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Lecture 11

SOC209_Lecture 11_March 28, 2013.docx

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Philip Goodman

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… SOC209 Lecture 11: Prisons/Corrections March 21, 2013 - Take cases in which we are absolutely certain, if do that get low rates - Result of disagreements of how to define… - In Canada, less, all estimates come form U.S. data  Calls attention to a real problem  Sensational Cases  How might they be misleading? Some statistics Causes - Best data comes from cases of e
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