Many wrongful convictions are due to mistaken eyewitnesses, jailhouse snitches, or false evidence. I think many of the wrongful convictions could be solved with harder evidence, more information. A case should not rely on a single eye witness but multiple. For those in prison, those who snitch saying the defendant confessed, testifying can be a bargaining chip; the state will often reduce sentence time or
In Brandon L. Garrett 's book, Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong, he makes it very clear how wrongful convictions occur and how these people have spent many years in prison for crimes they never committed. Garrett presents 250 cases of innocent people who were convicted wrongfully because the prosecutors opposed testing the DNA of those convicted. Garrett provided simple statistics such as graphs, percentages, and charts to help the reader understand just how great of an impact this was.
Over the past few decades, hundreds of people have been falsely imprisoned. Many of their cases were founded on the account of one or more eyewitnesses. The criminal justice system often relies on eyewitness accounts to piece together a crime and identify the perpetrator. But studies showing the faultiness of our memories, particularly in stressful events, suggest that witnesses may not be as reliable of a source as we think.
Many news stories, reports, and books fairly describe wrongful convictions in detail, although not all of these wrongful convictions resulted in formal exonerations. Most witness misidentifications were made in good faith with the witness attempting to help officials find the real perpetrator of a crime, although this explanation does not examine the conditions under which these identifications were made. Some of the conditions that need to be taken into account are whether a photo was shown to a victim by the police before a lineup, whether the identification by the witness was hesitant, or if the victim was urged to be positive when testifying. Additionally, was the identification from the same race; was there prejudice, how much distance and duration of interaction was there between victim and suspect prior to identification and what were the viewing conditions; darkness or day light? With so many factors involved, it should be obvious to some why eye-witness misidentification can happen so frequently. Moreover, the testimony of an eyewitness relies on how accurate their memory of an event actually is. Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide (“Eyewitness Misidentification,”
It is unlikely that social consequences of false memories can be avoided. Elizabeth Loftus was intrigued to study false memories, and is perhaps personally responsible for subsequent developments throughout the history of false memories. Some of this history addresses various theories aimed at isolating how or why false memories occur. These include Source Monitoring Framework, Activation Monitoring Theory, Fuzzy Trace Theory, and strategies for persuasion which can lead to the development of false memory. Such persuasion leads to the present discussion concerning how persuasion in the judicial system has created false confessions and wrongful eyewitness testimonies, due to the Misinformation Effect. Additionally, Recovered Memory Therapy psychotherapy, a method used to reclaim lost memories, reveals itself as problematic where false memories are concerned.
However, with Texas and Illinois having the greatest amount of exonerations in the United States, according to data from the CBS News team (CBS News, 2014, para. 5), states the initial use of DNA was not held to standards or technology was advanced. DNA has impacted the exonerations in Texas and Illinois, among other states. According to the article Study of DNA data shows potential for wrongful convictions written in the Richmond Times, a study was conducted which shared the results of approximately 6 percent of people convicted in the past 15 years could be innocent as the result of DNA testing not being available at that time (Green, 2012, para. 1). This research is significant to the criminal justice system. Victims of violent crime deserve justice and convicting the wrong person is not only injustice for the victim, but for the one is being wrongfully convicted.
