Guilty or Innocent

Topics: Miscarriage of justice, Capital punishment, Crime Pages: 5 (2051 words) Published: January 28, 2010
Imagine someone being locked up in a cell for 25 years convicted of a crime he or she did not commit. This person whom has been locked up for all these years has been telling everyone that he or she is innocent of the crime they were convicted of. Even though this person was telling everyone this, nobody believed him or her for a long- time. Until one day, someone believed that persons story. With many people in prison, others tend to overlook the fact that some of those people are wrongfully convicted; there are many reasons for this wrongful conviction. More than 350 innocent people in prison since 1989 that have been exonerated and released from prison (Eppler. 2009, Para. 3).The most common wrongful conviction is eyewitness error. Many who are wrongfully convicted some of which are very famous in history such as Dr. Rubin (Hurricane) Carter. There have been exonerations in 34 of the 50 states since the twenty-first century begun. Many people who are or were convicted of a crime in which they did not commit. According to Eppler (2009) a study of all exonerations DNA and non-DNA has found that there have been more than 350 people wrongfully convicted and subsequently exonerated in the United States since 1989. (Para. 3) In 1989 the first DNA exoneration took place, which was for Gary Dotson. Gary Dotson was proven innocent of being convicted of rape. Since there has been thousands and thousands of DNA testing to prove that people were wrongfully convicted. There are those people who believe that if a person was or is put in prison then there must be a reason for it, without taking into consideration that the people may have been wrongfully convicted. There are many different reasons for wrongful convictions that have been discovered in capital cases and many other cases some of the causes of wrongful conviction are; eye witness error, junk science, government misconduct, snitch testimony, false confessions, and biased juries. Eyewitness errors are where someone may have been confused or just have a faulty memory. Junk science where people mishandled the evidence and the crime scene, which could also be government misconduct by the police or other government official. Many people have a misunderstanding about government officials especially police officers that is all police officers are trustworthy and they tend to forget that police officers are just people like everyone else who also has to decide what is correct and what s wrong. Snitch testimony where another person is trying to get there sentence reduced with a plea bargain by telling on someone else even if it is or is not the truth. There are false confessions where people have confessed to a crime because he or she is mentally ill, they have been tortured by the police to confess to a crime he or she did not commit, some other causes for false confessions are; duress, coercion, intoxication, diminished capacity, ignorance of the law, fear of violence, misunderstanding the situation, and the threat of a harsher sentence. Also there are biased juries where people do not get to have the jury made up of his or hers peers. Below is how each of these falls in a category with the most common being eyewitness error, in which is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75 percent of convictions being overturned through DNA testing.(Dieter.2009).

(Death Penalty Information Center)
In more than 25% of cases in a National Institute of Justice study, suspects were excluded once DNA testing was conducted during the criminal investigation. The study that was conducted in1995, included 10,060 cases where testing was performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratories. Police misconduct and biased juries were the cause in over half of all the convictions. These cases were exonerated by the DNA evidence (Eppler.2009). Larry Peterson is an example of wrongful conviction. According to Dieter (2009) Larry Peterson...

References: Deal, C. (1975). Hurricane Carter. The other side of the story. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
Dieter, R. (2009). Causes of Wrongful Convictions. Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved
September 17, 2009
Eppler, D. (2009). Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. Retrieved September 17,
2009, from
Equal Justice Initiative. (2009). EJI-Wrongful Convictions. Retrieved September 17, 2009,
Marshal, L. (2006). Northwestern Law. Retrieved October 25, 2009, from
Stoddard, Ed. (2008). DNA frees Texas man imprisoned for 27 years. Retrieved October 25,
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