Convicting and Unconvicting the Innocent

Where there is injustice, justice departs. America’s state of justice today faced the problem of conviction and execution of innocent anything more than a theoretical problem. Convicting the innocent is not common in the US, and this is the result of systemic deficiencies endemic within the criminal justice system rather an accident. Convicting the innocent is the most clear and evident form of injustice. Undeniably, the legal systems greatest injustice to be responsible for was punishing an individual for what he does not committed.

More over, it is exceedingly injustice to be wrongful with convicting and later put an innocent person the capital punishment or a life sentence. Although there are some cases of wrongful conviction in the US, government crime statistics shows no count of a person being wrongfully convicted. It can be said that there is no efforts in recording and finding what went wrong that resulted in the conviction of an innocent person as proven by new evidences. Most of the information especially statistics of convicting the innocent cannot be found in the records of the criminal justice itself.

Still, there are some academic researchers who unofficially compiled these cases and can be found in some books. Actual Innocence was based on studies made from 64 cases wherein convicted persons had been proven innocent from 1992 to 1999 and 80 death row inmates from 1977 to 1999 through DNA testing. Most of the persons involved had suffered more than a decade in prison and some in death row while few had been jailed for a few days. Statistics show that there is no certainty that death sentences are imposed with reliability and from 1973 to 1979, it is estimated that around 2.

5 convicted persons was freed each year from death row and about 4. 6 from 1994 to 1999. From 1997 to 1999, 80 out of 6,000 persons with death sentence were released on the account of being innocent. That would be 1 of every 75 which is truly unacceptable. Statistics show that the number of convicted innocent is really bothering considering the fact that some of them had been in the death row. It is unimaginable how many of those who had been imprisoned and even put to death were innocent of the crime that they were said to commit.

If this continues, many innocent people will suffer the same faith and be convicted of the crime that they did not do. Findings and statistics regarding the matter proves that there is a very high risk that an innocent person be convicted and even put to death in the present criminal justice system. As stated by an ex-death row inmate, “Speaking as a person that is supposed to be dead, I believe that death penalty should be abolished . . . you can’t be sure” (Scheck, Neufeld & Dwyer, 2006). The author also states that wrongful convicting is brought about by defects in the criminal justice system that they themselves refuse to correct.

From the 64 cases that were studied, it was found there had been several factors that contribute to wrongful convicting of which the defects of the criminal justice as well as biases such racism that still shadows the justice system are some of the main factors. The defects can be seen in almost every part of the system from the law enforcers who force their suspect for information, to the prosecutors who are said to bury evidences and even on the part of the defense who are said to sleep on the job.

All of these factors add up resulting in wrongful arrest and eventually conviction may take place. However, even if the suspect was proven innocent, the police officers rarely expressed their sorry for their harsh actions. In some rape cases wherein it was proven by DNA test that the semen in the rape victim was not from the suspects, prosecutors plot theories to deny the result of the DNA test. Once wrongful conviction had been visible, prosecutors as well as police officers are st5ill convinced that it was not their fault that the wrongful conviction happened.

Thus, it is not surprising that there are several wrongful convictions in recent cases not only because of the defects on the justice system but more importantly because of the imperfection of the persons involved in the whole process. We all make mistakes, it may be intentional or not. The same thing goes for the justice system itself, the evidence gathering process, and even for the witnesses as well as the victim himself/herself in pointing out the suspect. Several changes have to be made in order to solve this problem.

As English writer Cyril Connolly wrote, “The test of a country’s justice is not the blunders which are sometimes made but the zeal with which they are put right” (Scheck, Neufeld & Dwyer, 2006). It can be said that America is doing poorly in this test and our criminal justice system breeds injustice. It is because of practices that had been established in the criminal justice system that many innocent were convicted. Many things really have to be done in order to be free from wrongful convicting. References Cornell Law School.

(2007). Federal rules of criminal procedure. Retrieved January 25, 2008 from http://www. law. cornell. edu/rules/frcrmp/ Long, A. (2007). Actual Innocence -case studies of DNA testing freeing the wrongfully convicted in the US. Retrieved January 25, 2008 from http://www. wsws. org/articles/2000/sep2000/inno-s14. shtml Scheck, B. , Neufeld, P. , & Dwyer, J. (10 December 2006). Convicting and unconvicting the innocent. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from http://www. law. uga. edu/academics/profiles/dwilkes_more/30convicting. html