Running Head: AFTER CONVICTION: EXONERATED
AFTER CONVICTION: EXONERATED
Curtis C. Dix Jr.
Prof. George Ackerman
February 19, 2012
There are many things that have been and will be discussed regarding our justice system and the justice system of other countries. Differently there are varying types of courts all throughout these other countries as well. Similarly, all countries have criminal sanctions, sentencing practices, types’ of punishment, imprisonment, and death penalties. The question I present is what about all those whom have been wrongfully convicted, sentenced and then later on exonerated based upon DNA or whatever evidence available? What about the various countries whom have taken the act in an …show more content…
On the other side of this, the same DNA testing has set a lot of people free out of prison or jail. In all situations, those exonerated want to maintain their innocence and can do so with the assistance of attorneys and/or with organizations advocating for them through countless appeals. The process of exonerating someone can be long and tedious. When there is new evidence discovered it must be presented as a motion to dismiss the indictment or for a new trial. (NCJRS, 1996) If it was not for DNA profiling, these injustices would have never been corrected. For those who are indigent and cannot afford attorneys, the pathway to be exonerated can very difficult. The best enforcement to have in a case seeking exoneration is DNA evidence while other times, many years later, an actual eyewitness will come forward and testify on the defendant’s behalf. The problem here though is when cases such as these were based on eyewitness account at the time of their arrest those witnesses were not considered credible to begin with. (Smith, 2011) The vital part of any case is the preservation of the evidence because without it, the case does not have any grounds. The unfortunate thing about most of these cases was largely due to the defense team that was representing them at the time. If the individual finally wins their freedom, the challenges are far more consuming then they have ever known. Most of these individuals are released with only their initial possessions
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Being the victim of being accused and convicted for a crime, that you did not commit, can potentially ruin your chances or cause many issues to live the life that you want. By definition wrongful conviction is, “a conviction of a person accused of a crime which, in the result of subsequent investigation, proves erroneous,” (Duhaime). Within the topic of wrongful convictions, there are many subtopics that explain why they happen and why they occur so often. DNA evidence, lack of evidence, witness misidentification, and jury biases are all factors relating to the cases of wrongfully convicted persons. DNA evidence helps match the
Despite the efforts of the courts and law enforcement agencies to improve the handling of eyewitness testimony, misidentifications continue to be a major contributing factor to false convictions. The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization that has been dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing. Since their inception in 1992, they have helped overturn 311 wrongful convictions in the United States, as of the date of this paper. Of those 311 cases, they have determined that misidentification has contributed to approximately 73% of those wrongful convictions ("The Innocence Project"). That is an extremely high percentage, and something needs to be done about this.
DNA exonerations are very common. So much so that in the United States alone, there have been “317 post-conviction DNA exonerations” (2014). The very first DNA exoneration dated back to 1989. The Innocence Project examined these DNA exonerations and found that “8 of the 317 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death” (2014). More so, the average time served was about 13.5 years, and the average age was 27 (2014). This means that before the age of
Well, in nearly 25 years since post-conviction DNA evidence has been used to demonstrate criminal innocence, even in cases that landed defendants on death row or in prison for life. Eyewitness misidentification, forensic science errors, false confessions, government misconduct and bad lawyering are many of the reasons wrongful convictions occur. Eyewitness being the most common. Sometimes it can be done by error and other times it is actually done intentionally. In seventy-seven percent of the DNA exonerations, eyewitness misidentification led to wrongful convictions (The Innocence Project- How wrongful conviction happen).
In addition to undeserved charges, DNA testing has exonerated hundreds of people for crimes in which they were convicted over the past few years. When DNA testing became readily available to the criminal justice system, crucial flaws began to surface. It was realized that people were serving hard-time for felony crimes they didn’t commit.
Everyday, people are arrested for crimes they have committed. However, the justice system, in some cases, has failed to convict and arrest the right person. Innocent people have been sent to jail based upon the deliberate misidentification of suspects. Throughout U.S history, there have been several famous wrongful convictions such as the Scottsboro Boys and Ed Johnson (Grimsley). Their convictions were based on race due to the racial strife from the Jim Crow era. Base on David Love’s article, many convictions after the Jim Crow era were still being caused by misleading identification from eyewitness claims of the suspects being African Americans. Due to the advancement of forensic and DNA technology, lack of evidence from previous convictions
False confessions have been a leading factor in destroying the lives of many innocent people. Since the advances of technology, victims of false confessions have been exonerated from the charges previously placed on them while others are still fighting for innocence or died a criminal. One technological advance that has exonerated many individuals is DNA testing. According to Randy James, DNA testing was discovered in 1985 and was first used in court to convict Tommie Lee Andrews (Time, 2009). Today many Americans are convicted because of false confessions that have not yet been overturned with new evidence (Kassin, 2014). Although DNA testing has led to freedom for many innocent Americans, there are still many innocent people who are locked
In many countries across the world people are wrongfully convicted by a system whose sole purpose is to protects its citizens. Wrongful convictions are a grave miscarriage of justice. A report Published by Nation Registry of Exonerations stated that 149 people were cleared in 2015 for crimes that they did not commit in the United States (Ferner, 2016), this number is staggering. Also, in Japan 162 wrongful convicted between 1910 and 2010 (Johnson, 2015). With that said, a lot of people is being detained for crimes they did not commit in every region of the world, meanwhile the real culprits are left to roam freely. Common reasons for wrongful conviction in the United states and Japan are harsh and long interrogations, witness identification, errors or misconduct of the law enforcement and jailhouse informants also known as snitches, but mostly lack of DNA evidences. Even though, these countries have constitutional rights for its citizens, the reasons for wrongful convictions are similar.
