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,”
Since the founding of our judicial system there have always been individuals claiming innocence to a crime that they have been found guilty of, traditionally, after their sentencing no matter how innocent they may or may not be would have to serve, live and possibly die by the decision of their peers. The Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck alongside Peter J. Neufeld faces this issue by challenging the sentencing of convicted individuals who claim their innocence and have factual ground to stand upon. The Innocence Project uses the recent advances in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing to prove their client’s innocence by using methods that were not available, too primitive or not provided to their clients during their investigation,
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
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.
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. In 1907, Hugo Mustenberg examined the reliability of eyewitness identification in his book, “On the Witness Stand”. In a study of 65 wrongful convictions completed
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
With well over two million people incarcerated in the United States and countless more tied up within the criminal justice system, alternatives to incapacitation are needed now more than ever. Jails and prisons are feeling the strain on their resources due to overcrowding. This overcrowding has debilitated their ability to function as a place to serve out sentences and to rehabilitate inmates. Alternatives to incarceration could reduce prison populations as well as reduce economic costs. A few programs that have shown to be effective are probation and restorative justice. Probation in particular has allowed for individuals to be interactive with the community and has substantially reduced the prison and jail populations. Restorative justice
Witness misidentification makes up for most known wrongful convictions. Evidence shows that in approximately 75% of all wrongful convictions, erroneous eyewitness identifications play a key role. (Thompson, 2009) Multiple issues factor into why an eyewitness may misidentify a suspect. The psychological stress of a critical incident
they retracted their statements within two weeks, claiming that police had coerced them to make false confessions.
Imagine someone that committed a crime. The person get arrested and charged with the crime. That person attended a preliminary hearing and their case sent off to a grand jury and they get indicted. That person is founded guilty and get a sentencing date. The person is sent off to some state or federal department of corrections. The person do his/her time under good behavior. That person comes out of prison determined to live a righteous and normal life. His/her first step is to find a job to get back on their feet. That person put in applications after applications for different jobs. Some of the jobs that require little or no experience, doesn’t even call that person back. After months of trying, he or she realized that they
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
The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been somehow overlooked by the authorities even though he lived only a block from where the victim’s body was found, and he had admitted to committing a similar rape and murder around the same time.
The re-imprisonment rates in South Africa are exceeding high due to various socio-economic and psychological factors as well as the lack on effective programs in place to aid in rehabilitating prisoners into society once they have completed their sentence in order to prevent their re-imprisonment for the same or different crime. This paper will serve to outline the reasons for these high rates and how Industrial-Organizational psychologists (I/O psychologists) can get involved to lower them and hopefully eradicate them completely in the near future using their psychologically based techniques and expertise. For the sake of this paper we will be focusing on the particular area of expertise that involves ergonomics (the scientific field that