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Crime and Punishment - Essay Example

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Summary
Most of the crimes committed have adverse effects either on an individual e.g. murder or the state. As any wrong doing is treated, the committing of a crime is always expected to be followed by a punishment. …
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Crime and Punishment

Download file to see previous pages... The main mandate of the justice system is to investigate, make arrests, gather evidence, bring charges forward, conduct trials, render a sentence and carry out a punishment. The judicial system is therefore trusted to make the right judgments and to give punishments only to those who deserve it in proportion to the nature of the crimes they have committed. They are not expected to make mistakes because they are supposed to conduct a sufficient investigation and gather enough evidence before they can convict a criminal (Gilligan 47). It is a pity however how many people are serving sentences for crimes they have never committed. Innocent people are languishing in jails in many parts of the world just because somebody failed to do their duty properly. The death penalty information Centre estimates that about 1200 people executed since 1976 in the United States may have been innocent. Another group of people are those that are exonerated after further evidence of their innocence comes up. A good example is the case of Willingham Cameron who was charged with the murder of his three children by arson. After his execution, a new report from a national arson expert concluded that the original investigation to the case was seriously flawed and could not support a finding of arson. The question is how many people cannot defend themselves or prove their innocence yet they really are innocent? (Garrett 69) I mainly attribute these cases where the guilty walk scot free while innocent people are punished to sheer negligence. As the people bestowed with the mandate to investigate and punish wrong doers, the justice system should be very good at what they do. They should know how to seek evidence and at the same time how to classify it. They should also know that not all sources of evidence are reliable, like a person’s testimony, and they should therefore seek to verify evidence. It is a common phenomenon of the police to intentionally or accidentally feed details of crime to suspects. There are even cases where the police indicate which suspects in a line up during an identification parade should be selected by using suggestive methods hence contaminating eyewitness’s identification. This is pure negligence, because they are of course trained on how to carry out investigations, why do they do otherwise? I also attribute the rampant increase of punishing the innocent to greed and corruption (Gilligan 76). There are cases where the police are paid to plant evidence on an innocent person and convict him/ her. There are also cases where the police are paid by criminals in order to get rid of the evidence against them. They of course blame their actions on their poor pay but it doesn’t justify what they do. The justice system that was once trusted to offer justice is now criticized and looked down upon by many. The question is what exactly went wrong with our judicial system. Jeffrey Rosen in his article the wrongful convictions as a way of life also seem to ask the same question. He writes of instances where the appellate judges termed the evidence of the innocent people’s guilt as overwhelming and also instances where the Supreme Court dismisses request to review cases without even giving reasons for their decisions. Brandon L.Garrett, in his book convicting the innocent also points out how the courts have in many instances failed to take their time to properly consider the evidence of innocence of the suspects before ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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