Factors that lead to wrongful convictions
Not everyone currently sitting behind bars is guilty of committing a crime. In fact, there are a number of prisoners in California and across the nation that are innocent and have not committed a crime at all. According to the Innocence Project, 364 people have been released from their prison sentences after DNA evidence proved they were not guilty. Why are innocent people being locked up while the guilty parties are able to continue their lives as a free people? Flaws in the United States judicial system lead to wrongful convictions and incarcerations. While some states and groups are lobbying to remedy these issues, people continue to get wrongful convictions.
The Innocence Project lists several factors that contribute to conviction injustice. Bad lawyering or inadequate defense is one major contributor. When people are unable to provide their own defense, an Criminal attorney may be appointed by the state to defend their case. In some situations, these attorneys do not care about protecting the innocence of their client, but rather use bad lawyering as a form of legal malpractice.
Jailhouse informants who give testimony may also be to blame. Jailhouse informants may be bribed or threatened to give false testimony that should not be allowed as evidence in a courtroom trial. Furthermore, eyewitness misidentification and government misconduct may be involved. False confessions obtained by coercion or deprivation techniques are often invalid, yet they are still allowed as evidence in court in some instances. Improper forensic science and its misapplication can lead to false results and an erroneous conviction.