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Thread: Why Do Innocents Get Convicted?

  1. #1 Why Do Innocents Get Convicted? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    We know it happens. Read an article that states there may be up to 10000 wrongfully convicted persons in USA federal penitentiaries. Despite even the best forensic science, the wrong people are in jail. Yes there may not be enough physical evidence to validate a person's guilt so what makes it happen? The same article stated that eyewitness testimony is the biggest reason for convicting the innocent. What about the circumstantial cases, where there is little evidence? Should these trials just be abolished because of the lack of hard evidence?


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  3. #2  
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    I think your 10k number is too low
    over 2 million in prison in usa
    we have an adversarial criminal "justice" system wherein the prosecutors goal is to get convictions.

    anecdote:
    I was pro death penalty until a friend (Gary Gauger) was wrongfully convicted of killing his parents, and sentenced to death. He was later found to be not guilty and exonerated. But my anti death penalty stance remains.
    If we cannot be certain that they are killing the guilty and not the innocent, then I want none killed in my name.

    Concidering that at that time, one fifth of the people on death row were later found to be innocent:
    I would guess that up to 20% of our prison population has been wrongfully convicted and that would be more like 400 thousand, not 10 thousand.
    Maybe somewhere in between those numbers?


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    I think your 10k number is too low
    over 2 million in prison in usa
    we have an adversarial criminal "justice" system wherein the prosecutors goal is to get convictions.

    anecdote:
    I was pro death penalty until a friend (Gary Gauger) was wrongfully convicted of killing his parents, and sentenced to death. He was later found to be not guilty and exonerated. But my anti death penalty stance remains.
    If we cannot be certain that they are killing the guilty and not the innocent, then I want none killed in my name.

    Concidering that at that time, one fifth of the people on death row were later found to be innocent:
    I would guess that up to 20% of our prison population has been wrongfully convicted and that would be more like 400 thousand, not 10 thousand.
    Maybe somewhere in between those numbers?
    Is science the only hope for the wrongfully convicted? That and good police work. i wonder how many are in the can because of forensic science. I'm only guessing but I would think not many.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    ... That and good police work. ...
    Aye, there's the rub. In Gary's case, the cops lied and claimed that he had confessed to them, and conveniently had lost 18 hours of interrigation notes.

    (from a song): "... don't trust your soul to no backwoods country lawyer when the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands..."

    The system is broken, and I ain't got any good idea on just how to fix it.
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  6. #5  
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    Just have to remember that "reasonable doubt" doesn't mean certainty. We don't overcome unreasonable doubt, which is what we'd have to do in order to achieve a perfect, or even near perfect rightful conviction rate.

    As I see it, it's a gamble. We're weighing probabilities against each other. We accept a small probability of wrongful conviction in order to lower the probability of criminal victimization.

    If that very small chance frightens you, then you might want to look into other activities in your life that carry an equally small chance of killing you such as driving on the highway, or climbing a ladder to put up Christmas lights. Or for that matter, you might want to start staying home all day instead of leaving your home to go to work.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    I think your 10k number is too low
    over 2 million in prison in USA
    we have an adversarial criminal "justice" system wherein the prosecutors goal is to get convictions.

    anecdote:
    I was pro death penalty until a friend (Gary Gauger) was wrongfully convicted of killing his parents, and sentenced to death. He was later found to be not guilty and exonerated. But my anti death penalty stance remains.
    If we cannot be certain that they are killing the guilty and not the innocent, then I want none killed in my name.

