Essay on Wrongfully Convictions

2703 Words Jul 27th, 2016 11 Pages
Wrongfully Convictions

Introduction: Each year, many people that are innocent are dished out short or long term prison term for crimes that they did not commit. These innocent people have been “wrongfully convicted”. Sometimes these wrongfully convicted charges are unbeknownst to the judge and or jury; other times, they are just wrongfully convicted due to corrupt law enforcement officers. This corrupt issue is very wrong and should be done away with immediately, which is my reason my choosing this topic. In this research paper, I plan to find reasons for wrongful convictions, the actual number, statistics, of individuals that have been wrongful convicted, and those individuals who have stepped up to make a difference in this dilemma.
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Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. While eyewitness testimony can be persuasive evidence before a judge or jury, 30 years of strong social science research has proven that eyewitness identification is often unreliable. Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound. Instead, witness memory is like any other evidence at a crime scene; it must be preserved carefully and retrieved methodically, or it can be contaminated.
In case after case, DNA has proven what scientists already know — that eyewitness identification is frequently inaccurate. In the wrongful convictions caused by eyewitness misidentification, the circumstances varied, but judges and juries all relied on testimony that could have been more accurate if reforms proven by science had been implemented. Many of the cases of the wrongfully accused were championed by the Innocence Project, a well-known group that works with many inmates to try to clear their names based on DNA evidence. The group has documented 289 post-conviction DNA exonerations. The earliest came in 1989, when DNA testing was being heavily used to re-examine cases for the first time.
The Innocence Project has worked on cases in which: A witness made identification in a “show-up”

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