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Just how big a problem is Wrongful Convictions? Do they happen often?Some experts believe 2% - 4% of those in prison are wrongfully convicted, but other experts believe the number can run as high as 10%. But the degree of the problem is not just measured in percentages but in understanding the depth of often life-long suffering, to the wrongfully convicted person, her/his family, friends and community.
What do they mean when they say wrongful convictions is a "systemic problem"?Whereas there often identifiable wrongs or mistakes made in any given case, we say that wrongful convictions are systemic because the cumulative effect of hundreds of attitudes, some overt and many hidden, even unknown to the people who make up the process, which nevertheless create a system which fights against fair, honest, unbiased justice. One easy to be seen example is the role that money plays in the well-to-do receiving top notch defense lawyers and the poor receiving overworked, underpaid court appointed counsel. The value of identifying systemic problems is that laws, training and awareness can be created to lessen their effect. It is a slow process because the problem is made up of so many hidden parts.
What are the causes of wrongful convictions?Our site offers short video which give excellent explanations of various causes. To see them, click here. Some of the causes are: Mistaken eyewitness testimony. Junk science presented as "expert witness" testimony. Jailhouse snitches. False confessions. Prosecutorial misconduct. Ineffectual defense lawyers.
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