    Considering that at that time, one fifth of the people on death row were later found to be innocent:
    I would guess that up to 20% of our prison population has been wrongfully convicted and that would be more like 400 thousand, not 10 thousand.
    Maybe somewhere in between those numbers?
    Is science the only hope for the wrongfully convicted? That and good police work. i wonder how many are in the can because of forensic science. I'm only guessing but I would think not many.
    Well nobodies mentioned the quality of defense attorneys yet, but I'd be willing to bet over 90% of all wrongful convictions were because of less than motivated public defenders that don't get paid much for their services. But everybody is entitled to an adequate defense. <<<Yeah! Right?>>>
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  8. #7  
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    Innocents get convicted because under the jury system, what matters is not whether the accused is guilty or innocent, but whether or not you can convince a bunch of people.
    Its the way nature is!
    If you dont like it, go somewhere else....
    To another universe, where the rules are simpler
    Philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy
    Prof Richard Feynman (1979) .....

    Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!"
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    Innocents get convicted because under the jury system, what matters is not whether the accused is guilty or innocent, but whether or not you can convince a bunch of people.
    That's how good lawyers earn their money. But if your poor kiss your ass goodbye.
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  10. #9  
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    Well nobodies mentioned the quality of defense attorneys yet
    I'm much more concerned about the US system where judges and prosecutors and police chiefs can be elected. I get the impression that this doesn't happen in every state, but I much prefer the system we use. All these roles are always filled by selection or appointment of recognised professionals with possible names considered by a committee of professionals. Judges are appointed by governments but with the advice of those qualified people. And I absolutely hate the idea that a District Attorney or whatever the title might happen to be can be elected or not on the basis of how they handle particular cases.

    We have a cabinet position of Attorney General but that job explicitly has no role at all in the day to day administration of justice in individual cases. The Solicitor General is a public service appointment, not an elected position.

    Making the system work in a way that people's election chances don't depend on getting convictions would be a good start if you want to avoid biases towards conviction at any cost. These jobs require professional expertise and should not be subject to a popularity poll like an election.
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  11. #10  
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    There are a lot of studies on why the legal system goes wrong - attractive people get more lenient sentences and a judge's decision can depend on anything from whether he ate/what he ate and the last tv programme he watched. Eye witness testimony is notoriously poor because our vision is quite poor and our perceptions are swayed by assumptions and our memories are reconstructed instead of faithful snapshots of events. Even the way witnesses are questioned after events plays a part in how the story is told (I'll grab some refs for all this in a bit).

    In short, it goes wrong because humans are involved - the best we can hope for is that most of the time we get it right. And that when it goes wrong it is put right immediately and with respect rather than with cover-up and more indignity on the victim.
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  12. #11  
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    Supposing that a defendant is 40 years old now, and if you could look into the future and estimate they were likely to live until the age of 80.... I don't see the fundamental difference between the death penalty and a 40 years sentence. Is life in prison so much better than being dead?

    Either way, all their hopes and dreams are cancelled.

    As I see it, time lost is time lost.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  13. #12  
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    I guess that sort of depends on the person Kojax. For some people three meals a day and a roof (any roof) over your head is a hope and dream, some people live in such dark places they've never even heard of hopes and dreams. I know what you are saying - we should all get to experience a feeling of privilege at being alive but it just doesn't happen for some and it seems a shame.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    I guess that sort of depends on the person Kojax. For some people three meals a day and a roof (any roof) over your head is a hope and dream, some people live in such dark places they've never even heard of hopes and dreams. I know what you are saying - we should all get to experience a feeling of privilege at being alive but it just doesn't happen for some and it seems a shame.
    I had an uncle that was wrongfully convicted of attempted murder when it was a clear cut case of self defense. After 6 years he was paroled but he had become so institutionalized that he didn't know how to function on the outside. After two months of freedom he crossed the state line and called his parole officer. He went back and served the rest of his 10 year sentence. 2 months after his release he committed suicide. He suffered some brain injury due to the attack that led to him defending himself and ending up in jail. he never received any treatment, physical or psychological.

