Actual innocence is a legal concept which means, simply, that a defendant did not commit the crime of which he or she is accused. It is usually invoked when a prison inmate is attempting to appeal his sentence, but Kelly wanted to bring the spirit of the concept to the pre-conviction level.
“That’s distinct from ‘I didn’t get treated fairly’,” says Kelly, a Navy veteran who became the county’s top law enforcement officer in 2010 when he was only 34 years old. “It’s not, ‘Some of the evidence was obtained unlawfully, there was an incorrect ruling by the court, on the trial level some error by the defense’ – no, you actually have the wrong person here…they’re actually innocent.”
Since Kelly implemented the policy two years ago, nine defendants – including Lashonda Moreland – have had their charges dropped before trial. Those cases include a reckless homicide by vehicle, four armed robberies and one murder.
To the best of his knowledge, no other prosecutor in the country is attempting anything quite like it. Even the US Department of Justice has taken an interest in what is happening in St Clair County. (Source)
Making Making a Murderer falls prey to the very certainty it critiques.