Examples Of Wrongful Convictions

Words: 1143
Pages: 5

Jake Thomas
PHIL 460
Wrongful Convictions For many years our justice system has over-looked the fact that sometimes they produce erroneous convictions. The system believes they are more likely to release guilty individuals than to convict innocent ones because defendants are recognized as innocent until proven guilty. However, as much as we’d like to believe this, recent studies have lead researchers to a different conclusion. The conclusion they’ve come to is that there are far more innocent people behind bars than ever imagined. The reason that this is so, can be attributed to several different factors. These factors are witness error, police or prosecutorial misconduct, false confessions, use of informants, ineffective defense counsel, forensic errors, and plea bargaining. (Free and Ruesink, 2012) Witness error is one of the more commonly found factors that contribute to wrongful convictions. Although most witness error is not deliberate, misidentification is more
…show more content…
The earliest innocence project was founded in 1992 by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld at Yeshiva University’s School of Law. According to the innocence projects various research over the years, (as cited by Free and Ruesink, 2012) witness error accounts for 78.6% of wrongful convictions, police or prosecutorial misconduct represents 42%, 59.5% was attributed to false confessions, 15% was due to the use of informants, and 27% was associated with ineffective defense counsel. Even though most of the data gathered is inconclusive, it still gives interested parties a glimpse into the problems of the justice system. The work done by the Innocence Project has significantly increased the understanding of the problems that lead to wrongful convictions and what needs to be done to assist in the exoneration of wrongfully convicted defendants. (Free and Ruesink,