    My uncle looked like a perfect doppleganger of charles manson. I'm sure that had plenty to do with why he was convicted.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    My uncle looked like a perfect doppleganger of charles manson. I'm sure that had plenty to do with why he was convicted.
    Resemblances and prejudices, I think you just hit on two reasons for wrong convictions. Some may call it bad luck.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I'm much more concerned about the US system where judges and prosecutors and police chiefs can be elected. I get the impression that this doesn't happen in every state, but I much prefer the system we use. All these roles are always filled by selection or appointment of recognised professionals with possible names considered by a committee of professionals. Judges are appointed by governments but with the advice of those qualified people. And I absolutely hate the idea that a District Attorney or whatever the title might happen to be can be elected or not on the basis of how they handle particular cases.
    ...
    Making the system work in a way that people's election chances don't depend on getting convictions would be a good start if you want to avoid biases towards conviction at any cost. These jobs require professional expertise and should not be subject to a popularity poll like an election.
    Sandra Day O'Conner came out of retirement to speak out against large campaign contributions for the elections of judges.
    While she was at it, she also spoke against having elected judges, prefering a merit based system.
    .......
    on the other hand
    some state judicial selection programs “have been criticized for the absence of public input into the process, lack of transparency, secretiveness in their procedures and the political cronyism that can occur when commissions and the governor operate in what is essentially a closed system.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/us/24judges.html?_r=0
    .........................
    as/re our "justice system"
    I dispair.
    It seems that money rules "justice" as a puppet on a string.
    Perhaps, it has always been thus?
    One need look no farther than our supreme court whose votes typically split on political party idiological lines, and in favor of big money over all else.
    Whenever I look, I seem to see injustice growing out of the system in ever growing percentages.
    But, I know that I am prejudiced in this matter.
    I detest prison workers unions, and the private prison industries' big money lobbying for ever stiffer penalties, and financing judicial campaigns for the same purpose.
    I see all this as our polity slipping down the slope of a funnel of injustice that will ultimately destroy the polity and dump us all into chaos, death, warfare and distruction of all I value.
    Last edited by sculptor; June 9th, 2013 at 09:27 AM.
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  17. #16  
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    Guilty until proven innocent...
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    Guilty until proven innocent...
    fersure
    Given that 90 to 95% of cases(read convictions) are resolved through "plea barganing"
    Quite often using scare tactics to extract a "guilty" plea.

    My one son was a public defender for awhile, and one of his clients had foolishly pled guilty to a "sex offense" for pissing in public after a drinking bout with his friends. That stupidity cost the client his freedom for a few months, and a choice of where he could live for the rest of his life, and he must also register as a convicted sex offender whenever he moves...........all this for taking a beer whizz
    ...........
    moral:
    If you must pee outside of a "rest room"...(I prefer calling a spade a spade and not a shovel---how about urinarium, or deficatorium?)
    leave your pants on
    ..............................
    http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/f...10/v26n3-7.pdf
    ...
    While there are no exact estimates of the proportion of cases that are resolved through plea bargaining, scholars estimate that about 90 to 95 percent of both federal and state court cases are resolved through this process
    https://www.bja.gov/Publications/Ple...rchSummary.pdf
    ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plea_ba..._United_States
    .....................
    You do have the right to remain silent.
    If you ever need this right: USE IT
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  19. #18  
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    sculptor

    If I was innocent I would never plea bargain, as anyone who accepts a plea bargain is admitting to being guilty. I would always force a jury to convict me based on the evidence. Personally I don't think the city would have been willing to pay for a jury trial to convict anyone for taking a beer piss outside. So that guy got what he deserved for being stupid.
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  20. #19  
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    innocent?
    of every possible infraction?

    wow dude I suspect that you are a group of 1
    .......................
    just because someone is stupid, or poorly educated does not make making them suffer ok
    Our prison population has a combined iq significantly lower than the average of the population as a whole.
    To say that they got what they deserved because they were stupid is repugnant to me.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    I guess that sort of depends on the person Kojax. For some people three meals a day and a roof (any roof) over your head is a hope and dream, some people live in such dark places they've never even heard of hopes and dreams. I know what you are saying - we should all get to experience a feeling of privilege at being alive but it just doesn't happen for some and it seems a shame.
    I had an uncle that was wrongfully convicted of attempted murder when it was a clear cut case of self defense. After 6 years he was paroled but he had become so institutionalized that he didn't know how to function on the outside. After two months of freedom he crossed the state line and called his parole officer. He went back and served the rest of his 10 year sentence. 2 months after his release he committed suicide. He suffered some brain injury due to the attack that led to him defending himself and ending up in jail. he never received any treatment, physical or psychological.

