Steven Truscott's Wrongful Conviction

3272 Words Apr 5th, 2015 14 Pages
Introduction
14 year old Steven Truscott gave his classmate Lynne Harper a ride on his bicycle on June 9, 1959. Truscott had dropped her off before they parted ways. Lynne was reported missing later that night, and two days later, her body was found on a nearby farm. She was sexually assaulted and strangled to death. The community was horrified by what happened to this young girl and everyone was determined to find the killer. Immediately, investigators became fixated on Truscott as the prime suspect since he was the last person to see Lynne. They didn’t consider any other suspects, even though there was no physical evidence linking him to the murder. He was arrested 24 hours later, and stood trial as an adult. (Steven Truscott |
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This case is of interest to both myself and society because Truscott was wrongly convicted based on the limited scientific knowledge available in 1959, and the police’s tunnel vision. They were so adamant on finding the killer that they became fixated on Truscott as the only suspect, and did’t bother widening their search. Because of this, evidence was tampered to frame Truscott. What happened to Truscott was a miscarriage of justice, which affects society’s confidence in the legal system, and it undermines the criminal justice system’s legitimacy.
This case is also of interest because the actual perpetrator was not convicted, because the scientific techniques that were used in 1959 were so limited. By looking at this, we can clearly see how far forensic science has come in the past 50 years, and how different the outcome of the case would have been had this had taken place in the present. We can revisit this old murder case and identify different scientific tools that we could use today to solve the crime. We can also see how applying the knowledge we now know about the human body and forensic science can help to exonerate the innocent, like it did with Truscott, and even help to find the real culprit.
Scientific Methods Used and Evaluation of those Methods
In the 1950s and 1960s, there were many limitations on the science and methodology used in investigations, because there was a lack of knowledge. For example, forensic

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