Wrongful conviction is a major problem even in the most democratically advanced nations. Hundreds of innocent people have been imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Similarly, guilty persons have been set free because of cases of incompetence and inefficiencies in the criminal justice system. Several studies have linked wrongful conviction to eyewitness error (Jiahong, 2015). The literature review demonstrated that eye witness testimonies are sometimes biased, because of difficulties in remembering the actual events. Sometimes the events are very overwhelming and they affect the emotional and mental status of the witness (Jiahong, 2015). In China, for instance, there are hundreds of innocent people who were arrested, convicted, and jailed for crimes they never committed. Other cases are of mistaken identity.
False confession is another major challenge that leads to wrongful convictions. False confession occurs when the accused is coerced to confess to a given crime. This is done normally through extrajudicial means, including torture and threats. Another reason why people confess to crimes they have not committed is because of their mental and psychological status. In the criminal justice system, it is imperative to determine the capacity of the accused to stand trial (Jiahong, 2015). However, one of the main challenges has been the presence of unqualified experts, whose opinions are used to make the final verdict. Such incidences have culminated into unfair treatment and violation of the accused rights to fair trial (Jiahong, 2015). Literature review also demonstrates that the criminal justice system suffers from major limitations. For instance, gathering of evidence is not done appropriately, which causes wrong verdict. Evidence might exonerate a criminal or lead to imprisonment of an innocent person.
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The literature review provided many gaps in knowledge on the topic of wrongful convictions. One of the major strengths of the book is that the findings are based on primary sources from the criminal justice system in China. The statistics provided enhance the reliability and validity of the source. The findings are consistent with the existing body of knowledge. However, there are certain questions that still need to be addressed, but they have not been tackled appropriately. The Future study seek to establish the reasons why the criminal justice system is not reforming despite such findings. In other words, why are innocent people still suffering in the criminal justice system? Why is it taking long to have the issues of criminal justice system addressed? There should be a shift from the causes of wrongful conviction to what is currently being done to address the challenge. The criminal justice system has the responsibility of enhancing the rule of law. It is an institution that should be above reproach, fighting for the rights of every individual regardless of economic status, race, or religious affiliations. Most of the current studies paid much attention to the causes of wrongful conviction, but that is not helping in resolving the problem. It is also important to determine what can be done to correct the vice, and the challenges that the criminal justice system might face in doing so. Nevertheless, the literature review provided vital information that can enhance future studies on the same topic, but from a different perspective. The information helps in preventing a situation where future researchers will be required to reinvent the wheel. The literature review provides a basis for further studies on wrongful convictions.
Jiahong, H. (2015). Case study on the causes of wrongful conviction in Chinese criminal proceedings. Frontiers of Law in China 10 4 670 689 doi:10 3868 s050 004 015 0037 7