    My uncle looked like a perfect doppleganger of charles manson. I'm sure that had plenty to do with why he was convicted.

    Exactly the problem then. Were he executed instead of imprisoned, he could have died while he still had the will to go on. That's a much better death.

    I think it is far preferable to kill someone than it is to break their will.

    If there is such a thing as an immortal soul, it could have gone to the next life with the spark still in him. Angry rather than depressed. Indignant rather than broken.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    innocent?
    of every possible infraction?

    wow dude I suspect that you are a group of 1
    .......................
    just because someone is stupid, or poorly educated does not make making them suffer OK
    Our prison population has a combined IQ significantly lower than the average of the population as a whole.
    To say that they got what they deserved because they were stupid is repugnant to me.
    Well he obviously got bad advice from his public defender. I mean he obviously didn't understand what was going to happen to him by accepting the plea bargain. But why are we like the only country in the world that would make someone a life long sex offender for taking a drunk piss outside? Most countries don't even consider it a misdemeanor to piss outside.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    Exactly the problem then. Were he executed instead of imprisoned, he could have died while he still had the will to go on. That's a much better death.

    I think it is far preferable to kill someone than it is to break their will.

    If there is such a thing as an immortal soul, it could have gone to the next life with the spark still in him. Angry rather than depressed. Indignant rather than broken.
    I've often felt that a quick death is to good for some of the bad people we convict. After all when your dead all your troubles are done. My preference in some of the more senseless brutal crimes would be slow public torture leading to death after many days of agony. Put it on pay TV to help defray the costs of providing high caliber defense attorneys to make sure no innocents get convicted.
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  24. #23  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    I guess that sort of depends on the person Kojax. For some people three meals a day and a roof (any roof) over your head is a hope and dream, some people live in such dark places they've never even heard of hopes and dreams. I know what you are saying - we should all get to experience a feeling of privilege at being alive but it just doesn't happen for some and it seems a shame.
    I had an uncle that was wrongfully convicted of attempted murder when it was a clear cut case of self defense. After 6 years he was paroled but he had become so institutionalized that he didn't know how to function on the outside. After two months of freedom he crossed the state line and called his parole officer. He went back and served the rest of his 10 year sentence. 2 months after his release he committed suicide. He suffered some brain injury due to the attack that led to him defending himself and ending up in jail. he never received any treatment, physical or psychological.

    My uncle looked like a perfect doppleganger of charles manson. I'm sure that had plenty to do with why he was convicted.

    Exactly the problem then. Were he executed instead of imprisoned, he could have died while he still had the will to go on. That's a much better death.

    I think it is far preferable to kill someone than it is to break their will.

    If there is such a thing as an immortal soul, it could have gone to the next life with the spark still in him. Angry rather than depressed. Indignant rather than broken.
    And what if he never lost the will to live? What if he had the will to live but his life was permanently destroyed due to a false conviction? You can't assume the prison system will break everyone down. It can also turn good people who were falsely imprisoned into criminals when they are released because they can't get a job. Sorry Kojax, but what you said was just sick.
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  25. #24  
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    It's funny how we each have different thresholds for what we'll accept an innocent person to suffer. Torture might be a bit much for me. I can accept innocent people dying because ultimately all innocent people eventually die by some means or another. Not all innocent people ever live to endure torture, though.

