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Lecture 11

SOC209H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Donald Marshall, Jr., David Milgaard, Visible Minority


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC209H5
Professor
Philip Goodman
Lecture
11

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SOC209
Lecture 11: Prisons/Corrections March 21, 2013
Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice
Aren‟t very good statistics relating to this…
Case Studies
Donald Marshall
- Convicted in 1971 of murdering friend in Nova Scotia
- Only 17 at time
- Sentenced to life in prison
- Multiple causes of wrong conviction
o Bad policing
o Overzealous prosecutor
o Original theory wrong
o Bad representation by defense team
o Many people use case as evidence of a deeply racist system
(read case of important example of fact that Donald Marshall was
an Aboriginal seemed to impact him at every stage: treated less
fairly; two-tiered system),
even after he was clear, the presiding justice commented “Marshall
seems to have been partially copeable for this situation,”
not poster-child of a sympathetic figure, but amplified into belief that
he was guilty of killing his friend when there was no evidence
prejudice tainted the way he was treated
incompetent police and legal work kept him in jail
- 12 years in prison
- CBC Clip
Guy Paul Morin and David Milgaard
- Morin charged for murder
- Case where forensic evidence was misused
- What went wrong: people testifying on evidence made up or misconstrued, and
led to his acquittal and exoneration
- David: charged w/murder of nurse
- More than 2 decades
- Wasn‟t until 1999, 30 years after original crime, Larry Fisher was found guilty
- In some cases, the person who actually committed crime is not brought to justice
What Can we Learn From These Case Studies
- Don‟t hear about robberies, those free people when locked up wrongly, don‟t
focus on people who are locked up for robbery, focus on people doing long
sentences, one consequences very little info on more mondain crime
- Lead us to believe, that most sensational crimes, read that scholars talk about
cases where police under pressure to get a conviction, cut corners, commit fraud,
but that‟s a testable hypothesis, it could be rate of wrongful convictions could be
higher for robbery
Prevalence Rates
- How one chooses to measure the error rates…
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