For the past two decades, “The Innocence Project” with the help of updated science methods have worked relentlessly to get innocent people out of prison. Through DNA testing, they have been able to find new evidence that have freed hundreds of prisoners who were wrongfully convicted. Other factors such as eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, government misconduct, and inadequate defense also played keys roles in the wrongful convictions. The case that I would I would like to highlight today is that of, Johnnie Lindsey. Johnnie Lindsey was a 30-year old laundry worker who was falsely accused of rape. On August 25, 1981, a white woman reported that she raped while riding her bike at White Rock Lake in Dallas. She told police that
Manufacturing Guilt Wrongful Convictions in Canada, Second Edition, is relevant to the course I am taking Social Inequity and Justice because, like my course this book discusses and examines sociological approaches to social inequity in regard to race and ethnicity and how it effects these groups and their lives. Manufacturing Guilt Wrongful Convictions in Canada, Second Edition is about innocent people that spend many years behind bars, wrongfully committed for crimes they did not commit. When someone is wrongfully convicted, they are being punished for an offence they did not commit and to make matters worse the actual perpetrator of the crime goes free. Many people that do get exonerated their applications take years in the federal review
When one is victim of or witness to a crime, it is expected that said person is brought into the police department to be questioned by the police. During this line of questioning it is possible that the victim or witness take part in suspect identification procedures. Such procedures include the use of lineups, showups, photo arrays and others. These procedures are referred to as system variables. These system variables are factors under the control of the investigators that have a demonstrated effect on the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness testimony. Examples of system variables that can influence eyewitness testimony include but are not limited to: statements made to eyewitnesses prior to and after lineups, instructions given to witnesses
We know that DNA testing is giving hope to the hopeless in prison. Margret Berger (2006) comments, “Even though the number of inmates released as a consequence of DNA testing is minuscule in contrast to the two million persons incarcerated in the United States, the DNA exonerations have had an enormous impact on the fundamental assumptions about the American criminal justice system and how it operates.” Changes like the desirability of the death penalty, the growing concerns on how forensic laboratories operate alongside the increasing interest in forensic science overall. For instance, as the number of exonerations continues to rise, the number of people being placed on death row is decreasing thanks to Supreme Court rulings that juveniles under the age of 18 and the mentally ill cannot be sentenced to death. The death penalty is overall losing its appeal to society, not just because of the DNA testing, but people become aware of the wrongful convictions of other crimes as well. While Bennett Barbour did not spend any time on death row, another wrongly convicted Nick Yarris had. Both Bennett and Nick had suffered due to forensic laboratories making a mistake when doing testing either through DNA being left out for too long, thrown away or in an off chance, tampered with to make a
The article “When Our Eyes Deceive US” speaks about the wrong decisions that can lead to a wrongful conviction. This particular article decided to focus on cases of wrongful convictions of sexual assault. The first case mentioned was that of the wrongful conviction of Timothy Cole. His victim positively identified him three times (twice in police lineups and one in person at the trial), he was exonerated by DNA testing. To the utmost misfortune, the real rapist had been confessing to the crime for nine years.
Eyewitness accounts play a huge role in general in trials and verdicts, but may be unreliable many times, with certain views placed on evidence provided by children. Unreliability may arise from not being able to recount the identity of the accused, the actions and speech occurring during that time, the relationship of individuals towards the person in question, and many
In the past, finding more than one suspects at a crime scene was likely to lead to a dead-end investigation, and in other cases the arrest of an innocent suspect, instead of the criminal that committed the crime (Delvin para 3). The indication of making an illegal decision is that the offender would likely be released due to the lack of proof, and an innocent person sentenced to jail for an offense they did not committed. In essence, many injustices have been committed against the victims of crimes and the suspects that go to jail or receive other punishment are innocent persons. However, the recent discovery of DNA technology and changes of law have led to the realization that the new technology
Furthermore, there can be several factors at play when a wrongful conviction occurs and each case is unique. Three of the more common and detrimental factors that will be explored in this essay are eyewitness error, the use of jailhouse informants and professional and institutional misconduct. Firstly, eyewitness testimony can be a major contributor to a conviction and is an important factor in wrongful conviction (Campbell & Denov, 2016, p. 227). Witness recall and, frankly, the human emory are not as reliable as previously thought. In fact there has been much research showing the problems with eyewitness testimony such as suggestive police interviewing, unconscious transference, and malleability of confidence (Campbell & Denov, 2016, p.227). All of these components lead to eyewitness error and essentially false incrimination. Secondly, another factor that can contribute to wrongful conviction is the use of jailhouse informants. Campbell & Denov (2016), describe jailhouse informants as prisoner informants that “provide information to law enforcement officials in exchange for money, property, or the promise of leniency in sentencing” (p. 229). This can be problematic because jurors place value on the
Eyewitness identification is ineffective and unjust. Studies have shown that 40% of eyewitness identifications are wrong (Vrij, 1998). Eyewitness identification has great importance in the legal system. This requires the best eyewitness testimony procedure. This essay examines the three main types of eyewitness line-ups; the showup, the sequential and the simultaneous line-up. This essay draws conclusions as to which method the legal system should implement.