The criminal justice system plays an important role in this society, it is meant to protect and serve. This “system” is also meant to maintain the peace and enforce the laws set by the government. However, the criminal justice system is not even close to perfect. It has many flaws, some of which are: police brutality, death penalty, mass incarceration, gun violence, and especially wrongful convictions. A majority of the flaws that the system has can be easily fixed and can be set straight. For example, the issue of wrongful convictions has been relevant for quite some time and has the potential to decrease its probability of occurring by focusing on the importance of scientific evidence, rid of faulty witness testimonies, and make sure that the lack of evidence and/or government misconduct, if applicable, does not determine the outcome of the case.
Wrongful convictions are common in the court-system. In fact, wrongful convictions are not the rare events that you see or hear on televisions shows, but are very common. They stem from some sort of systematic defect that lead to wrongful convictions such as, eyewitness misidentification testimony, unvalidated or improper forensic science, false confessions and incriminating statements, DNA lab errors, false confessions, and informants (2014). Bringing awareness to all these systematic defects, which result in wrongful, is important because it will better adjust the system to avoid making the same mistakes with future cases. However, false confession is not a systematic defect. It does not occur because files were misplaced or a lab technician put one too many drops. False confessions occur because of some of psychological attempt to protect oneself and their family. Thus, the courts responsibility should be to reduce these false confessions.
During recent studies from several researchers it has been concluded that there is a fault within our criminal justice system. Researchers discovered there is a high wrongful conviction rate within the United States judicial system. After, extensive research, it was found that wrongful convictions are caused by eyewitness error, false confessions, flawed forensic science, an informant, bad lawyering, and government misconduct. Without a doubt, this issue has shocked society, due to the fact we rely on the system for pure justice. Within my findings, it is apparent that victims of wrongful convictions suffer numerous affects when
Almost every day, we hear about justice being served upon criminals and we, as a society, feel a sense of relief that another threat to the public has been sentenced to a term in prison, where they will no longer pose a risk to the world at large. However, there are very rare occasions where the integrity of the justice system gets skewed and people who should not have been convicted are made to serve heavy prison sentences. When word of this judicial misstep reaches the public, there is social outcry, and we begin to question the judicial system for committing such a serious faux pas.
In Canada, the leading cause of wrongful conviction is due to the factor of eyewitness account. It has been proven that individual’s minds are not like tape recorders because everyone cannot precisely and accurately remember the description of what another person or object looks like. The courts looks at eyewitness accounts as a great factor to nab perpetrators because they believe that the witness should know what they are taking about and seen what occurred on the crime scene. On the other hand, eyewitness accounts lead to a 70 percent chance of wrongful conviction, where witnesses would substantially change their description of a perpetrator.
The United States prides itself on having robust, deeply entrenched measures implemented across its core agencies, including the police and criminal justice system, to safeguard against wrongfully convicting people who, after further reflection, are factually found to be innocent. As citizens, we have been educated to trust, among other things, that our systems protect the notions that one is innocent until proven guilty and that prosecution must prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet, wrongful convictions are more prevalent than we might think. In particular, the publicity of hundreds of cases over the last few decades has put a spotlight on this indisputable
“Wrongful convictions happen every week in every state in this country. And they happen for all the same reasons. Sloppy police work. Eyewitness identification is the most- is the worst type almost. Because it is wrong about half the time. Think about that.” (Grisham). Wrongful convictions can happen to anyone, at anytime. Grisham implies wrongful convictions happen for the same reasons, careless police work as well as eyewitness identification. An eyewitness identification is a crucial aspect in detective work because it essentially locates the person at the crime scene. This is the worst cause of wrongful convictions because it is wrong half the time.
Wrongful convictions aren't solely a tragedy for those directly involved. When innocent people are behind bars, the real criminals are still on the street committing crimes. Over the last century, considerable research has been conducted on wrongful convictions, not only uncovering the most common factors but also recommending remedies for the sources of wrongful convictions. Innocent people are being convicted of crimes that they have not committed. These serious
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
Since 1923, when Judge Learned Hand said that the American judicial system “has always been haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted,” the issue of wrongful conviction has been acknowledged to man (Halstead, 1992; Huff, Rattner, Sagarin, & MacNamara, 1986). After the judge made his innocuous statements, serious study of this phenomenon began. Contrary to the statement the judge made, time and technology have revealed that an unquantifiable number of wrongfully convicted persons have served prison terms and even been executed for crimes they did not commit and some that did not even occur. Research into wrongful conviction was virtually nonexistent until Professor Edward Brochard of Yale University published his book Convicting the Innocent in 1932. This book documented 65 such cases, addressed the legal causes of miscarriage, and offered suggestions to reform. Subsequently, numerous other researchers began conducting case studies and publishing findings that affirmed that wrongful conviction represents a systematic problem within the American judicial process (Huff, 2002).
On the surface, studying and examining the causes of wrongful conviction is important so that we can be informed and thus attempt to avoid these causes. However, the benefit of the examination of these causes foes deeper than that. By examining the causes of wrongful conviction one can attempt to disassemble and examine the systems set in place that allow for such errors or misuses of power to exist in the first place. By doing this a person can then critically examine the criminal justice system which could lead to taking the necessary next steps in essential
It is obvious that the U.S. Criminal justice system favors convictions over justice. In the criminal justice system, someone should be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but we live in an era where once arrested, someone is immediately guilty until proven innocent. Of course, there are occasions where someone is caught at the moment which does not require a trial for someone to know that this person is guilty. Because of the pressure to get a conviction, prosecutors tend to engage in misconduct l get the pressure off their backs, they know that the systems care more about a conviction rather than finding the truth. It is hard to encourage justice over conviction because in this era people are guilty as soon as they are
A review of false convictions that involved forensic science and can help identify critical lessons for forensic scientists as they perform testing, interpret results, render conclusions, and testify in court from the national institute of justice.
Forensic science is defined as the practice of utilizing scientific methodologies to clarify judicial inquiries. The field of forensic science contains a broad range of disciplines and has become a vital aspect of criminal investigations. Some forensic disciplines are laboratory-based; while others are based on an analyst’s interpretation of observable patterns (Kourtsounis, 2009). According to the Innocence project’s website; in greater than fifty percent of wrongful convictions, the use of invalidated or improper forensic techniques played a role in cases; which were later