There has been many cases of people getting put in jail for crimes they did not commit. There has also been many cases where these innocent people lose years of their life in prison for it. Some of these people who were put in jail innocent fought through it and had hope and one day were proven innocent and set free. Ari Melber, a publisher for NBC News states that: ”In 2017 around 149 people spent and average of 15 years in prison” (Jailed).
This number is only going to get worse if our current legal system doesn’t do anything to fix it. One major problem with our current legal system is the abuse of victims false confessions. Many victims are starting to give false confessions for a crime they were charged with. A research study from Brandon Garrett, a professor of law at the University of Virginia school of law states that:”Astonishingly, more than 1 out of 4 people wrongfully convicted but later found innocent by DNA evidence made a false confession…” (False). The reasons why false confessions are a major problem is because false confessions can be threatened out of victims by police or detectives.
Also they are sometimes forced to say one so they won’t serve as long of a sentence if they were not to confess. Lastly because the victim can simply not speak English and that victims confession can be reworded. Because false confessions are forced out of victims, threatened out of victims and miscommunicated by people because of language barriers it is one major problem in why people are being wrongfully convicted. Many people who are trialed in America but don’t speak english often have a disadvantage in court. When they say there confession in their own language it can be misinterpreted by lawyers and police to make it say what they want to hear which leaves the victim at a disadvantage. False confessions are miscommunicated by detectives and police because the victim speaks a different language. An example of this happening is with the case of Angel Gonzalez. Angel Gonzalez is a Hispanic man who was convicted of kidnap and rape in 1995.
When Angel was arrested for this crime and taken in by police he knew little English. He struggled to talk to the police when he was being interrogated by them. After hours of interrogation Angel was asked to write a confession in Spanish that was later translated to English. In Angels original confession there was many flaws. A report from The National Registrations of Exonerations that was studying Angels’ case states that:”Although, Angels confession had many mistakes. His confession said both men grabbed the victim and both covered her mouth.
These details were never said by the victim.” ”Gonzalez had no knowledge of where the rape took place. He described a different location than the location said by the victim. To add on to that, the victim said she was raped in two locations. Gonzalez said she was raped in one spot.” (Angel). When the detectives and lawyers saw these inaccuracies in Angels confession they changed it to what they wanted to hear when they translated it to English to make Angel look guilty in front of the jury. Angels statement did not match details of the crime.
So officers prepared a statement written in English, which Angel signed. Angels case is an example of why false confessions are messed up by language barriers because Gonzalez could not speak English and wasn’t able to give his true confession to the jury and was sent to prison where he lost more than 20 years of his life. In some cases victims are being threatened by police and detectives to say a false confession. Police and detectives make the victim write a false confession and if the victim does not want to then the police and detectives tell him they would hurt him. One example of this happening is with the case of Anthony Wright. Anthony Wright was convicted of raping a 77- year old women on June 8, 1993. When Anthony Wright was in custody and interrogated by cops he gave them a confession within the first 14 minutes. The reason Anthony gave a confession so fast was because he was threatened by the police and the detective to make one.
A report by the Illinois Project that was studying Wrights’ case said that:”Wright. who was just 20 when he was taken in by police, always maintained his innocence and testified in both the original and the retrial that he only signed the alleged confession, which the police wrote out, after they threatened him with bodily harm.” (Anthony). Wright was going to receive bodily harm if he did not take the blame for this crime he did not commit. This shows a glimpse of how bad our current legal system is. Anthony Wrights confession is a good example of showing how victims are being threatened to write a false confession and how false confession is one major problem in our current legal system. The last reason why confession are a big problem in our current legal system is because people are also being pressured and forced to write a confession.
The first example I want to use is involving the case of Amanda Knox. Amanda Knox was convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher in Italy. When Amanda was being interrogated by police in the beginning, she was being pressured by police to admit to a crime she did not do.
They also pressured her to accuse another man of the crime when she knew that other person did not do it as well. Knox was pressured by police and detectives to accuse another person for the murder of Meredith Kercher. She was also pressured by police into lying and saying that she was in the cottage at the time of the death of Meredith Kercher.
Amanda even faced some consequences for not lying to the police and give a false confession. For not giving into the pressure by police Amanda Knox wasted four years of her life in prison. Later on Amanda was tricked into signing a document given by her interrogators stating that she did commit the crime. A case study on Amanda Knox by Steven Sehterie, a former student at USC found that:”Knox signed a document typed out by her interrogators. After a long aggressive interrogation from at least twelve members of the police force, being repeatedly slapped on the back of her head and called a stupid liar, Knox signed her name on the prepared document.”(False). Amanda Knox being pressured and hit by police to write a false confession is a good example of how victims are being pressured into admitting false confessions.
Some people may argue with my statement saying that false confessions are just a small reason on why our current legal system is wrong because in their opinion mis-identification of forensic science is a bigger problem. That may be true but if you look a statistics false confessions is actually more of a problem. For example: Dr. Dames a researcher on law and court found that: “In about 30% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants provided outright confessions.” Also he found that: ”Of the 24 exonerations in New York S, 13 have been based upon false confession. Two-thirds of murder convictions overturned by DNA evidence turned out to have been based on false confessions.
” (Facts). Looking at the facts and examples of the cases presented to you, you can see that because of false confessions being threatened, pressured and interfered by language barriers it is a major problem in our current legal system.