    What we need to come to terms with is that prison time is not a "reversible" punishment. A person can go to jail for just 6 months and get raped by a stronger prisoner while they're in there. Then they have to carry that with them the rest of their life. The only thing that really comes close to being genuinely reversible is, I guess, a fine. The state can always refund money.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    While many are found guilty but not really the person who did the crime many times the appeals court process will bring to light the things that were done wrong in the first trial. Then there's more appeals courts up to the Supreme Court which , in most instances , will be enough time to take a very close look at the cases that were questionable. That said most times the innocent are set free so this type of thing, jailing the wrong person, gets worked out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    My uncle looked like a perfect doppleganger of charles manson. I'm sure that had plenty to do with why he was convicted.
    Resemblances and prejudices, I think you just hit on two reasons for wrong convictions. Some may call it bad luck.
    We humans are quite simple creatures really and we like our baddies to look like baddies. We had a case in England a while back where a young lady was murdered and her landlord was in the spotlight for questioning just as everyone was who knew her. But he had a slightly odd look about him and the press here went to town digging up personal stuff that alluded to him being a bit odd. We don't want our baddies to look like the guy next door, even though they invariably do. Unfortunately, looks matter and that has been true since the day the eye evolved.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    While many are found guilty but not really the person who did the crime many times the appeals court process will bring to light the things that were done wrong in the first trial. Then there's more appeals courts up to the Supreme Court which , in most instances , will be enough time to take a very close look at the cases that were questionable. That said most times the innocent are set free so this type of thing, jailing the wrong person, gets worked out.
    Maybe, but tell me, do all poor dumb criminals who have a public defender in superior court, get a new more experienced and qualified lawyer making the appeals and defending them?
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    I just thought of something. How are we defining innocent? As people who are only innocent of the crime they are being charged with? What if that same innocent was a major criminal that trafficked in both people and drugs and was responsible for many murders?

    Definitely not an innocent human being. And everyone knows it. Do they feel bad if he gets convicted of a crime he didn't commit?
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Yes it's bad to convict him of a crime he didn't commit! Is that how you want a justice system to work? If he has committed other crimes charge him with them, if you can't get the evidence try harder, punishing someone for a crime they didn't commit because they are a dodgy character or undesirable should not be seen as "justice". You either have a justice system that upholds your rights and presumes you are innocent until proven guilty or a system where someone who is "obviously" deserving of punishment but we can't prove it is locked up for a crime they are innocent of because they are guilty of something. I know which I'd rather have...
    I hear where you are coming from. Would you testify against a high level gang member, that would put you and your family in serious danger? If you don't testify, he goes free, and there's still a good chance you will get bumped off anyway. Or maybe you and your family would be willing live joyfully in witness protection? Sorry for the hard questions, but the US just doesn't have the will to do what's necessary to clear this problem up. I too know what kind of system I'd like to live in, and it's not what we have now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd like to think I would have the balls to testify but I hope I never have to find out.
    I can relate to that feeling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Yes it's bad to convict him of a crime he didn't commit! Is that how you want a justice system to work? If he has committed other crimes charge him with them, if you can't get the evidence try harder, punishing someone for a crime they didn't commit because they are a dodgy character or undesirable should not be seen as "justice". You either have a justice system that upholds your rights and presumes you are innocent until proven guilty or a system where someone who is "obviously" deserving of punishment but we can't prove it is locked up for a crime they are innocent of because they are guilty of something. I know which I'd rather have...
    I hear where you are coming from. Would you testify against a high level gang member, that would put you and your family in serious danger? If you don't testify, he goes free, and there's still a good chance you will get bumped off anyway. Or maybe you and your family would be willing live joyfully in witness protection? Sorry for the hard questions, but the US just doesn't have the will to do what's necessary to clear this problem up. I too know what kind of system I'd like to live in, and it's not what we have now.
    That's because changing things to allow for anonymous testimony would require an amendment to the Constitution.

