There are many stories in the news today about wrongful convictions. Some people spend years and even decades in jail or prison for things they did not do. As technology adapts and becomes more sophisticated, juries scrutinize evidence at a more intense level and may reveal things that were previously unknown.
Eyewitness testimony is also a large part of many wrongful convictions, and researchers study the memory to determine how witnessing a crime can influence and change it. When it comes to a wrongful conviction, the National Institute of Justice sheds some light on the science used to advance justice.
Two classifications for wrongful convictions
Convictions are wrongful when they meet one of two standards.
- Procedural errors violated the person’s rights
- The person is factually innocent
Advances in DNA testing are often used to overturn a wrongful conviction. Many cases tried before DNA testing are re-examined to determine if someone made mistakes. This is post-conviction DNA testing and is a huge part of discovering wrongful convictions.
The importance of fairness in the judicial system
To function correctly, the justice system must clear the innocent and convict the guilty. To improve and maintain the integrity of the justice system, many study wrongful convictions to determine ways to improve the process and remove any bias or error.
A wrongful conviction can ruin someone’s life and completely change the trajectory of their future. Anyone accused of committing a crime deserves a fair and just trial and verdict. The sustainability of the justice system depends on it.