Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Record of miscarriages of justice in the United States | The - Croix.com
An annual report , published Tuesday, February 4 , reveals a record of miscarriages of justice in the United States , with 1,300 sentenced to twenty-five years , which were eventually exonerated .
In 2013, the United States , 87 prisoners were eventually acquitted , marking real progress.
In addition, these figures show an awareness of the flaws in the judicial system.
Through further police and judicial investigations , the number of miscarriages of justice uncovered reached a record last year. Of the 1,300 prisoners exonerated in the past twenty-five years , 87 have been for the single year 2013.
It is the largest annual total since 2009 , according to a study by the National Registry of exemptions ( National Register of miscarriages ) . This report is the result of a joint project between the Michigan Law School Law School in Michigan, near Detroit , and the Center on Wrongful Convictions of law school at the University of North West in Chicago, to identify miscarriages of justice since 1989.
Paradoxically , the high number of miscarriages detected translated more inclined to reopen the cases positive evolution of the U.S. judicial system . "This is good news because we have more chances to take him round the body causes of miscarriages of justice ," said Samuel Gross, the principal author of the report. "But if we know are only a small proportion of errors , most of the time , are never discovered ," said law professor at the University of Michigan.
The responsibility of the police and prosecution
" Contrary to what one might think , DNA analyzes have played a role in a fifth of cases ," adds the report. These scientific analysis involved only 33% of cases in 2012 and 28 % in 2013. The role of the police and the prosecution is much more encouraging however. In 38 % of cases , prisoners were exonerated " on the initiative or as a result of the cooperation of law enforcement ," the study said.
This trend is confirmed by Professor Gross: "The police , prosecutors, judges, lawyers and the public are increasingly aware of the danger of convicting the innocent ," he notes .
This change in attitude is " relatively new " and " positive," explains Anne Cross Deysine specialist U.S. and Professor of American Studies at Paris West Nanterre . "At first, DNA played a big role. Now , the prosecution so bad qu'elleaccepte picture to participate in the research of factors that may exonerate the condemned , " she enthuses .
Plead guilty to avoid the death sentence
One of the flaws in the American justice system is " plead guilty " may alleviate the pains . "People who plead guilty are sometimes innocent ," says Professor Gross. "They plead guilty because they are afraid in case of trial, to be sentenced to death ," he said. Guilty plea avoids a lengthy and costly trial and negotiate penalties.
As a result , police and judges put pressure on litigants ' promising a reduced sentence "in exchange for a guilty plea , says Anne Deysine . "There are only 5 % of cases that ultimately are judged ," says the lawyer. "The bad behavior of the police or the prosecution often led formerly by the forced confession of an accused or bribery of a witness ( obtaining a false declaration) to make him confess " continues specialist.
Extreme cases, sentenced to death black Missouri , Reginald Griffin, was cleared in 2013 after twenty-five years in the death row . In this case , as in that half ( 56%) of prisoners exonerated in 2013, is a false witness who was at the origin of their arrest and conviction.
Errors eyewitnesses are , in turn , responsible for 38 % of the convictions . "The United States has an adversarial system . The prosecutor usually has more important than defense counsel , Anne Deysine analysis human and financial resources . An eyewitness will weigh heavy if there is no effective counterweight . In an adversarial process , equality of arms between the two essential partiesest , "she says.