    6th Amendment:

    Quote Originally Posted by 6th Amendment
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence


    If we had better self defense laws, then a criminal who threatened a witness in order to silence them could be killed immediately in self defense by that witness, rather than our poor witness having to wait around and hope for the best.
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    Maybe, but tell me, do all poor dumb criminals who have a public defender in superior court, get a new more experienced and qualified lawyer making the appeals and defending them?
    I do not know that answer. If you want to find out I'm sure you can but I'm not going to try and look up anything to find the answer. If you want to try and find the answer then by all means do so. I would think that the kind of lawyer representing them in an appeals court would be different but I am nor sure. Then who decides which lawyer would represent them. the state I would presume so that would be the place to find your answer. Remember that lawyers that are appointed to a case that is pro bono are all assigned by the state and those lawyers are supposed to be qualified to be licensed and in good standing within the states certified lawyers members.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Yes it's bad to convict him of a crime he didn't commit! Is that how you want a justice system to work? If he has committed other crimes charge him with them, if you can't get the evidence try harder, punishing someone for a crime they didn't commit because they are a dodgy character or undesirable should not be seen as "justice". You either have a justice system that upholds your rights and presumes you are innocent until proven guilty or a system where someone who is "obviously" deserving of punishment but we can't prove it is locked up for a crime they are innocent of because they are guilty of something. I know which I'd rather have...
    I hear where you are coming from. Would you testify against a high level gang member, that would put you and your family in serious danger? If you don't testify, he goes free, and there's still a good chance you will get bumped off anyway. Or maybe you and your family would be willing live joyfully in witness protection? Sorry for the hard questions, but the US just doesn't have the will to do what's necessary to clear this problem up. I too know what kind of system I'd like to live in, and it's not what we have now.
    I wouldn't put myself in that position to begin with for I'm not going to jeopardize my life or my family for any reason. People who get involved with organized crime are always going to be put into this kind of dilemma and that is why not to many people get involved with the mafia or gangs to begin with because they know what they will have to sacrifice one day if they do become involved. Better off poor and broke them trying to get out of a predicament like the one you are talking about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd like to think I would have the balls to testify but I hope I never have to find out.
    You'd put your family at risk just to put a gang member into jail , I'd think twice about that if I were you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I just thought of something. How are we defining innocent? As people who are only innocent of the crime they are being charged with? What if that same innocent was a major criminal that trafficked in both people and drugs and was responsible for many murders?

    Definitely not an innocent human being. And everyone knows it. Do they feel bad if he gets convicted of a crime he didn't commit?
    You would have to take each criminal charge as you would get them and deal with each charge as they come along . You can't resolve other crimes when dealing other crimes that are being charged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd like to think I would have the balls to testify but I hope I never have to find out.
    You'd put your family at risk just to put a gang member into jail , I'd think twice about that if I were you.
    I've watched enough gangster movies to know they will take you out whether you plan to testify or not, if they know you can hurt them. If the cops know about you, I'd say your odds of a long life are starting to run out. The state won't put you in witness protection if you won't testify. Sometimes through no fault of your own you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. What would you do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    What would you do?
    Arm oneself and take them out as they come for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    What would you do?
    Arm oneself and take them out as they come for you.
    They would expect that, you wouldn't stand a chance and you might even take a couple of them out but they'd keep coming until the job was done. But until they got the job done you'd live in fear not only for yourself but for your loved ones also.

    I wouldn't choose to live that way. I'd try and leave the country with false documents and then get lost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    What would you do?
    Arm oneself and take them out as they come for you.
    They would expect that, you wouldn't stand a chance and you might even take a couple of them out but they'd keep coming until the job was done. But until they got the job done you'd live in fear not only for yourself but for your loved ones also.

