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WEEK 8 Lec 5 Mon March 4.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 3490
Scott Brandon

WEEK Lec . Wrongful Convictions 1 Wrongful Convictions - OVL: sees the law as impartial o Untrue o Consensus model - Defining wrongful convictions - Ppl most likely to be targets o Lower class, mental illness, minorities, homeless, ppl on the fringe of society o Easy targets o Stems from adversarial nature of justice system 2 The Prevalence of Wrongful Convictions - Exact # unknown - Estimates 6-20% 3 Causes: Eyewitness Identification - Used 80% of the time o 86% errors - Done via: live line-ups, photo spreads, mug shots, composites - Columbia law school example o Had someone quickly come into class and see how many ppl could correctly identify – 20% could - Problem of sincerity 4 Why does the eyewitness error occur? - Police suggestion o Often ask which best looks like, instead of asking if the person is there ? - Pressure to give false evidence - Malleability of confidence 5 Causes: Community pressure for a conviction - High profile cases lead to pressure on police to catch the criminal - Media stories fuel public sentiment - Guy Paul Morin case o Neighbour to a girl who was abducted raped and murdered, quickly became prime suspect o Police tunnel vision, was seen as strange, thought guilty b/c he didn’t make eye contact during process 6 Causes: Forensic Evidence - Carries weight at trial - Many flaws exist in forensics - Dr. Charles Smith example o 30is of cases of life imprisonment due to his incompetence, pediatric pathology his background 1 WEEK Lec . 7 False Confessions - 25% of wrongfully convicted falsely confess to the crime - May be due to several factors o Pit ppl against e/o, bad cop/good cop, physical force o Public, juries, media o Intimidate, no food/water/sleep o Record (audio/video) carries weight - Most wrongfully convicted under 25 (react diff, don't know rights) - Recordings don't start until person beaten down - Confess to save embarrassment - “just sign this and you can go home” 8 Why do people falsely confess? - “forced”, do anything to end interrogation - Offer life instead of death penalty o Promise advantage (officers can’t actually offer that) - Confessions not supposed to be under duress or coercion (Ibrahim Rule) - Part of police subculture - Persuaded that they did do the crime (repeat to them over and over) o Sometimes end up believing they did - Fabricate details to please interrogators 9 Factors that lead to false confessions - Age: lack maturity, older know system better - Mental facilities: many US jurisdictions don't allow for mental health/disability - Drugs/alcohol (impairment) - Sleep deprivation 10 Methods of interrogation - Confined rooms - Tactics o Self interest (85%) – save fam from embarrassment (get better deal) o Evidence (85%) – actually lie about – takes time for DNA evidence (say already have) o Undermine denials (43%) o General qs – discuss events, become frined o Moral conscience (tell us youll feel better) 11 False confessions specific to types of cases & demographics - Murder 81% and rape 8% - Most males under 25 - Child victims - 10% have a mental illness
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