- Police have limited resources to investigate/ failure to investigate
- Target who is at higher risk of offending (to prevent it before it happens)
- People who are wrongfully convicted are pinned early on as ‘likely suspects’
• Results in: Evidence is created. It is false and misleading
- Many checks and balances. When wrongful conviction, a lot of mistakes have to happen
at a lot of stages of the process.
- Usually when people talk about wrongful conviction not about something that has been
done and should not be criminal (saw that in earlier lectures. How to criminalize).
- Sexual assault cases
• Police may not take the person seriously, and therefore they may not investigate the
Harver v. Lavalley
- Review of a number of women convicted with homicide in the killing of their abusive
husband. If case that might fit in into the new definition of self defense.
Trial and evidence
- Alot of what goes on in trials are governed by rules. Ex: what evidence you can submit)
• All evidence must be relevant
- There are restrictions on the kind of evidence you can introduce that has a bearing strictly
on the accused person’s character, or the character of a witness
- Often time, bad character evidence does come into the decision making process long
before the trial takes place
High profile cases
- Wrongful conviction = someone who is factually innocent and nonetheless convicted.
- Usually, some problems with the evidences. Number of reasons why these cases occur.A
lot of problems in criminal justice system. Basically, it’s important to distinguish between
high cases (really serious cases) and the smaller ones. • High profile cases= there’s more tension. Often it involves murder
- In a lot of these high profile cases, it is necessary to reconstruct past events
- Most of these cases are murder cases
- In these murder cases, the people know each other. Identity of the person who committed
the crime is not so much a factor. Person not there to identify who the killer is.
- Actually not very good at reconstructing past events to find out what happened.
- When we examine what happens in wrongful conviction cases: Royal Commission of
- Things that take place largely behind closed doors. By the time the case gets to trial, the
way in which the discretionary practices of police officers and Crown attorneys have
worked on evidence is already sort of shaped.
• Evidence that has been tainted.
Two kinds of situations
- False guilty plea
• Denied bail
• Offered a deal to a lesser charge to avoid conviction on a more serious one. (woman
and her child)
• People who are factually guilty get away with conviction on a lesser charge. Offered a
better deal: the one who approaches the police first (when two people are being
• Sometimes defense lawyer have a role in this. LegalAid plan: reward lawyers who
conduct a lot of pleas rather than trials.
- Law profile, minor cases that go through the system.
• Not target of much public attention.
• High profile cases tend to be the result of over anxiety/scrutiny of a suspect.
• Here, over-worked criminal justice system focus on clearing cases, getting them
through the process. Rush to judgment.
• Minor offences don’t raise many concerns. Person will not get any jail time. But for
the person charged upsetting.
• Charge screening process: Crown office screens them and sees if enough evidence to
proceed. In low-level, no time to investigate every file in a very thorough way cases
passed along. Trial is a short affair and person will plead guilty before trial. Because
not very serious, process of waiting for trial quite traumatic. Quite a severe financial
burden ‘lawyers, take time off work to deal with court appearances…)
• Not investigated carefully lead to people being wrongfully convicted. Tend not to be
ever discovered. In lower level cases, people may not even get jail time. Might consider whether want to go for an appeal because very expensive and time-
- When system where criminalizing people seen as centr al way to solve social problems, there
are a lot of cases and not enough time to examine them carefully. Even if there are checks and
balances, often these kind of internal mechanisms break down.Alot has to do with large
amount of cases.
Higher profile cases
- Not slackness, but overzealousness
- Intentional false identification is not generally the case.
- Usually takes place because of people believe that they know who committed this crime
and in their zeal to put this person behind bars, they corrupt the process. Noble cause
- Fail to consider possibility that may have the wrong person.
- Also, institutional pressures. For police and Crowns, status + professional success on
ability to produce convictions.
- Not a lot of public applause for being the person who looks at a case and say it should not
be proceeded. Real reluctance to recognize problems in the Criminal Justice System.
- Increasing willingness to acknowledge that wrongful convictions are not a rare
phenomenon but a real danger that needs to be avoided (so many cases risen).
Jane Doe v. Metropolitan Police case
- Police had a duty to warn women, and they did not
- The attacker Paul Callow, wa