    I wouldn't choose to live that way. I'd try and leave the country with false documents and then get lost.
    I'd rather die fighting then running away. Let them come, I may go down but I'll take a couple of them with me. And I have testified against someone in court before, I had to move just days before the trial to try to ensure our safety but I still did it. I have always been the only one on the scene that saw anything when shots were fired in the neighborhood and I have challenged people who went out of their way to intimidate and bully me and my kids many times. Usually my lack of fear and ability to look totally psychotic apparently scared the crap out of those who liked to talk crap but didn't have the nerve to find out if I was really crazy or just bluffing. I think Neverfly is still trying to figure it out lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post

    I'd rather die fighting then running away. Let them come, I may go down but I'll take a couple of them with me. And I have testified against someone in court before, I had to move just days before the trial to try to ensure our safety but I still did it. I have always been the only one on the scene that saw anything when shots were fired in the neighborhood and I have challenged people who went out of their way to intimidate and bully me and my kids many times. Usually my lack of fear and ability to look totally psychotic apparently scared the crap out of those who liked to talk crap but didn't have the nerve to find out if I was really crazy or just bluffing. I think Neverfly is still trying to figure it out lol.
    Psychotic attitude is good, and there are a few people with the balls to pull it off. But very few that are willing to risk other family members and friends to make a point like you are suggesting. But what I'm thinking is no one should have to ever be in that position in the first place. There is a better way to handle the Drug and gang problem in this country and it's not happening.
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    Balls? Sexist!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post

    I'd rather die fighting then running away. Let them come, I may go down but I'll take a couple of them with me. And I have testified against someone in court before, I had to move just days before the trial to try to ensure our safety but I still did it. I have always been the only one on the scene that saw anything when shots were fired in the neighborhood and I have challenged people who went out of their way to intimidate and bully me and my kids many times. Usually my lack of fear and ability to look totally psychotic apparently scared the crap out of those who liked to talk crap but didn't have the nerve to find out if I was really crazy or just bluffing. I think Neverfly is still trying to figure it out lol.
    Psychotic attitude is good, and there are a few people with the balls to pull it off. But very few that are willing to risk other family members and friends to make a point like you are suggesting. But what I'm thinking is no one should have to ever be in that position in the first place. There is a better way to handle the Drug and gang problem in this country and it's not happening.
    I don't know about shouldn't have to. That seems more philosophical. I don't believe in right or wrong. I just know what is and what is not. Animals have to intimidate their enemies to survive. They intimidate more than they actually fight. Most animals don't like pain and if they see they are not likely to gain much from a confrontation they will back off or back down.

    You don't see lions going around attacking everything that moves just because they can. And I doubt any species, regardless of their physical abilities, does such a thing. And I don't see why we should assume that given the allowance to do so, that humans would suddenly become rampaging lunatics out to kill or be killed. For those who tend to do it, the thrill of doing something illegal may go away and they wouldn't even feel the urge to do it anymore. I know the idea of drinking before I was 21 made me really wanna try it, but I didn't because my mom is scary as hell, but once I turned 21 there was no enticement to drink at all and I never really drank before the age of 32. Got over it by the age of 33.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Balls? Sexist!
    You don't seem to mind mine.....


    I just know I'm gonna regret posting that.
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    Yes- you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post

    I don't know about shouldn't have to. That seems more philosophical. I don't believe in right or wrong. I just know what is and what is not. Animals have to intimidate their enemies to survive. They intimidate more than they actually fight. Most animals don't like pain and if they see they are not likely to gain much from a confrontation they will back off or back down.

    You don't see lions going around attacking everything that moves just because they can. And I doubt any species, regardless of their physical abilities, does such a thing. And I don't see why we should assume that given the allowance to do so, that humans would suddenly become rampaging lunatics out to kill or be killed. For those who tend to do it, the thrill of doing something illegal may go away and they wouldn't even feel the urge to do it anymore. I know the idea of drinking before I was 21 made me really wanna try it, but I didn't because my mom is scary as hell, but once I turned 21 there was no enticement to drink at all and I never really drank before the age of 32. Got over it by the age of 33.
    But gangs don't really care about your attitude, because most people in their world are crazy. They'll send some wanna bee's that need a kill to get into the gang or pay some professionals depending on how badly they want you out of the way. If they know where you are and want you dead, your life is not going to be quality living.
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Balls? Sexist!
    You don't seem to mind mine.....


