Wrongful Conviction and Innocent people getting sentenced to the death penalty.
The final paper will be in American Psychological Association (APA) format (go to www.apastyle.org to find out more).
For your term paper, please discuss wrongful convictions. More specifically, wrongful conviction(s) that have lead to an innocent person getting sentenced to the death penalty, whether ultimately executed or exonerated shortly before execution. Delve into the necessity of DNA evidence, the role of forensics and you are required to discuss the arguments for AND against the death penalty. You are more than welcome to take a strong side if you want, but you still must discuss the arguments for AND against the death penalty. The final paper must be 5-6 pages in length and have a minimum of six (6) references. Your text book can count as one of the six (6) references. The page limit and references is strictly enforced. The title page, abstract page and final reference pages, or any graph pages, do not count toward the 5-6 pages. Yes, you must have a title/cover page, abstract page and final reference page. Graph or chart pages are optional but not required. If you fail to meet the 5-6 page requirement, this will be an automatic 5 point deduction.
Your resources must be credible and/or empirical resources from journals, articles, books, etc. Wikipedia and other generic online articles that have not been reviewed in some scholarly manner will not suffice for this assignment. If you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to ask as you proceed.
Wrongful Conviction and Innocent People Sentenced to the Death Penalty
Wrongful Conviction and Innocent people Sentenced to the Death Penalty
In pursuit of justice and equality, police brutality protest has been ongoing as an innocent project. This year nine people have been exonerated and released; for instance, Darrell Henry was convicted in 2004, and Robert DuBois, who was convicted in 1983 who was sentenced to death but spent his years in prison. The list is endless for wrongly convicted people that govern death sentences for felonies not commit. Wrongful convictions and innocent death penalties have been an issue in the united states caused DNA complicating matters, such as partial profiles. People have served life imprisonment, and execution without valid proof (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). According to reports, for every ten people who are given death penalties before the law and reinstated, one person had been released.
On the other hand, wrongful executions have been caused by false witnesses’ testimonies and faulty forensic science in conducting DNA exams. Innocent people have been put to death while criminals are allowed to walk freely. The root cause of erroneous convictions is that there is no systematic approach to provide accuracy of wrongful convictions (Leo, 2017). Also, most wrongful convictions do not come to light, especially in cases that involve minority groups. The rate at which people are proven guilty after serving years is due to fear of executed. Death -sentenced are often resentenced to life imprisonment, where very few people remain under death sentences.
Over the years, wrongful conviction cases have drawn the public’s attention and the criminal justice system (Leo, 2017). False convictions cannot be detected or observed when they happen. Very few reports and data have been provided concerning wrongful convictions. The criminal justice system has worked on estimating erroneous convictions’ proportionality, but few data exist concerning exonerated individuals. Since the most exonerated person is not brought to light, getting the number and analyzing it has become a big issue. Wrongful convictions and DNA exoneration are critical topics that provide answers as to why people are wrongfully convicted (Norris, and Mullinix, 2020).
Wrongful conviction is the most impactful trajedy faced by the criminal justice system. Wrongful convictions can be very impactful to exonerees, family members, friends, witnesses, and original crime victims (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). The criminal justice system issue has been reported to have a long-lasting negative effect on criminal justice professionals, such as judges, ad lawyers. Also, witnesses and investigation police officers are affected, where most end up committing suicide and quitting their jobs. Wrongful convictions that have led to an innocent person getting sentenced to the death penalty happen for various reasons. false confessions, prosecutorial and police misconduct, racial bias, mistaken eyewitnesses, faulty forensic science, misinterpretation of forensic evidence, younger defendant, incompetent lawyers. And fabricated testimonies, criminal history, weak defense, and punitive cultures in various states.
A major contributing factor towards false conviction leads to death penalties if forensic science because mostly felony cases are examined and investigated through Forensic science practices to attain validity (Leo, 2017). The advancement in technology has led to the development of new police tactics in carrying out investigations. Police officers rely and depend so much on DNA results and other examinations, especially on rape and murder cases. Most of the people released after being identified innocent were convicted of murder and rape. The decisions made by forensic scientists have significant life impacts on a person, which can lead to the death of a person and other long-lasting effects on a person (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). The complex investigation, frequent changes in criminal justice policies, and complicated judge decisions, investigations, and changes in police practices affected the court’s final decision concerning a person (Perlin, 2015).
DNA technology has helped learn about erroneous convictions, although the same technology is related to wrongful convictions. According to scientific area committees (OSAC), there are various disciplines and sub-disciplines in forensic science, for instance, trace evidence, odontology, firearm and tool mark analysis, forensic toxicology, bloodstain pattern, and mitochondria DNA analysis. A forensic scientist can make significant mistakes in providing reports and testimonies concerning DNA results. In 2016, three hundred and forty-two people were exonerated through DNA analysis (Leo, 2017).
Most wrongful convictions that have led to death penalties are associated with blood secretor and typing status, trace evidence., and microscopic hair analysis. In most cases, suspects DNA results are swapped, leading the innocent person wrongful convicted (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). Multiple failures and irregularities in examination cause a wrongful conviction. In most cases, the most forensic test provides an indirect link; for instance, unmatching fingerprints to the gun, footwear, and footwear impression. DNA results about a crime have limits because the results can either be a game-changer or create a puzzle. DNA examination provides a DNA profile of a person providing unique patterns about a person.
DNA profiling has led to more successful conviction, although the profiles are not always accurate in identify a person’s identity. On the other hand, DNA can easily be damaged, for instance, exposure to extreme temperature. In distortion, the DNA can provide a few traits, such as hair color, leading to a wrongful conviction. On the other side, a full DNA profile can match someone else who is not a culprit, which is a complicated matter. Forensic scientists are considered the primary cause of DNA fault due to wrong preservation and mistakes in writing reports and labeling evidence (Perlin, 2015). The faulty that lies behind DNA tests is unjustifiable in court. It has been very challenging for juries to be convicted that a DNA profile can be similar to anyone else besides the suspected individual. DNA has led to a miscarriage of justice for most suspects leading to death sentences and long-term imprisonment.
Since 1979, only one hundred and sixty-six death sentences of eight thousand and five hundred have been acquitted. Death penalty prosecutions may have positive and negative impacts t on the victim and the criminal justice system (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). Mostly death penalty in felony cases has led to the conviction and death of innocent people. Mostly the victims of wrongful convictions are the minority, for instance, people of color, disadvantages, or philosophical issues. Police officers and courts rely on unreliable witnesses hence placing a death penalty on innocent people. The death penalty is not a case of whether a person deserves to die for the wrongful act, whether the criminal justice state deserves to kill a person. The death penalty is a biased and sentencing policy full of errors and uncertainty. Death penalties have not made people safer or reduced the rate of crime (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). The death penalty is a policy where decisions are based on race and individual status in the community. The death sentence policy favors the wealthy and influential people and affects the poor and disadvantaged. Ineffective lawyers and lack of a strong defense are the leading cause of wrongful convictions among the poor.
On the other hand, the quality of legal terms and the legal procedure causes wrongful conviction. Most forensic science investigation practices are sponsored by the defendants, where most affording DNA examination is a challenge. Capital cases consume time and money, where lawyers and judges face case workloads compared to the available resources, time, and experts’ assistance. According to the American bar of association, lawyers should meet a particular educational and work experience to handle capital cases, making it expensive to hire a lawyer. The death sentence policy’s arbitrariness has led to wrongful conviction, where the family has to invest entirely in following the case for amnesty (Garrett, and Kovarsky, 2018). On the other hand, mentally ill people are easily vulnerable to police harassment and conviction than a sound person and an intellectual person. Death penalties are costly, do not promote public safety, led to the distraction of jury elections and other criminal justice legal practices.
Apart from being a major cause of wrongful conviction that leads to death penalties, DNA testing has been used to exonerate individuals convicted of severe crimes. DNA has been identified as a more effective forensic investigation approach than fingerprints and other forms of investigation (Norris, and Mullinix, 2020). Due to the expensive nature of DNA on serious crimes, most wrongly convicted individuals did not use DNA before conviction. According to the national institutes of justice (NIJ), most victims of sexual assault and physical violence cases have been identified as innocent after the use of DNA. The NIJ provided funds for a research project that took place in Arizona and Virginia to determine the fault in wrongful convictions.
Post-conviction DNA testing has been used to test and detect wrongful death sentences and convictions. The primary cause of faulty DNA or lack of proper evidence before a conviction is the fact that most victims of sexual assault and felony crimes leave the available biological evidence behind. The post-conviction DNA testing is designed to investigate and document whether the profile provided before matches the convicts. The test provides the indeterminate results, exculpatory, exculpatory supporting exoneration, inculpatory through the right coding instruments (Norris, and Mullinix, 2020). The testing provides the relationship between the available physical evidence and the results provide. To measure the validity and innocence of the convicted person, the forensic scientists test the strength of convicted forensic tests, different types of tests conducted on the offender, ballistic analysis, comparison of fingerprints, and comparison of microscopic hair, many other tests.
Arguably, the use of DNA as an exoneration tool can lead to wrongful conviction and the death penalty to an innocent person. The inaccuracy, biases, and errors in DNA technology are still the same in exonerating individuals. Post-conviction DNA testing has been another cause of wrongful conviction, releasing the guilty and arresting innocent people. Most exoneration reviewed cases have been identified as bias because, mostly, the conviction may be due to jury decisions and other forms of misconduct (Norris, 2017). Death penalties have been an effective policy, especially on innocently convicted individuals who require time for post-conviction investigation. Abolishing death penalties would provide the right to freedom and a chance to live among the innocently convicted individuals.
Potentially, death penalties have been an effective method of punishment that has eliminated criminals from society (Norris, and Mullinix, 2020). Morally, death penalties suppress deviant behaviors in society, such as sexual assault and murder cases. According to innocent frame theory, exoneration reduces death penalties but does not focus on changing the entire criminal justice system, such as police practices. More research is required concerning the criminal justice system’s attitude, the framing theory, and the innocence movement on matters concerning wrongful convictions and death penalties (Norris, 2017).
Cassell, P. G. (2018). Overstating America’s Wrongful Conviction Rate: Reassessing the Conventional Wisdom about the Prevalence of Wrongful Convictions. Ariz. L. Rev., 60, 815.
Garrett, B. L., & Kovarsky, L. B. (2018). The death penalty. Foundation Press.
Leo, R. A. (2017). The criminology of wrongful conviction: A decade later. Journal of contemporary criminal justice, 33(1), 82-106.
Norris, R. J. (2017). Framing DNA: Social movement theory and the foundations of the innocence movement. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 33(1), 26-42.
Norris, R. J., & Mullinix, K. J. (2020). Framing innocence: an experimental test of the effects of wrongful convictions on public opinion. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 16(2), 311-334.
Perlin, M. L. (2015). Your Corrupt Ways Had Finally Made You Blind: Prosecutorial Misconduct and the Use of Ethnic Adjustments in Death Penalty Cases of Defendants with Intellectual Disabilities. Am. UL Rev., 65, 1437.