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  • Writer's picturePeter Lindstrom, Esq.

How Clearance Rate Statistics Can Cause False Accusations of Murder in Minnesota


“The stat games… that’s what ruined this department. Shining up shit and calling it gold.”

-Commissioner Daniels in The Wire


In the complex realm of criminal justice, the pressure on law enforcement to increase clearance rates is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it demonstrates efficiency and accountability, but on the other, it creates a breeding ground for rushed investigations, leading to wrongful accusations, particularly in murder cases. The consequences of this pressure, where individuals are unjustly charged with heinous crimes they did not commit, is horrendous.


Clearing Murders


The term "clearance rate" refers to the proportion of crimes solved by the police in relation to the total reported offenses. The public understandably expects swift resolutions and closure, especially in cases as serious as murder. Consequently, law enforcement agencies face intense scrutiny to boost their clearance rates, often under the pressure of meeting performance targets set by government bodies or superiors.


Rush to Judgment


While the intention behind increasing clearance rates is noble—to ensure justice for victims and their families—the unintended consequence is the potential for investigators to cut corners in their pursuit of suspects. Rushed investigations can lead to tunnel vision, where law enforcement may focus solely on securing an arrest rather than thoroughly examining all available evidence. This rush can result in wrongful arrests and charges, leading innocent individuals to face the dire accusation of murder. Many people do not realize that the success in the clearance rate is not conviction in a court of law but merely arrest.


Innocent People Entangled in a Difficult Criminal Justice System


The urgency to clear cases and create positive statistics causes people who should never have been charged to be arrested and charged. You only need to get to probable cause to get there. And tragically, some of those people end up being convicted because of how difficult it is to be successful as a defendant in the criminal justice system. These individuals find themselves entangled in a legal system that presumes them guilty until proven innocent, battling against biases formed by the initial accusation. The impact of these false charges extends far beyond the confines of the courtroom, leaving irreparable damage to their reputation, mental health, and personal relationships.


Clearance Rate Pressures Can Cause More Sloppy Police Work


Moreover, the pressure on police to swiftly resolve cases often leads to reliance on circumstantial evidence or hasty assumptions, disregarding the need for a comprehensive investigation. Flawed eyewitness testimonies, coerced confessions, or flawed forensic analysis can form the backbone of a case against an innocent individual, solely driven by the urgency to close the file.


The consequences of such rushed and flawed investigations not only destroy the lives of those wrongfully accused but also hinder the pursuit of the actual perpetrators. True justice is delayed or denied when resources and attention are misdirected toward the wrong targets.


Conclusion


The relentless pressure on police to elevate clearance rates in murder cases has inadvertently led to the wrongful charging and persecution of innocent individuals. HBO’s hit television show, The Wire, exemplified how putting too much emphasis on stats actually negatively impact police work. As a society, we must reassess our priorities within the criminal justice system, prioritizing the pursuit of truth and justice over the hasty closure of cases.


But if you are reading this article, you or a loved one may be facing murder charges. And you don’t have time to wait for a better criminal justice system to develop. You may have been enveloped in it in whole or in part because of the “stat game”. It’s important to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. You don’t want just any old attorney. A lawyer who primarily does DWI defense is likely not a good choice for your murder charges. You want a lawyer who has been trained for the specific challenges in defending a murder case. Peter Lindstrom, Esq. has been trained in understanding the sciences of death investigation from the Death Investigors Training Academy. Murder cases often are hinged upon the science of the evidence in this case. You want a lawyer who knows how to fight the issues that present themselves in murder cases. It can be the difference between winning and losing.


Contact Subzero Criminal Defense and I may be able to start working on your case as soon as today. 651-248-5142. Subzero Criminal Defense provides a defense with intelligence, creativity, and grit.

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