How To Stop The Court System From Imprisoning Innocent Persons Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Criminal Justice Type: Essay Paper: #32702967 Related Topics: Dna Exonerations, Wrongful Conviction, Eyewitness Testimony, Police Misconduct
Excerpt from Essay :

Innocent individuals are wrongly convicted for the following 8 reasons. First, eyewitness testimony can be inaccurate: this happens when an individual is convinced that he or she saw the defendant partake in criminal activity -- yet they are mistaken in their identification for whatever reason (they may be exaggerating their role as a "witness" for vainglorious reasons, for instance).

Second, testimony can be perjured: this means that a witness simply lies on the stand in order to cause harm to the defendant. Third, the availability or unavailability of DNA testing can cause innocent persons to be convicted because of "crucial" evidence that is used or misused which would otherwise exonerate them. Fourth, DNA testing is inaccurate: this happens when, in the case that DNA evidence is used, it is actually inconclusive or corrupted in the process of obtainment, so that it can actually have the opposite intended effect -- rather than scientifically "prove" the identity of an individual involved, it can be made to look like someone else (the defendant is involved); this is similar to perjury: the "evidence" is made up.

Fifth, prosecutors can misconduct themselves: this means that they take opprobrious steps to gain a conviction out of sheer self-love (their careers will benefit from high conviction rates). Sixth, the defense counsel is ineffective: this means that the attorney hired to represent the defendant does not provide a suitable or adequate defense against the prosecution. Seventh, there are too little funds for adequate defense counsel: this can result in poor defense counsel because better attorneys cannot be afforded. Finally, eighth, police can misconduct themselves by eliciting false confessions or by adulterating the pretrial criminal...

...

Provide one (1) example of each of the reasons why innocent individuals are wrongly convicted.

James Lee Woodward was convicted of rape and murder because of inaccurate eyewitness testimony: one witness later recanted and "the other was called into question" leading to Woodward's exoneration (Krieger, 2011, p. 343).

Kin-Jin Wong was convicted of murder based on the perjured testimony of a corrections officer and an inmate. The inmate had never seen Wong before but prior to the trial was approached by the officer who suggested to him that the attacker was "Oriental," and the inmate saw an opportunity to "better" his own situation by helping the officer spin a yarn. The inmate later recanted (Krieger, 2011, p. 344).

Bruce Godschalk was convicted of rape in 1986, but DNA evidence later helped to exonerate him as the results of the DNA test proved that Godschalk was not the rapist (Krieger, 2011).

Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted of deliberately setting a fire that killed his children in their home but the scientific evidence used to gain the conviction was not convincing to experts whose later testimony indicated that the fire marshal who testified was incompetent when it came to determining whether arson or accident was the cause of a fire (Krieger, 2011).

In the case of Dretke v. Haley, Haley was sentenced to 15 years for a…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Hedges, C. (2015). America's Slave Empire. Truthdig. Retrieved from http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/americas_slave_empire_20150621

Krieger, S.A. (2011). Why our justice system convicts innocent people, and the challenges faced by innocence projects trying to exonerate them. New Criminal Law Review, 14(3), 333-402.

Swan, B. (2015). Prison State America. RT. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Qpa40m3DA


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