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Sociology 3312A/B Final: Wrongfully Convicted Final Exam

Course Code
SOC 3312A/B
Kim Luton
Study Guide

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1. The right to be told promptly of the offense
2. To be tried within a reasonable time
3. Not to be compelled to testify at your own trial
4. To be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a fair and public hearing by
an independent and impartial tribunal
5. Not to be denied reasonable bail without cause
6. Not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual punishment
7. To be tried by a jury for serious charges
8. Not to be tried or punished twice for the same offense
9. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Legal Rights: section 7 - 14
A person is factually innocent if they did not commit the crime they were charged/convicted of.
Different from 'legal innocence' -technical term
o Race, Gender, Class, Age, Mental Illness/Disability
o Forensic Evidence
o Circumstantial Evidence
o Falsified Evidence
o Hidden/Withheld Evidence
o Prior Record
o Tunnel Vision
o Eyewitness Testimony
o Informants - Plea Deals for Testimony Against Defendant - Rewards for Information
o Pre-trial Publicity of Case
o Judge’s Opinion of Case/Bias
o Bias of Lawyer - Want to Win Case
o Bias of Police - Need a Conviction
o Jailhouse Informants
o Interrogation Tactics
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o Marginalization
o Wrong Time/Wrong Place
o Pressure on Police to Convict
o Ability to Afford Good Defense Lawyer
o No Pre-trial
o Poor Evidence Collection
o Convicting the Most Plausible Suspect - Should be Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
o Noble cause
o Dreyfus Case French captain charged with selling military secrets to Germans in Oct 1894. He was
wealthy, ambitious and unpopular in the War Office which prepared a secret document that degraded
him. He was convicted and sent to Devil’s Island (Guyana). A new head - Major Picquart suspected
there might be another traitor who was responsible Walsin Esterhazi alarmed at Picquart’s doubts
more forgeries were fabricated to ensure Dreyfus conviction. Emile Zola attempted to exonerate
Dreyfus suggesting his conviction was a crime against humanity, but was found guilty of libel and
forced to flee France. 1906 finally exonerated when document determined to be forgery that had
convicted Dreyfus. Miscarriage of Justice no single cause handwriting similarity, anti-Semitism
o Leo Frank Case- Jewish business man convicted in 1913 based on perjured testimony of real killer for
murder of 13yr. old Mary Phagan. Governor doubted his guilt and commuted his sentence but angry
crowd lynched him. Posthumous pardon in 1986 after Alonzo Mann - key witness admitted as a 14yr
old he had seen Jim Coley the janitor carrying the body. Kept quiet because life had been threatened.
Miscarriage racism, white fear, anger, rape allegations
o Scottsboro Boys -1927 Alabama 9 black males riding a freight and 2 white girls caught illegally
riding the train alleged they had been raped. Convicted by all-white jury and sentenced to death (except
youngest). Many years of appeals, retrials, re-convictions multiple violations of due process, perjury,
racism spent 104 years collectively in jail. Women created story to explain why in company of Blacks.
50 years later, sole surviving defendant granted unconditional pardon. Miscarriage racism, age of
defendants perjury, public fear, inadequate counsel
o Lindberg Baby Kidnapping Crime of the Century 1934-36 - 2 year search for baby led to arrest of
Bruno Hauptmann German immigrant with criminal record. Hauptmann friends with Isidor Fisch
German immigrant con artist who Hauptmann had entrusted money to. Fisch dies and Hauptmann
opened package Fisch had left with him marked bills from ransom paid for Charles Lindberg spent
money and led police to Hauptmann. Executed. Miscarriage circus like trial, likely suspect, pressure
to convict, judge aligning with prosecution.
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Everyone is subject to the ordinary law of the land regardless of social or institutional status
The law is applied equally to all and everyone is equal before the law. A binding force on all citizens
Nobody is above the law
Supremacy of law over arbitrary power
3 principles of rule of law by Albert Dicey:
o Supremacy of laws,
o Equality before law,
o Law of constitution
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) includes a specific reference to the rule of law
Tyranny of the Majority: Nation’s laws should benefit all citizens and bring no undue harm to any
portion minority or majority
Why is the Rule of Law essential in democracy?
No one is above the law
Democracy assumes equality and freedom
Section 15 of the constitution
Principle that everyone has a voice in democracy
Essential to establish equality
Social Contract Theory (Thomas Hobbes)
To have a working government you have to give something to get something
o Ex. give your freedom to have a fair and working society
Why is there an over representation of Aboriginals in the system?
Structural factors
Self-fulfilling prophecy
The problem of living in the fourth world
Lack of equality
Upper class offenders given lighter sentences- considered to suffer enough due to monetary damages.
The law is created by the upper class and serves in their interest at the expense of the lower class. As
a result, if you are poor you are more likely to be victimized.
The underprivileged are most often the victims of “human error
Unable to afford the best resources to aid their case and are often denied bail.
Lack of funds may result in plea-bargaining.
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