Socioeconomic status a factor for wrongly jailed woman - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Socioeconomic status a factor for wrongly jailed woman

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By Victoria Shirley

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A follow-up to our exclusive story about a Monroe woman wrongly accused and jailed for murder. We've been fielding a lot of viewer questions about how this could have happened.

KNOE 8 News looks into the factors that may have contributed to Britteny's 4-year-nightmare. Despite her pleas, Britteny Hicks would spend time in jail and homebound on house arrest, wrongly accused of murder. In an interview filmed Wednesday, Hicks explained her frustrations. "I just felt like the system was messed up, that they didn't know what they were doing or care." said Hicks.

Citing no credible evidence linking her to the murder, the district attorney's office dismissed Hick's case last week. Her name is now cleared, but waiting for justice took the 22 year old nearly four years. But why so long?

Public defender Charles Kincade says one factor plays a key part in the judicial process: Money. "You don't generally see richly people falsely arrested" said Kincade and for Hick's a lack of money played a role in the time span of her case. "There's no question economic wherewithal plays a role in the system." added Kincade. Unable to afford her bond, Hicks served jail time, while her public defender fought to lower it. "Being in prison one day, if you are innocent, is too much," the attorney said and while her case made its way through the system, she spent nearly three years on house arrest. Had Hicks' come from a better economic background, Kincade says, she could have marshalled more resources to do a quicker investigation in order clearing her name sooner.

A factor, he calls an ugly truth about the criminal justice system. "It's unfortunate, it's sometimes not admitted, it's sometimes swept under the rug, but it's clear. If you bring a lot of money to bear, you have advantages for a number of reasons."

The Monroe Police Department's main evidence implicating Hick's was the word of then 16 year old Kenyetta Williams who later confessed to stabbing the victim multiple times. She faces up to 20 years in prison. 

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