the attack), and a time frame that showed that the boys could NOT have assaulted the woman — ironically because they were attacking someone else at the time — all were convicted and sent to prison. A decade later, a man serving time for another crime came forward and confessed that he, and he alone, was the real perpetrator. There was nothing the D.A.'s office could do but overturn the convictions of the others — who had all served their undeserved time. Meanwhile, the statute of limitations had run out, meaning that the man could not be prosecuted for the attack. So, 5 innocent (relatively speaking) young men spent a decade in prison for something they didn't do, a guilty man remained — and STILL remains — unpunished for something he did, and Meili will never see proper justice done. A thoroughly gross miscarriage of justice all around. A partial subversion took place on June 20, 2014: the Central Park 5 will receive $40 million dollars due to wrongful conviction compensation laws. The actual rapist too is serving life without parole for raping and murdering another woman, so he's at least in prison forever.
- In 1983, Henry McCollum and Leon Brown (two mentally handicapped half-brothers) were accused of raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl. There was no physical evidence, the confessions were inconsistent, and what little did match up was already known by the police. They were sentenced to death (though Leon later had his sentence commuted to life in prison) in 1984. It wasn't until 2014 when DNA implicated a sex predator named Roscoe Artis (who lived 100 feet from where the little girl's body had been found, had been implicated in a similar murder a county over, and was convicted of murdering another young girl a month after the Brothers had been arrested in the same neighborhood) that the two were released. By this time, their mother had died just a year before. Both were ultimately pardoned in June 2015.
- Canadian David Milgaard was wrongly accused and convicted of murder. He served 22 years before he was released. He was made famous by The Tragically Hip and their song Wheat Kings, which brought national attention to his case and the fact that, despite possessing evidence he was not guilty of the crime,* the government refused to release him for almost a decade, preferring to let him languish in prison rather than admitting a mistake. He sued on release. The settlement was ten million.
- In 1944 George Stinney, a 14-year-old South Carolinian black boy was falsely convicted of murdering a pair of white girls and was executed only about 86 days or so after the girls' bodies were discovered. He had actually been coerced into confessing when the police officers offered him ice cream if he confessed to the crime. Eventually, new evidence surfaced and Judge Carmen Mullen finally vacated Stinney's conviction posthumously in 2014.
- In one of the gravest public blunders of the Italian judiciary system, Enzo Tortora was wrongfully sentenced to ten years in prison after accusations of being a member of the Camorra involved in drug trafficking, based on paper-thin evidence and the claims of a mentally unstable pentito. What's notable is the fact the guy was a beloved TV host; when his ordeal ended and was allowed back to the scenes, now physically worn out and struggling with cancer, he famously started off the show by simply saying "Well then, where did we leave off?".
- Perhaps the most infamous case in French history is Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who in 1894 was accused of spying for Germany. Being Jewish in a still anti-Semitic, fiercely conservative army, he was the scapegoat while the army acquitted the actual culprit, and was sent to the Penal Colony of Devil's Island in French Guiana for life. His brother and his wife fought to obtain proof of the miscarriage. Eventually, some first-rate intellectuals (including Émile Zola and his J Accuse) took up the defense of Dreyfus in the press and obtained a new trial. The affair was unusual in that it really divided France into two clear sides: the dreyfusards (Dreyfus' defenders, mostly left-wing republicans) and the anti-dreyfusards (right-wing, traditionally religious conservatives). Dreyfus was pardoned in 1899 after five years of hell and officially exonerated in 1906. Dreyfus went on to serve during World War 1, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, but the years his career had lost were never taken into account and he never could make it to general, as he could have before the affair.
- The first season of the podcast Serial takes an in-depth look at the case of Adnan Syed, a Muslim man convicted of murder at the age of 18 in the death of his friend Hae Min Lee. In the course of reporting, the evidence is examined, and the conclusion is eventually drawn by reporter Sarah Koenig that the case against Adnan was based on either fundamentally flawed evidence (timelines that didn't match, evidence that ultimately was demonstrably incorrect), or Blatant Lies (witness testimony that changed with each telling, or that was left out entirely because it didn't fit the prosecution's case). She ultimately states that she doesn't know if Adnan is actually the killer, but there's no way he should be found guilty based on the evidence provided. The fact that Adnan has constantly pled his innocence for 15 years despite it hurting his case and his chances at parole implies that this trope is in effect. His conviction was eventually overturned in 2022 after the prosecution was found to have refused to hand over evidence.
- As discussed above under "Film", 10 Rillington Place is based on the true story of John Christie, one of Britain's most prolific and notorious Serial Killers, who was the star witness at the trial which managed to see Timothy Evans, the husband and father of two of his victims, convicted and executed for the murders that Christie himself committed. When Christie's own crimes were exposed, the public outcry over this miscarriage was one of the key factors in the public movement which eventually resulted in Britain abolishing the death penalty for murder (it was retained for other crimes until 1998).
- Making A Murderer, featuring Steven Avery. He was exonerated for rape and then convicted of murder. The documentary raises the possibility that the murder was another false conviction and that he and his nephew are innocent. Notably, even people who believe that Avery is guilty have come to concede that a lot of the evidence against him was probably planted, or at the very least that Branden (the nephew) is innocent.
