Criminal Law Research Proposal Examples
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Police interrogation methods have been questioned by several circles in the Criminal Law fraternity. It mocks the work done by crime scene investigators into coercing false confessions that are usually proven false when forensic evidence becomes available. The United States has over two percent of its population in the confines of penitentiaries; quite a few of them were incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. They were worn down during interrogations and forced to confess for crimes they were innocent of.
The United States of America is an active voice against the violation of human rights across the globe. Apparently, its own citizens seem to fall short especially during a police interrogation. Innocent citizens are bullied, denied water, restroom visits and subjected to yelling, aggression, etc. The only mistake these people did was to walk into a police precinct. The police take up an oath to uphold the law, serve and protect, maintain peace and prevent crime. However, this oath seems to be irrelevant the moment they step into an interrogation room.
Importance of the topic
Studies indicate that prolonged incarceration of small time criminals usually result in affecting their rehabilitation progress. The incarceration of the innocent does double damage; the actual criminal is still on the loose and the incorrect punishment of an innocent citizen. Eventually, the society loses faith in law enforcement and even genuine arrests will prompt uncomfortable questions.
The other aspect of vitality in this subject is the vulnerability of the U.S. justice system and the higher chances of convicting innocent people. For example, most of the coercive interrogation methods used by the police are acceptable to the law. Hence, a confession obtained using such procedures is held valid during the trial. Moreover, even when defendants retract the confession and has the weight of the physical/forensic evidence to back them, they are convicted. Confessions hold more water than any amount of physical evidence that might have been on the scene to refute it.
The continuance of allowing coerced confessions into the court of law encourages police to quickly wrap up cases by coaxing a confession from the first person they can lay their hands on. This practice also infringes on the Miranda Rights. Although many judges have made negative observations in such matters, they always allowed the confessions to be presented as evidence. The Norfolk Four paid a heavy price for agreeing to confess to a crime they were innocent of. Yesterday it was the coerced Navy personnel however what are the chances that it won’t happen to us?
Let’s consider the following situation; you are locked up in a windowless room for fourteen hours, there are two aggressive looking individuals making threats, they make claims to hold evidence of your wrongdoing, provide you with coffee and refuse to let you out of the room for restroom breaks and keep telling you all of this will stop if you gave a confession. What would you do? Most of us cannot hang on to our composure when we are yelled at for more than five minutes. How would we respond in the presented scenario? Ninety percent of us would agree to confess. Are we guilty of the crime? Probably not however, we are unable to tolerate this inhumane treatment. As long as the law allows coerced testimonies, we will continue to have innocent civilians languishing in jails while the actual perpetrator graduates slowly into a serial killer or worse.
Non disclosure of exculpatory evidence from defendants
In a criminal investigation, the evidence gathered from the crime scene and other relevant sources will have two sides of a story; guilty and innocent. The police and prosecution will be more forthcoming about the evidence that indicates guilt and not about evidence that suggests the innocence of the defendant.
The Miranda rights allow citizens of the United States of America to stay silent during the course of an interrogation or ask for a lawyer. It also requires law enforcement to disclose all facts about the case to the defendants or their legal team. The failure to do that denies the defendant the best chance to a fair trial. Evidence that seems to point to innocence is often suppressed.
Importance of the topic
Society depends on law enforcement agencies to protect them from harm that originates from criminal elements as well as those within the sanctum of police departments. A criminal investigation gains momentum form the time a suspect is identified. The police get their chance to convict the perpetrator who probably caused the negative outcomes of a press release immediately after the commissioning of a crime. This is a natural reaction. However, when they realize that they might be wrong about the suspect when an expert witness disapproves the police version of events or a forensic evidence detail supports the suspect they apprehended, they do not release the suspect. Instead, they pursue the suspect and commit acts of misconduct to prove their case. They take the saying, “Innocent until proven guilty” as a mission statement instead for treating it as a moral statement. Hence, it has become vital for defendants to know everything that the police find and not just what they want to use.
The case of the Norfolk four is a classic for this subject. Four innocent men with bright careers ahead of them in the Navy were forced to confess to a crime they were innocent of. The police could have released them when their DNA didn’t match or at least when the real killer confessed. They did neither and ruined four innocent lives.
The Norfolk Police detective who conducted the investigation was later tried and convicted for his misconduct years later. However, this is a rare case; most of the time, there are no penalties or punishments for law men. The law; when allowed to operate in this manner only leads to chaos and the eventual alienation of the police department by society. It is important to revisit some of the legal structures that allow such conduct.
Ten thousand innocent people are convicted every year due to coerced confessions and non disclosure of important evidence. We might wonder if this data is from Latin America or Asia. It does shock us when we realize that this statistic is for the United States of America. One out of four people convicted is innocent. This anarchy must end especially when we boast to have the most sophisticated forensic tools the world has ever seen. We profess that the bullies shouldn’t prey on the weak and yet, by allowing controversial measures we have created bullies within the tenets of the law that prey on the innocent.
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