Examples Of Wrongful Convictions

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Wrongful Convictions The criminal justice system exists for individuals to express their right to due process. However, even the criminal justice system has flaws. Wrongful convictions do occur and statistics show that as much as .5% - 1% of all convictions are wrongful. (Zalman, 2017) The past system, especially prior to DNA evidence testing, was harsh and very one-sided. So why do wrongful convictions occur? 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…show more content…
In the past, an officer had relied on forensic methods that are much less accurate and that are being proved to be unreliable today. Statistics show that 36% of exonerated cases involved unreliable or limited science. (Collins, 2009) For example, DNA evidence is now the standard as opposed to previous methods of fingerprinting, and hair analysis. With the widespread acceptance of DNA testing, criminals can now be convicted with much more accuracy. Checks and balances must be in place to defend against improper expert testimony and junk science practices. Misconduct and negligence in forensic laboratories have led to wrongful convictions in several states. To help combat this scientist must continue to increase the trustworthiness of their work. It has also been suggested that a government regulated forensic oversight commission be adopted as a necessity in laboratory and field environments to help reduce…show more content…
The Innocence Project was founded by American lawyers, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld in 1992. The project itself was established in the aftermath of a study conducted at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law that listed incorrect eyewitness identification as the main factor in wrongful convictions. Through their work with rapid advances in technology, scientific testing, and genetic testing, the Innocence project has assisted in exonerating three-hundred and fifty-one (as of July 2017) convicted felons of serious crimes. This number includes twenty individuals who were serving time on death row. Many of The Innocence Projects exonerations are due to DNA evidence that was taken from the crime scene, however, the technology did not exist at the time to place the individual with as much accuracy as we have today. An example of this would be early convictions based off of blood typing, or similar hair analysis. Now DNA testing along with genetic markers can be observed with an accuracy rate of 99.9%. The Innocence Project receives approximately 3000 requests from prisoners annually for help. After an extensive screening of the case, it is decided whether the case will move forward to the next step. Of all the cases The Innocence Project had approved for assistance, 43% have been found to be innocent, while 42% further confirmed

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