The Conviction Of Crime: The Case Of Geronimo Pratt

Superior Essays
The term crime cannot be defined easily because it does not have one definition nor two; crime is a concept. Moreover, crime is based on a general notion of ideals formed by society, according to time and place (Friedman, 1993, 6). Society does not imply all individuals, the rich and powerful create the laws that compose certain acts as a crime and are then enforced by law enforcement (Friedman, 1993, 10). Thus, giving law enforcement control and power over all individuals. Their job is to protect and serve within their community. This job is not properly executed if over three-hundred individuals were falsely convicted. Three-hundred-forty-one cases, time served ranging approximately from one to forty years, have been exonerated by application …show more content…
A problem lies within our society that allowed innocent individuals to be locked behind bars for years for crimes they did not commit. For example, Geronimo Pratt was falsely convicted of murder and abused in prison for twenty-seven years before he was released (Olsen, 2000). Furthermore, Geronimo’s case exhibited many errors that correlate with the arraignment of the individuals from the exonerated cases. Involvement of suggestibility plays a huge role in eyewitness identification during the photo lineup as well as questioning; the difference between conviction and release of an individual. Pratt’s case is a perfect example of how the criminal justice failed an innocent man by allowing parties within to corrupt the system. Seventy-five percent of the three-hundred-forty-one exonerated cases involved an eyewitness identification (Goldstein, 2015, 231). The courts focus on eyewitness statements as their main source of information and use it solely to put innocent people in jail or prison. Individuals are not perfect and neither is their memory. Psychological studies conducted prove that …show more content…
Stuart Hanlon, Pratt’s attorney, stated that it was a “photo lineup of one” (Olsen, 2000, 87). There was only one individual that best fit the description of what the perpetrator looked like; Officers wanted the eyewitness to choose Pratt. Both eyewitnesses did not believe Pratt was the perpetrator, but the officers did not allow them to think any other individual could be the perpetrator. Their statements continuously changed once they saw Pratt in person, they fit the identification that was being suggested. The suggestibility of the officers negatively implicated Pratt as the criminal and made the eyewitnesses believe that he was the one they saw, when in the beginning they knew it was not him. The justice system needs to be filled with individuals that are focused on finding justice, not on their own impulse or motivation. Consequently, a plethora of innocent lives have been placed behind bars due to these types of situations. In court, prosecutors asked the eyewitnesses about the scars on Pratt’s face, the type of jacket he was wearing, and his facial hair. These identifications were a large part of the case, eventually leading to his indictment. As a result of the previously stated post identification feedback effect, the eyewitness’ established a confidence in their position and looked toward Pratt to properly answer the questions the prosecutor were asking. For

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