- Roger Keith Coleman once seemed like the poster child for this trope. On March 10, 1981, Wanda McCoy was found raped, stabbed, and nearly beheaded in her own home, for which Coleman was convicted. The only real evidence that there was to go on were spots of blood on Coleman's pants and two male pubic hairs found on McCoy's body that were consistent with his own. Several witness accounts also placed Coleman as being in other places at the time the crime occurred (also, the next-door neighbor was a serial rapist). While on death row, Coleman maintained that he was innocent and managed to gain numerous supporters, including Pope John Paul II. Shortly before his execution in 1992, he stated that "an innocent man is going to be murdered tonight". His supporters and anti-death penalty activists petitioned and lobbied for many years to have the evidence from the crime tested. Finally, in 2006, DNA testing finally confirmed that Coleman really was responsible for the crime.
- The very first man exonerated by DNA testing in the U.S., Kirk Bloodsworth, was found guilty of rape and murder due to being mistakenly identified by eyewitnesses as the man they had noticed around the area (he resembled the real culprit). He was freed after eight years while having unknowingly been in a cell above the actual rapist and murderer (who was serving his sentence for another rape). The man wished him luck on his release (no, you can't make this stuff up) and was later convicted of the crimes himself after they finally ran the DNA from the original case against the national database.
- Kevin Cooper is an unusual case in that DNA seems to condemn him, but there are compelling arguments that the DNA tests were sabotaged (a criminalist who had been caught lying on the stand had checked out an envelope containing one of the tested pieces of evidence and opened it three years before the testing was done, the cigarettes had changed size shape and color from the last time, and when a prosecution lab found results that seemed to confirm that blood had been planted on the shirt, they withdrew it on grounds of contamination but refused to submit the lab notes that could allow that claim to be verified). Whether he's this or not is up in the air, but there is still strong proof that some funny business was going on (notably when Cooper applied for an en banc hearing the results were a very narrow rejection that took 17 months to decide and which resulted in one of the judges writing a 100-page dissent accusing the judge of deliberately sabotaging Cooper's hearing, as well as the police of forging evidence.)
- Schapelle Corby, possibly. She was convicted of smuggling marijuana to Indonesia but there were a lot of questionable things about the case, such as there being no camera footage available from the airport, the Judge presiding over her case apparently never having acquitted one person in over FIVE HUNDRED cases, destruction of evidence and more. She was sentenced to 20 years in a Hellhole Prison and many feared she wouldn't survive. Fortunately, she got her sentence reduced eventually, was allowed out on probation (but still had to stay in Indonesia for five years), and, on May 17, 2017, was finally allowed to return home to Australia.
- In 2014, a couple in Russia was involved in a car accident, which resulted in the wife's death. The driver of the other car was drunk and was clearly the guilty party (his car crossed to the opposite lane). The drunk driver was arrested and found guilty of DUI and reckless driving and put in jail, also being ordered to pay compensation to the other driver (which he never did). Then the drunk driver's passenger (who had also been drinking before the driving) sued both drivers for compensation. The case was dismissed initially, as the court took into account the fact that the other driver was not at fault and himself never received compensation from the drunk driver. She filed for an appeal in a different area, and the second court ruled in her favor, so the innocent driver had to shell out a sizable sum to pay for someone who was partly responsible for his wife's death. How's that for justice?
- The case of Charles B. McVay III, the only captain in the entire history of the U.S. Navy to receive a court-martial for the loss of his ship, the heavy cruiser Indianapolis. After delivering components for the atomic bombs to the Mariana Islands, Indianapolis made for the Philippines before being torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-58 en-route. McVay and the majority of his crew spent five days lost at sea before being discovered, with only three hundred and sixteen out of nearly 1,100 surviving (the rest dying to injuries, exposure, lack of supplies, and near constant shark attack). McVay was charged with not calling for abandon ship in a timely manner and failure to zigzag in event of a submarine attack. Despite scant evidence note , expert testimony note , and personal intersession from Naval Commander in Chief Nimitz, McVay was found guilty of failure to zigzag and his career was for all intents and purposes finishednote . Survivors of the Indianapolis labored for years to try and overturn the court-martial, and eventually McVay was exonerated by President Clinton in October 2000.
- The arrest of Robert Seacat. A violent repeat offender, potentially under the influence of drugs takes refuge in the house of the innocent and uninvolved Lech family. The police manage to arrest Seacat, the offender in question, without any loss of life, not even the Lech family's two dogs who were in the backyard. However, the force used in the arrest had rendered the house uninhabitable, to the point where it had to be torn down and rebuilt. Once the arrest was done, the police had told the family that they could come and pick up their things, since there had been "some damage" to the house. The police offered 5 000 to cover the family's living expenses for a few weeks, but deny any fault in having destroyed the house. The Lechs tried to sue under the Takings clause of the constitution, which requires the government to pay for any property taken from citizens for whatever reason. The court ruled that the police had not officially taken the property before destroying it, and the Lechs only got around half the amount required to rebuild the house, and nothing to cover legal fees.
- The death of Helen Wilson in Beatrice, Nebraska in 1985, ruined the lives of six people due to a number of problems. A lab technician in Oklahoma City ended up eliminating the true suspect, Bruce Allen Smithnote . An overzealous former investigator from the Beatrice PD sought to pin the blame on a group of informants he used to work with along with a few others. The six chosen ultimately confessed and were sentenced to various jail sentence lengths. In 2007, various appeals lead to the case being reexamined with Bruce Allen Smith being fingered as the culprit but he had passed away in 1992. The six arrested were ultimately released from prison and pardoned from the crimes in 2009.