Minneapolis car accident attorney John DeGraw has seen hundreds of wrongful convictions and lost thousands of dollars to his clients.
The 30-year-old was working on behalf of a client when he became involved in a car accident in May 2013 that left one man paralyzed.
DeGrew says he was told that his client was intoxicated, so he brought the case to trial.
After DeGrawler lost his client’s case, he took a stand against wrongful convictions in the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Now DeGross has been recognized by the National Disability Law Center, the Legal Services Corporation and the U.S. Department of Justice for his work.
He says the ADA was created in order to protect disabled people from unfair laws.
“The ADA was intended to protect our disabled people and our communities,” DeGRAW said.
“And when the ADA is used to try to convict people, it’s a very big deal.”
DeGraw says he believes the ADA has helped protect the disabled community from unfair criminal laws and unfair sentencing.
The ADA allows a disabled person to seek a jury trial, and DeGrawn has a special exception for motor vehicle accidents.
“I’ve never had a conviction for a motor vehicle accident that was overturned,” De Graw said.
“There’s a lot of things that I could have done that were wrong, and the ADA did something to change that.”
The ADA says that in most cases, a motorist is not required to use a reasonable care and control in the operation of a motorized vehicle to avoid injury.
But in certain cases, such as in the case of the car accident, DeGroe says the motorist could be charged with negligent driving, which can result in a jail sentence of up to two years.
The Department of Motor Vehicles has no official policy on the interpretation of the ADA, and says it has no legal authority to issue a rule.
But the agency says that it will review every case to ensure that the rules are being followed and that people with disabilities have the right to a fair trial.
“We are committed to making our law fair and just for all, including individuals with disabilities,” said Melissa A. Rauch, director of the Division of Disability Services at the DMV.
“Every driver is required to comply with the law in any circumstances, including situations involving a motor car accident,” she said.
DeGroe is still fighting to overturn a jury conviction that led to his client being sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The conviction was overturned in January 2016 after a jury found that DeGrawl acted in bad faith.
“It was really just a horrible case,” Degraw said of the case.
“I would say I lost over $1,000,000 in my career.”
De Graw says that he will now fight any wrongful convictions.
He says that the ADA protects the disabled from unfair statutes and that he believes that the court system should do the same.
“They’re just a small percentage of the population that are people who don’t have the capacity to have a fair and unbiased trial,” he said.