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Roberts and Grossman Chapter 22.docx

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University of Ottawa

CRM1300Readings Roberts and Grossman Chapter 22When Justice Fails Wrongful Convictions in CanadaCanadian CJS based on adversarial model theory being that the truth will eventually emerge through this systemThe Prevalence of Wrongful ConvictionsWrongful conviction occurs when an individual has been arrested on criminal charges and has either plead guilty to the charge or has been tried and found guilty and who notwithstanding plea or verdict is in fact innocentoMore recent estimates are from a few cases to up to 20 percent of all convictionsCauses of Wrongful Conviction Not one single mistake rather several systemic and individual factors alone or in concert oCould be eyewitness error erroneous forensic science false confessions the use of jailhouse informants professional and institutional misconduct and racial biasEyewitness ErrorDue to normal deficiencies in human memory eyewitness identification is inherently unreliableoMost important factor of evidence for convictions also leading factor for wrongful convictionsoDNA testing has helped overturn wrongful convictionsSuggestive police interviewing unconscious transference and malleability of confidence accounts for eyewitness errorsoSuggestive police interviewing occurs when police communicate information to eyewitnesses which influence their testimonyoUnconscious transference is witness confusion between a person seen in one situation and a person seen in anotheroMalleability of confidence refers to the pliable nature of a witnesss certainty of his or her testimony Most jurors unaware of the unreliability of eyewitness identification may place too much faith in its accuracy Erroneous Forensic ScienceInadvertent human error sloppiness exaggeration misinterpretation and bias work to contaminate evidence at the crime scene or the lab
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