Wrongful convictions are where innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit. The causes of these convictions are complex and varied.
There are too many wrongful convictions! See this 2013 news report More than 2,000 wrongfully convicted people exonerated in 23 years, researchers say. These are cases where wrongly convicted people were exonerated, there must be many cases where this never happened.
See for example this 10 minute “TED” talk by former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro and his wife and Nancy:
Causes of Wrongful Convictions
One problem is a lack of accountability for prosecutors.
See The Untouchables: America’s Misbehaving Prosecutors, And The System That Protects Them by Radley Balko, August 2013.
Another cause is defence lawyers who fail to effectively present a case to the jury, see Bad Lawyering by Don Rehkopf, July 2014.
A summary : Causes of Wrongful Convictions at University of Michigan.
Another problem is corruption and defense lawyers with a conflict of interest America’s Corrupt Legal System www.globalresearch.ca, August 2005.
There are also specific causes, for example Eyewitnesses Are Often Wrong at http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/, false confessions are common and “cargo cult” science from biassed State witnesses, see David Camm , forensic fraud and NACDL: FBI overstated strength of hair evidence.
Identifying the Culprit “explains the science that has emerged during the past 30 years on eyewitness identifications and identifies best practices in eyewitness procedures for the law enforcement community and in the presentation of eyewitness evidence in the courtroom.”
- More reading:
How Many People Are Wrongly Convicted? Researchers Do the Math. Virginia Hughes, National Geographic, April 2014
- British injustice David Ferguson HMP Whitemoor, from insidetime, issue October 2007
- Recently Added Cases at US National Registry of Exonerations
- Recommended Sites
- Glossary at US National Registry of Exonerations ( Systematically looks at causes )
- Controversies in Innocence Cases in America