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Belleville Legal Issues Blog

Wrongful conviction rate estimated in study

In rape or murder cases in Illinois and elsewhere, roughly 3 to 5 percent of those who are convicted of a crime are later exonerated because of new evidence. Researchers later found that the wrongful conviction rate for cases involving crimes like theft or robbery was 6 percent. This was based on a study of 3,000 inmates in state prisons in Pennsylvania. The researchers say that the true rate throughout the country is likely lower than that.

The study was published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, and it obtained data by asking prisoners about their cases. On a practical level, only the person who is charged with a crime knows if he or she actually committed it. However, those who conducted the study acknowledge that criminals are not always honest about their experiences. To get around this issue, inmates were given anonymous surveys that would be difficult to track to any one person.

Steps to improve warehouse safety

Employers in Illinois and elsewhere should make worker safety their top priority. This can be especially important for warehouse workers, who experience injuries and deaths at a rate higher than the national average. One way to keep workers safe is to clean on a regular basis. Sweeping loose debris and drying any areas with excess moisture can help prevent a fall or other dangerous event from occurring.

Fire exits should be clearly marked to help workers find their way to safety in a timely manner. Furthermore, employers should conduct regular fire drills and take steps such as replacing worn or otherwise dangerous wires. Safety training courses can help workers identify or avoid hazardous situations. For instance, people can be taught how to safely stack at heights or how to follow OSHA guidelines about working at heights of higher than 4 feet.

Research, experts: distracted driving fuels surge in hit-and-runs

Our phones, our wearables, our tablets, our in-dash infotainment systems all delight and dazzle us with a combination of useful data, communication capabilities and easy entertainment. But their charms and capabilities can also be distractions that get us to watch our technology while we’re behind the wheel instead of the streets, road signs and traffic.

Far too often distracted drivers are causing motor vehicle crashes resulting in serious injuries and sometimes fatalities. New research also points to distracted driving as a factor in the surge in hit-and-run accidents.

Summer driving: Tips for teen drivers

The snow is clear and now more parents are comfortable letting their new teen drivers out on the open road. And once school is out, they’ll be headed off to summer jobs and fun with friends.

While you may not want to be the parent who is always saying “no” when your teen wants to do something, setting firm limitations while your teen is developing their driving skills is critical to developing safe driving habits.

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