Thousands of men and women get sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Research has estimated 5% of the cases tried resulted in false convictions. The criminal justice system isn’t doing much to prevent these things from coming about. This paper will include reasons as to why innocent people are being wrongfully accused and sent to jail. It will also include case studies of real life situations of innocent people who have went to jail, but eventually got set free because there innocence was proven. They could have went to jail for things like misidentification, false confessions from people who lied on them, lack of DNA evidence, or even junk science. Also discuss ways the criminal justice system can prevent wrongful convictions on innocent citizens. Wrongful Convictions
Wrongful convictions can occur because the criminal justice system is not taking the time to review the evidence carefully. A conservative estimate is the 1 percent of U.S prison population, approximately 20,000 people, is falsely convicted (Schwartzapful & Levintova, 2011). The death penalty is higher than most cases. Gross says, for two reasons: First capital cases are high profile, emotional cases in which prosecutors face a lot of pressure to secure a conviction. On the other hand, because of the seriousness of the crime, capital defendants are afforded many more legal protections than those facing lesser penalties (Schwartzapful & Levintova, 2011). Prosecutors can sometimes make a mistake because they’re afraid they may make a wrong decision. Therefore everyone has to think before making a hasty decision that can affect someone for the rest of his or her life. Wrongful convictions don’t just fall on the prosecution; it can be false evidence and witnesses. Causes of wrongful convictions can be false confessions to get themselves off and let the other person go to jail. In many cases, innocent defendants making incriminating statements, deliver outright confessions, or plead guilty (Causes of Wrongful convictions, 2014). People will sometimes make false confessions out of fear for their life. They don’t think that covering it up can put them into more trouble because the police will think there hiding stuff. That confession will be more beneficial to them than continuing to maintain their innocence (Causes of Wrongful Convictions, 2014). Also eyewitness misidentification is another one, which is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide (Causes of Wrongful Convictions, 2014). Sometimes when people are in shock when a crime has happen they seem to point the finger at the first person that they think is it. They’re not always sure and people tend to use wrongful judgment. For example if a white man robbed her that was 5’6”, and there’s that exact person in there neighborhood that look like that, then there going to automatically think its them. Its automatically there word against yours, and if they believe them then they accused can go to jail for a very long time. Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder: we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound (Causes of Wrongful Convictions, 2014). There was a real life case that was similar to eyewitness misidentification and was falsely accused and sent to prison. A man named Nathan Brown was Falsely identified in 1977 of rape and sent to prison for 25 years. The women identified Brown as her attacker, both at the scene and during the trial three months later. Brown denied the accusation, but his alibi, supported by a handful of witnesses, fell on deaf ear (Purpura, 2014). Brown had served 17 of the years he was convicted for and now is out at the age of 40. The reason as to why he is free today is because of the Innocence project in New York City helped prove his innocence. In December of last year the...
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