That he was exonerated raises questions as to whether there are other countless people serving time for crimes they never committed. There is need to examine the role of DNA in criminal prosecutions since this plays a fundamental part in convicting a suspect.
This Organisation is a non-profit Legal organisation dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices. The Innocence Project was established in a landmark study by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Senate in conjunction with the Benjamin N.Cardozo School of Law, which found that incorrect identification by eyewitnesses was a
Every time an innocent person is exonerated based on DNA testing, law enforcement agencies look at what caused the wrongful convictions. There are many issues that contribute to putting guiltless lives behind bars including: eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, imperfect forensic science, and more (Gould and Leo 18). When a witness is taken into a police station to identify a suspect, it is easy for their memories to be blurred and their judgment influenced. This can lead the witness to identify a suspect who is actually innocent. Flawed forensic science practice also contributes to wrongful imprisonments. In the past, analysts have been inaccurate due to carelessness, testified in court presenting evidence that was not based
There have been many incidents where cases have needed a solid prosecution in order to convict the defendant in a murder or rape case. This is where DNA Testing comes in to help. By taking a DNA test, a person can be found guilty or not guilty. If a person claims they have been raped there can be a sperm sample taken from the suspect in order to prove that he is guilty or not. In addition, in a murder case there can be blood taken from the suspect so they can tell of his innocence. There are several ways to determine whether a person is guilty or not by this method. Many cases have begun to use this method saying that it is foolproof. People say this is the method of the future of crime
DNA evidence is extremely helpful in criminal trials not only because it can determine the guilt of a suspect, but also because it can keep innocent people from going to jail. The suspect must leave a sample of their DNA at the crime scene in order for testing to occur, but DNA can be found in the form of many things such as semen, blood, hair, saliva, or skin scrapings. According to Newsweek, "thousands of people have been convicted by DNA's nearly miraculous ability to search out suspects across space and time… hundreds of innocent people have also been freed, often after years behind bars, sometimes just short of the death chamber" (Adler ). Though some may think it is a waste of time to go
The Innocence Project was established in the wake of a landmark study by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Senate with help from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (Schneider, 2013). This study found that there were numerous reasons why people are wrongfully convicted including, but not limited to eye witness identification, perjured testimony, improper forensic science techniques, and government misconduct (Roberts & Weathered, 2009) The original Innocence Project was founded twenty two (22) years ago as a part of the Cardoza School of Law of Yeshiva University in New York City, New York (Davis, 2012). The Innocence Projects primary goal is to exonerate those whom have been convicted of a crime when there is DNA evidence available to be tested or re-tested (Mitchell, 2011). DNA testing has been possible in five (5) percent to ten (10) percent of cases since 1992 (Risinger, 2007). On the other side, other members of the Innocence Project help to exonerate those have been convicted of a crime where there is no DNA evidence to test. A goal of the Innocence Project is to conduct research on the reasons for wrongful convictions, how to fix the criminal justice system, as well as advocate for those who have been wrongfully convicted (Steiker & Steiker, 2005). The members of this organization strive to teach the world about the dangers of wrongful convictions. To date, this non-profit legal organization, has freed three hundred eighteen (318)
There are often mistakes made that falsely determine an individual’s sentence. Sloppy police work and loss of documents are examples of careless errors. There is also some room for error with determining the results of a DNA sample that do not fall under the human error category. Many times there may not be ample DNA samples at a crime scene. Only a fraction of crimes reveal DNA. Drive-by shootings and bombings often do not provide DNA for investigation purposes. “There is a public perception that DNA is the cure-all for these kinds of mistakes. DNA is not the whole answer.” (Dieter, Richard) Eye witnesses cannot solely and accurately determine a person’s fate 100 percent of the time. There are numerous amounts of cases in which those found guilty were indeed later found innocent. Many times, these individuals have already served time in jail. Many argue that the time inmates spend in