Your Garage Best Books of the Month Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer roadies roadies roadies  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis UniOrlando Segway miniPro STEM
Customer Review

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "An innocent can become a convict in the US criminal justice system, August 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong (Hardcover)
In this book, Professor Garrett has studied trial transcripts of 250 wrongfully convicted people to unfold "what has gone wrong" with the current criminal justice system in the US.

According to him, there are serious systemic failures in criminal prosecutions that cause wrongful conviction. It is also difficult for convicts to claim their innocence under the lengthy appeals and habeas proceedings:-

1. Innocent people can be involuntarily succumbed to undue police pressure and deceptive interrogation techniques (Reid technique, "Mutt and Jeff", "False Evidence" "Good Cop, Bad Cop" techniques) (P.22) to make "coerced-complaint" confessions to crime they did not commit during interrogations (P.18). Besides, police can feed details of crimes to innocent people in which confession statements are constructed as if innocent people volunteered a litany of details about the crimes like true culprits could have known. Although the US Constitution regulates confession statements via two key principles: the "Miranda" warnings (protections to shield suspects from coercion) and the requirement of voluntariness (P.36), judges always believes that confessions that corroborated by detailed facts are apparently reliable and voluntary.

2. Even though innocent people are reluctant to make confessions to crime they did not commit during interrogations, they can become convicts due to other corrupted evidence, including eyewitness misidentifications, flawed forensics, and trial by liar. The police can misdirect witnesses to pick out of innocent people during "suggestive" or "prompting" identification procedures (live lineup, mug shots, witness book, composite image (P.52). Eyewitness memory can be fallible and those multiple procedures have reinforced false identifications. Judges rarely suppress eyewitness identifications and the five-factor "Mason test" and other eyewitness reliability tests are deeply flawed (false confidence, discrepancies in descriptions, opportunity to view, degree of attention, the passage of time, cross-racial identifications, child witnesses).

The practice of forensic science (serology, microscopic hair comparison, bite mark comparison, shoe print comparison, voice comparison) (P.94, P.95, P.102, P.105) is pervasively flawed and unreliable to solve any crime, according to Professor Garret. The presentation of forensic evidence can be entirely one-sided because forensic analysts testify for the prosecutors (DNA testing, Fingerprint comparison) (P.100, P.107). There are also malpractices in crime laboratories which lead to testing procedures in an invalid way. Moreover, prosecutors usually use jailhouse informants (P.123), (P.139), and codefendants (P.141) in order to plug all of the holes in criminal cases (jack-of-all-trades). Those informants can lie in the face of "stick-and-carrot" techniques used by prosecutors (P.130).

3. During trial, Innocent people from lower class always fail to afford talented attorneys and expert witnesses to assert their innocence. (P.149, P.163, P.165). They cannot present a strong defense and make access to substantial investigative resources in contrast to prosecutors. There are cases that prosecutors and polices have concealed evidence that can help the defense case.

Between Chapter 7 and 8, Professor Garret has criticized appeals and habeas proceedings to be lengthy and unfair. A wrongfully convicted person served 14 years in prison between his trial and his exoneration (P.180). Some of the innocents have spent a long time (3 years for Frank Lee Smith who finally died of cancer before DNA testing completion) to apply for a DNA testing protest their innocence (P.214). Moreover, the appellate and post-conviction procedures do not effectively look at factual instead of legal errors and judges are unwilling to second-guess the verdict of the jury.

According to Professor Garret, the current criminal justice system is becoming a "titled played field" (P.176) to wrongfully convicted people. The psychological and physical impact of a false conviction is huge. Innocents are in jail before exoneration and true culprits can continue to be free to commit to other crimes.

Nonetheless, the evolving DNA technology has exonerated the innocents and set them free, Professor Garret has maintained that the current criminal justice system should be practically reformed, ranging from criminal procedures (P.244), interrogation (P.247), eyewitness identification (P.249), forensic science (P.252), Jailhouse informant (P.256), death penalty (P.257), prosecution (P.259), defense (P.260), federal reforms (P.261). The appendix chapter contains different findings of this study with charts and graphics. Readers can also gain access to [...] if they are interested in procuring detailed summaries of all the cases of those innocent people under study.

Professor Garret has successfully guided readers to understand the root causes of the problem in the US criminal justice system and what could prevent wrongful convictions via different reforms in the system. Lessons learnt from this book can be very insightful and relevant to members of criminal justice system in other developed and developing countries who have aspired to prevent wrongful convictions in the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail
Tracked by 2 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 19, 2012 8:28:16 PM PDT
Bobby says:
Let's add some other reasons.

1. Why are you appealing. In European countries, the appeal serves the sensible purpose of an added reevaluation of acused guilt. Not so in the U.S. The primary reasons for appeal are evidence showing the defendant's guilt was wrongfully obtained, the confession which demonstrates the defendant's guilt was improperly obtained, etc. Why are you bothering us with something so unimportant as guilt or innocence when lofty concerns about constitutional rights are at stake.

2. Police are frustrated. The maze of 4th Amendment jurisprudence allows many guilty to go free and sometimes innocent to be convicted.

3. Restrctions on Post-trial motions. Same problem as appeals. We spend so much time 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment claims that have nothing to do with guilt or innocence, that we don't have the time to do what's really needed, scrutinize the records, evidence There should be less restrictions on post-trial motions which pertain to possible innocence. If we want to save time, let's limit the 4th appeal and the 3rd search search.

4. Cry Wolf After O.J. walked free, he not only laughed but decided to taunt the prosecutors by writing a book how I did it. The judge and jury fell victims to evidence attacks we now know were baseless. It's hard, those demonstrably guilty will claim false confession, lying witness, and held evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2013 6:23:10 PM PDT
Police and DAs withhold evidence and lied in court on a daily basis, so what is your point?
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Shanghai, China

Top Reviewer Ranking: 149,973