Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Wrongful Conviction

Introduction

Marquis, J. (2015). The myth of innocence. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 95(2), 501-521

In America, a majority of the population assumes the criminal justice is neutral and flawless. Furthermore, within this misconception, they believe that it is not possible for an innocent individual to be convicted for an offense they did not commit. Marquis, (2015) explains that this notion comes from the notion that, every individual living in the U.S (citizen or immigrant) has the constitutional right of a due process in a court of law by a jury of their peers. Additionally, the courts must prove beyond judicious doubt that a defendant is guilty of a particular wrongdoing. Nevertheless, he asserts the inaccuracy of having such a premise by quoting Judge Learned Hand who stated that, the American justice system is habituated by cases of the conviction of an honest man. Despite these early indications, there are current concerns over wrongful convictions in the 21st century, a factor that has caused additional study.

Wrongful Convictions in the 21st Century

Scheck, B., Neufeld, P., & Dwyer, J. (2013). Actual innocence: When justice goes wrong and how to make it right (p. 366). New York: New American Library

Despite Judge Learned’s views, research on wrongful convictions remained absent for almost a decade until professor Edward Borchard published his manuscript ‘Convicting the Innocent’ in 1933. Schmalleger and Smykla (2009) take a keen interest on Professor Edward Borchard manuscript explaining the 65 documented cases underlined the grave situation that faces the judicial system when addressing the causes of miscarriage. Current data from the National Registry of exonerations indicates that from 1989 to 2017 there were about 2,266 cases of wrongful convictions that were solved by the justice system (National Registry of exonerations, 2018).

Causes of Wrongful Conviction

Schmalleger, F. & Smykla, J. O. (2009). Corrections in the 21st Century (4th ed.)New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

According to Schmalleger and Smykla (2009), there are issues such as eyewitness miss-identification, false confessions, substandard lawyering, prosecution misconduct such as hiding evidence, in addition to improper forensics have been classified as the main causes of this judicial system deficiency. This manuscript explains how the American judicial system is susceptible to errors. Subsequently, this means that though not deliberate, the U.S justice system will harbor innocent individuals in correctional facilities and as such, comprehension gnaws at the foundation of the U.S as a nation of the free.

 

References

Marquis, J. (2015). The myth of innocence. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 95(2), 501-521.

National Registry of exonerations (2018). Exoneration data. Internet source retrieved from https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/Exonerations-in-the-United-States-Map.aspx

Scheck, B., Neufeld, P., & Dwyer, J. (2013). Actual innocence: When justice goes wrong and how to make it right (p. 366). New York: New American Library.

Schmalleger, F. & Smykla, J. O. (2009). Corrections in the 21st Century (4th ed.)New York, NY: McGraw Hill.