Being convicted of a crime that you had nothing to do with must be the most frustrating feeling in the world. Although I had already started a previous research paper, my interest and attention was caught when I viewed an in class video by the name of The Farm: Angola, USA. There were two individuals named George Crawford and Vincent Simmons whose case caught my attention. George Crawford and Vincent Simmons case sounded a little sketchy in my opinion, and the thought of them being wrongfully convicted came to my mind. Although my paper is not about them, their stories inspired me to research about wrongful convictions and exonerations.
In the article “2 Men Awarded $750,000 for Wrongful Convictions in 1983 Murder” was about two half brothers who were wrongly convicted for a crime they didn’t commit. The men have been awarded with $50,000 a year, up to $750,000 for each of the men. Even though it may seem like a lot at first after attorney’s fees, the cost of living, and family members it’s not a lot. After 31 years in prison, their compensation would be more than double that amount, if they had not been in prison. The men had been convicted for the rape and murder of an 11 year old in 1983, even though there was physical evidence that either of them had been involved.
When one thinks about the court systems and the way justice is served they see a system that is fair and just. A system that correctly provides punishment to the guilty party, and one that can discover the truth within the innocent party. On the surface level this appears to be true. Hundreds of thousands of people are incarcerated each year in the United States, which in reality provides a false sense of safety to citizens. While a large percentage of incarcerations are of guilty parties, according to a study in C. Ronald Huff’s book, Convicted But Innocent: Wrongful Conviction and Public Policy, approximately 100,000 innocent people are convicted every year.
The author seeks to place the responsibility of punishing innocent people in the correctional system, onto that of the state. The role of the correctional system in criminal justice is to punish and rehabilitate, but why happens when someone is placed in there through a wrongful conviction. Though various cases have different circumstances, the author states that the one constant factor in all wrongful conviction cases is the state. By expanding upon existing arguments relevant to state crime the author seeks to expand the readers understanding of wrongful convictions, purely from a criminological point of view. By doing so the article will add to the readers understanding of the tragic scenario of wrongful conviction.
The Innocence Project lists six primary causes of wrongful convictions exonerated by DNA evidence. The causes are eyewitness misidentification, unvalidated or improper forensic science, false confessions or admissions, government misconduct, informants, and inadequate defense. The leading cause of wrongful convictions proven by DNA evidence is eyewitness misidentification. Eyewitness misidentification was a factor in more than 70% of convictions whose rulings were reversed due to DNA testing nationwide. Throughout history, the reliability of eyewitness identification has been questioned.
Eyewitness misinterpretation is the highest contributing factor to wrongful convictions. The majority of the wrongful convictions have been corrected by DNA. Exoneration cases that have involved convictions are based on mistaken identification and/or mistaken or overlooked evidence. While there had been evidence in the book “The Picking Cotton,” of police misconduct/ biased based on race. While prosecutors and law enforcement officials are expected, to be honest, uphold the law, have the best intentions to protect society and act with integrity but the pressure to get the right perpetrator my lead police to act inappropriate, unfair or in an unlawful manner, government misconduct can include withholding or fabricating evidence, suggestive ways
False Imprisonment Imagine walking down the street and being stopped by the police and then forcefully and wrongfully being arrested based on skin color, gender, race, or because you “look” like someone they’re looking for. As a result of fitting whatever criteria it takes for them to stop you and falsely arrest you, you end up falsely imprisoned. 1 False imprisonment is commonly defined as being arrested against ones will, the unlawful restraint of another, and being imprisoned without legal justification. False imprisonment is an intentional tort. An intentional tort is a wrongful act that results in the harm of another.
Evidence based prosecution is when offenders can be held accountable for their actions even without a victim's testimony or cooperation. The evidence of the prosecution is based on medical records, medical examinations, photographs, the 911 tape and things that are found on the victim's and offender's body. Evidence based prosecution is extremely important in domestic violence cases because it serves justice without having them testify against the offender face to face. The victim in this type of setting my be too afraid of the offender to speak up in fear of any further attacks, taking legal custody of their children, economic control, etc. Many victims of domestic violence do not make a report or if they do at the time they chose
The criminal justice system depends majorly on eyewitness identification for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Psychologists have been the only ones who have warned the justice system of problems with eyewitness identification evidence. Recent DNA exoneration cases have corrupted the warnings of eyewitness identification researchers by showing that mistaken eyewitness identification was the largest factor contributing to the conviction of many innocent people eyewitness testimonies are not reliable therefor you would assume they would be taken out of court, but instead
When reviewing the issues associated with the criminal justice system in the United States, wrongful convictions are becoming a serious one that society as a whole needs to be aware of. While there are a countless factors that can contribute to a wrongful conviction, there are five distinct ones that are the leading causes in wrongful convictions: the adversarial process, Eyewitness identification, misconduct and errors regarding forensic evidence, interrogations and confessions, and jailhouse snitches/informants. In relation to wrongful convictions, the adversarial system places more emphasis on the process rather than truth finding, meaning an individual can usually only appeal if there is an issue regarding the process; if someone is wrongfully
British Jurist, William Blackstone, famously stated, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” (Norris, Bonventre, Redlich, & Acker, 2010). The number of innocent people getting their convictions overturned is steadily increasing in the United States. The recent surge in overturned convictions is a product of The Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is an organization that was founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law. The purpose of their organization is to exonerate individuals have been wrongly convicted through DNA testing.
“Many that live deserve death and many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment” – J.R.R Tolkien. Capital punishment has been around for many centuries but has been suppressed in several countries as punishment was thought to be medieval and barbaric. I strongly disagree with the statement ‘capital punishment should be reinstated’.