Q. What happens to prosecutors or police or lab analysts whose misconduct leads to wrongful convictions (do they lose their jobs or end up in prison)?
A. Officials are rarely held accountable. Very few police, prosecutors and crime lab analysts have ever faced criminal prosecution for their role in wrongful convictions in the United States. There have been no more than a handful of criminal prosecutions over the last 20 years, resulting in no more than one or two convictions of police and crime lab analysts for misconduct that led to wrongful convictions. There have been no convictions of prosecutors for misconduct in these cases.
Officials can be sued for damages in civil cases, but police and crime lab personnel are protected by qualified immunity, and prosecutors have absolute immunity for anything they do during the prosecution. Very few exonerees have successfully sued police and crime lab analysts for their misconduct. Finally, very few officials have ever lost their job as a result of misconduct leading to a wrongful conviction.