“I didn’t kill her. I thought all you had to do was tell the truth but I was wrong.” This was the statement that was made by Thomas Sophonow, right after a jury of his peers found him guilty of the second-degree murder of Barbara Stoppel in 1981. While many people who have been found guilty claim innocence, Sophonow was actually wrongfully convicted of the murder of Barbara Stoppel. Wrongful convictions like Sophonow have been the inspiration of the plots of many works of fiction including The Confession by John Grishan, Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile by Stephen King. For some these works of fiction are just that- fiction. Yet for the many innocent men and women who have been incarcerated for crimes they did not commit these works of fiction are their reality.
While some believe that wrongful convictions are part of the past the truth is that they are still part of our justice system today. In fact it is estimated that 6,000 people each year from the United States are wrongfully convicted. While in Great Britain it is estimated that there are 15 cases of wrongful conviction each year Since DNA testing has become more accepted, during appeals with cases that have a DNA sample of the perpetrator, the wrongfully convicted are able to prove that they did not commit the crime. Yet there are still some cases where there is no DNA evidence to prove the innocence of those wrongfully convicted. Therefore even when we have so many advanced technologies, without the proper evidence for these technologies we can still wrongfully convicted innocent people if we are not cautious.
Wrongful convictions can lead to many people being affected. People like Steven Truscott, Ronald Dalton, Wilbert Coffin, Guy Paul Morrin, Gary Staples, along with many others will always be tied with the terms “wrongfully convicted” “miscarriage of justice” and “wrongly imprisoned” forever in our justice system’s history. These men along with other who are wrongly convicted lose time with their family and living their lives or even sometimes they are executed and lose their lives. Their families are affected by having to pay for appeals, missing time with their love one and also the social stigma of the public believing there is a criminal in their family. The victim and/or their families sometimes do not get the justice they deserve. Also taxpayers are affected for paying millions for the compensations of the wrongfully convicted. In order to prevent public mistrust sometimes our justice system blames the wrongly convicted for their conviction.
Although some may believe that the wrongfully convicted are at fault for their incarceration, most of blame must be put onto our justice system due to unreliable evidence, improper court proceedings, and negligent police work.
One of the reasons that people are often convicted wrongly or not is because of evidence. The prosecution uses evidence to show the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty...