Monday, March 11, 2013

NIJ - Understanding What Happens in an Erroneous Conviction

From the National Institute of Justice - 

Why are innocent people wrongfully convicted in certain cases yet acquitted in others? Research is starting to uncover what happens. A new study, "Predicting Erroneous Convictions: A Social Science Approach to Miscarriages of Justice" compared cases where innocent defendants were wrongfully convicted to "near misses" – cases in which an innocent defendant was acquitted or had charges dismissed before trial. They found 10 significant facts that could lead to a wrongful conviction:
  • A younger defendant
  • A defendant with a criminal history
  • A weak prosecution case
  • Prosecution withheld evidence
  • Lying by a non-eyewitness
  • Unintentional witness misidentification
  • Misinterpreting forensic evidence at trial
  • A weak defense
  • Defendant offered a family witness
  • A "punitive" state culture
Visit the wrongful convictions webpage and study summary
Read the full study (434 pages)
Watch a video interview with lead researcher Dr. Jon Gould