CRM/LAW C114 Lecture 2: Lecture #2

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Lecture #2
miscarriage of justice
o returning an unfair verdict based on evidence presented as a legal justice
failure
wrongful conviction
o wrongful conviction of factually innocent individual
legal innocence
o absence of one or more procedural or legal bases to support the sentence
given to a defendant
exoneration
o when a person convicted of a crime is cleared based on new evidence
how to estimate wrongful convictions
o count exonerations; divide by convictions Scalia
misses undetected wrongful convictions
o ask people Huff, Rattner, Segarin
imprecise
hard for people to judge small #s
o count exoneration for small subset of cases
e.g. capital cases
o just count exonerations
counting exonerations: three approaches
o the factually conservative approach
only rely on indisputable cases of “actual innocence”
4 criteria
crime never occurred
physical impossibility
scientific exoneration
true perpetrator is identified and there is no reasonable
dispute about his guilt
advantages
designed to be independent of 3rd parties opinions about
guilt and innocence
minimize possibility of misclassifying guilty individuals as
innocent
disadvantages
almost certainly undercounts the true number of
miscarriages of justice because of difficulty of proving the
negative
o the politically conservative approach
only count miscarriages of justice that have been officially
recognized by state officials
for example
prosecutors acknowledged innocence
judges vacated conviction or declared innocent
advantages
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