Miscarriages Of Justice: Why Innocent People Go To Jail

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The idea behind the justice system is that it’s designed for just that: justice. It’s meant to be impartial, honest, and, most importantly, fair. Despite this, however, there’s one thing that happens far too often. Innocent people are wrongfully convicted of crimes that they didn’t commit. Of course, these are certainly the minority of cases, but they are still far more likely than they should be. But what’s the cause of this? Surely the justice system can’t be so crooked and broken that judges and juries are comfortable taking away the lives of innocent men and women? Here are some of the reasons why innocent people are so often convicted and sent to prison.

Lack of a strong Defence

In a perfect world, you would be able to present the facts and have those speak for themselves. Sadly, the world we live in is filled with people who are much more heavily influenced by external things than they should be. Because of this, a bad defense can damn even an innocent person. A qualified, experienced, murder attorney is fully aware that the kinds of case that they work are delicate and require specific levels of tact. They might know without a shadow of a doubt that their client is innocent, but proving that often involves a lot more finesse than dryly presenting the facts to the jury.

Subconscious bias

It’s a truly tragic thing to have to admit, but everyone has their own subconscious biases that cause them to see things differently than they might be in reality. It’s these kinds of biases that lead to people of specific races or genders being convicted unfairly while other people of different races or genders avoid convictions that would have been well deserved. It’s a sign that, despite all of the social progression over the last century, we still have a long way to go.

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False confessions

You might assume that a confession would make a case pretty much open and shut, right? Sadly that’s not the case. In a frightening number of cases, many defendants offered confessions during interrogations due to mistreatment. Many of them simply reached a point where giving a false confession actually led to a less unpleasant outcome for them than simply maintaining their innocence.

False eyewitness accounts

Eyewitness accounts are by far the most common reason that many people are incorrectly convicted. Despite how important eyewitness testimony can often be during a trial, eyewitness accounts are regularly filled with mistakes, if not total fabrications. This is because witnesses are victim to the same subconscious biases that judges and juries have, as well as the fact that, if someone witnessed a crime of some sort, that incident can be so dramatic that it is difficult for them to comprehend and remember it in, particularly accurate detail. Far from functioning like a tape recorder, evidence shows that human memory degrades over time. The more often a memory is visited and recounted, the more likely it is to become distorted by things that are happening around the person remembering. Because of this, over time a witness testimony can actually become less and less accurate.