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Predicting Erroneous Convictions: A Social Science Approach to Miscarriages of Justice

Predicting Erroneous Convictions: A Social Science Approach to Miscarriages of Justice

  1. Mindless
    This is a federally funded grant-report made available online (but not published by) the US Department of Justice this year. Gould et al. discuss ten significant factors in wrongful convictions:

    • A younger defendant
    • A defendant with a criminal history
    • A weak prosecution case
    • Prosecution withheld evidence
    • Lying by a non-eyewitness
    • Unintentional witness misidentification
    • Misinterpreting forensic evidence at trial
    • A weak defense
    • Defendant offered a family witness
    • A “punitive” state culture
      The report seems highly applicable to drug law enforcement, there are strong indications of systematic malpractice. Many of the 10 factors listed would be adverse effects on the right to fair trial. There is certainly evidence of a punitive state culture regarding drug policy, law and enforcement.