Innocence Project Research Paper

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Intro to Criminology 5/21/13 Innocence Project What is the Innocence Project? The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. The Innocence Project was founded at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in 1992, and became an independent nonprofit organization (still closely affiliated with Cardozo) in 2004. Since the organization’s founding, 292 people have been exonerated through DNA testing in the United States, including 17 who were at one time sentenced to death. In most of these DNA exonerations, the Innocence Project either was the attorney…show more content…
While it can be hard to understand why someone would falsely confess to a crime, psychological research has provided some answers and DNA exonerations have proven that the problem is more widespread than many people think. In approximately 25% of the wrongful convictions overturned with DNA evidence, defendants made false confessions, admissions or statements to law enforcement officials. In some false confession cases, details of the crime are inadvertently communicated to a suspect by police during questioning. Later, when a suspect knows these details, the police take the knowledge as evidence of guilt. Often, threats or promises are made to the suspect off camera and then the camera is turned on for a false confession. Without an objective record of the custodial interrogation, it is difficult to gauge the reliability of the confession. For law enforcement agencies, recording interrogations can prevent disputes about how a suspect was treated, create a clear record of a suspect’s statements and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system. Recording interrogations can also deter officers from using illegal tactics to secure a…show more content…
False testimony, exaggerated statistics and laboratory fraud have led to wrongful conviction in several states. Since forensic evidence is offered by "experts," jurors routinely give it much more weight than other evidence. But when misconduct occurs, the weight is misplaced. In some instances, labs or their personnel have allied themselves with police and prosecutors, rather than prioritizing the search for truth. Other times, criminalists lacking the requisite knowledge have embellished findings and eluded detection because judges and juries lacked background in the relevant sciences, themselves. In some cases, critical evidence has been consumed or destroyed, so that re-testing to uncover misconduct has proven impossible. Evidence in these cases can never be tested again, preventing the truth from being

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