The Innocence Commission Essay

1832 words - 7 pages

The controversy exists on the causes of wrongful convictions across the country in recent years. In this paper our group will discuss the causes of wrongful conviction also known as a miscarriage of justice. This essay will also discuss ways in which the court system can help to reduce or eliminate these causes.DNAAs the pace of DNA exonerations has grown, wrongful convictions have revealed disturbing fissures and trends in our criminal justice system. Some of these cases together show us how the criminal justice system is broken and how urgently it needs to be amended. America as a society should learn from the system's failure and drawbacks. In each case where DNA has proven innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, an overlapping array of causes has emerged from mistakes to misconduct to factors of race and class.In recent years the cases are countless of those exonerated by DNA testing are not only people who have been wrongfully convicted. For those defendants every case that involves DNA, there are thousands that do not. In those cases a fraction of criminal cases involve biological evidence that can be subjected to DNA testing, and even when such evidence exists. It is only then when the evidence is lost or destroyed after the conviction. During our search it was determined that some of the smaller jurisdictions do not have access to a definitive test like DNA and many wrongful convicted people have little or no chance of ever proving their innocence.Second, through our group efforts during our search of wrongful convictions it was determined that eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide (The Innocence Project, 2008). These wrongful convictions played a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned by DNA testing (The Innocence Project, 2008). We agree that eyewitness testimony can be persuasive evidence before a judge or jury; 30 years of strong social science research had proven that eyewitness identification is often unreliable. The research which was conducted by innocence project revealed that the human mind is not like a tape recorder or video camera; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall the like a tape that has been rewound. Nevertheless, witness memory is like any other evidence at a crime scene, it must be preserved carefully and retrieved methodically, or it can be contaminated. We as people can carry fibers, through our shoes and skin that will cause the contamination of a crime scene just by walking through the crime scene. Furthermore, in these types of cases, DNA has proven what scientists already know, that eyewitness identification is frequently inaccurate.The wrongful convictions caused by eyewitness misidentification, and the circumstances varied, but judges and juries and police officers at a scene all relied on testimony that could have been more accurate if reforms proven by science had been implemented. In many police departments across the nation...

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