A professor educating future attorneys claims wrongful convictions are quite minimal in our justice system.
Viewing the likelihood of wrongful convictions as freakishly low, Paul Cassel, a Professor at the University of Utah’s Law School, has compiled data supporting his wrongful conviction figures. His research placed the range of wrongful convictions in the entire American criminal justice system “at only at 0.016 to 0.063 percent”— or less than one percent.
The rate of wrongful convictions has long been a topic of scholarly dispute. In response, The Crime Report printed an opinion piece by James Doyle, a Boston defense lawyer and published author in his own right.
Doyle rejects the acceptance of any wrongful convictions because of “the harms they produce [that] radiate outward in concentric circles: to the exonerated, the original victims, and to the future victims…when the wrongfully convicted man serves the real criminal’s time.”
The statistical data announced by Cassell, a former Associate Deputy Attorney General and a former U.S. District Judge in Utah, was significantly lower than that of New York’s District Judge and leading advocate against wrongful convictions, the Honorable Jed Rakoff.
Judge Rakoff’s numbers, composed by Pew Research in 2017 and reported by Readers’ Digest, estimated wrongful convictions at 2 to 8%.
Doyle opined that Cassell appears to argue wrongful convictions rarely happen and “the cost of errors that do occur can often be discounted because of the ‘moral blame- worthiness’ of many of the people wrongly convicted.”
He pointed out that although “an exact authoritative rate of wrongful convictions may be impossible, we do know something about their distribution—especially their racial distribution—that may repay further study.”
Doyle advocates a joint effort that includes law scholars, frontline practitioners and institutes of justice to “probe the sources of wrongful convictions” with the goal of “avoiding repetitions” and improving the criminal justice system by making it ac- countable for every wrongful investigation, arrest and conviction.