- Why do wrongful convictions occur and how prevalent are they?
According to Zalman, “Wrongful convictions occur when innocent defendants are found guilty in criminal trials, or when defendants feel compelled to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit in order to avoid the death penalty or extremely long prison sentences” (Zalman). There are several other ways that a wrongful conviction could occur, such as conviction reversal, or an erroneous conviction.
There are several other reasons why wrongful convictions could occur, the University of Michigan Law website states that eyewitness misidentification, junk science, false confessions, government misconduct, snitches and bad lawyering are all contributors to wrongful convictions. Junk science can be a contributor due to a lack of scientific validation. Government misconduct can also contribute. The University of Michigan attibutes this to poor ethics on government officials. They also state that there may be forensic analysts who engage in misconduct. These are levels of misconduct within the criminal justice system that we have previously discussed throughout the course. One case that represents this is the case of Annie Dookhan. She was indicted on 27 charges for her misconduct, including obstruction. She was a chemist who would claim to perform tests, when she didn’t. This resulted in over 200 defendants being released.
According to the National Registry of Exonerations, there are 1,625 individuals who served over nine years for crimes they didn’t commit. This is a staggering number when you think about how the American Criminal Justice system is supposed to be fair and just.
Zalman, M. (2009). Wrongful convictions. In J. M. Miller 21st Century criminology: A reference handbook (pp. 842-850). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412971997.
Causes of Wrongful Convictions Retrieved October 2016 from https://www.law.umich.edu/clinical/innocenceclinic…
Hernandez, Christian, 2013 March 04, Thousands of cases compromised due to faulty forensic analysis, Forensic Resources, Retrieved October 2016 from https://ncforensics.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/thousands-of-cases-compromised-due-to-faulty-forensic-analysis/
Gross, Samuel, 2015 July 24, The staggering number of wrongful convictions in America, The Washington Post, Retrieved October 2016 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-cost-o…
- Identify and discuss any one type of cybercrime
Digital piracy is a cybercrime that has affected the entertainment industry for years. Higgins defined audio and video piracy as the “illegal act of uploading or downloading digital sound or video without explicit permission from and compensation to the copyright holder” (p. 4).
The amount of file sharing has steadily increased over the years. File sharing is considered piracy since individuals are illegally downloading audio or video without consent or purchase. Siwek states the U.S. economy loses $12.5 B per year, and 71,060 jobs are lost. This is an astounding figure. The ramifications of this may have a butterfly effect. As we discussed earlier in the course, the prevalence of crime in lower income neighborhoods is much higher; could some of this crime been prevented if people were given the opportunity to work in some of these lost jobs?
Stephen E. Siwek, “The True Cost of Sound Recording Piracy to the U.S. Economy.” Institute for Policy Innovation Policy Report – #181. (2007) Retrieved October 2016 from http://www.ipi.org/IPI/IPIPublications.nsf/3939c7c…
Higgins, G. & Wolfe, S. (2009). Cybercrime. In J. M. Miller 21st Century criminology: A reference handbook (pp. 466-471). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412971997.n54
- Identify and discuss any one issue that you found interesting in Chapter 62: Terrorism.
The discussion presented about defining terrorism as a crime or deviance was particularly interesting. The challenge faced by criminologists due to the overarching political dimensions associated with terrorism. Terrorism is a form of violence. When you look at it from the individual level, criminologists may study the propensity of an individual to join a terrorist organization, or to commit terrorist acts. When studying terrorism at the macro level, terrorism can study the “fluctuations of terrorism as a function of other societal developments” (Deflem)
Terrorism is unique since it may constitute mass violence against a group. It is a type of social control that differs from traditional warfare. There are no clear opposing factions that are clashing. Some of the key things that I found interesting were how when the perpetrators of terrorism may aim their efforts towards an upward direction. Terrorists will attack victims without provocation from the victim, but to spread a message. The perpetrators may feel that their actions are just, and that they are the victims. This may create a paradox as to who is right in the situation.
Deflem, M. (2009). Terrorism. In J. M. Miller 21st Century criminology: A reference handbook (pp. 533-540). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412971997.n62