    I just know I'm gonna regret posting that.
    It's a good thing you two have separate computers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post

    I don't know about shouldn't have to. That seems more philosophical. I don't believe in right or wrong. I just know what is and what is not. Animals have to intimidate their enemies to survive. They intimidate more than they actually fight. Most animals don't like pain and if they see they are not likely to gain much from a confrontation they will back off or back down.

    You don't see lions going around attacking everything that moves just because they can. And I doubt any species, regardless of their physical abilities, does such a thing. And I don't see why we should assume that given the allowance to do so, that humans would suddenly become rampaging lunatics out to kill or be killed. For those who tend to do it, the thrill of doing something illegal may go away and they wouldn't even feel the urge to do it anymore. I know the idea of drinking before I was 21 made me really wanna try it, but I didn't because my mom is scary as hell, but once I turned 21 there was no enticement to drink at all and I never really drank before the age of 32. Got over it by the age of 33.
    But gangs don't really care about your attitude, because most people in their world are crazy. They'll send some wanna bee's that need a kill to get into the gang or pay some professionals depending on how badly they want you out of the way. If they know where you are and want you dead, your life is not going to be quality living.
    Maybe I have a death wish. I am simply not afraid of death and I have taught my kids not to fear it either. I was supposed to be dead15 years ago and even now docs can't figure out why I'm here. I'd honestly rather die standing up for something or against something than in some undignified heap of a mess in a hospital. I have raised my kids to face death or the possibility of it with dignity and honor. Respect it. And make sure they earn a good one.
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    Eye witness testimony is reliable when the witness knows the subject, but can be very unreliable if the subject is a stranger.


    Pissing outside (only for men) is lewd behavior. Women can drop their panties and squat in their dresses without exposing themselves.


    Anonymous testimony would be horrible; we'd have the Star Chamber all over again.


    As for appeals, some defendants get the Innocence Project involved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrmonroe View Post
    Pissing outside (only for men) is lewd behavior. Women can drop their panties and squat in their dresses without exposing themselves.
    That's rather interesting, when I was a kid if we were going somewhere and needed a wee, we were taught we could go behind a tree a the side of the road. I don't think I'm alone here with this one as it was kind of an accepted practice that lots of people were taught. But this was always the idea that men could do this and this was acceptable, however it would never have been acceptable for a woman to have a wee outside in public. Women were always percieved, and expected, to be more modest and simply wouldn't do the things that men would. But the idea of a man having a wee outside wasn't ever really considered lewd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd like to think I would have the balls to testify but I hope I never have to find out.
    I've watched enough gangster movies to know they will take you out whether you plan to testify or not, if they know you can hurt them. If the cops know about you, I'd say your odds of a long life are starting to run out. The state won't put you in witness protection if you won't testify. Sometimes through no fault of your own you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. What would you do?
    I wouldn't be in the wrong place at the wrong time but in the right place at the right time. You see we all have choices and if you involve yourself with things that you know are going to be trouble then you are already asking for problems even before they happen. As an example if you use drugs you are already doing something that you know is wrong but then the person you buy from gets involved with a killing while your there getting your drugs and you need to testify about what you saw happen, you've already been in the wrong place at the wrong time due to your own choices in life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post

    I wouldn't be in the wrong place at the wrong time but in the right place at the right time. You see we all have choices and if you involve yourself with things that you know are going to be trouble then you are already asking for problems even before they happen. As an example if you use drugs you are already doing something that you know is wrong but then the person you buy from gets involved with a killing while your there getting your drugs and you need to testify about what you saw happen, you've already been in the wrong place at the wrong time due to your own choices in life.
    The best you can do is not participate in criminal activity, but it sometimes happens to good people through no fault of their own, they see something they wish they hadn't seen. I will concede that for you personally that chance might be very small. But if it did, would you testify or refuse to testify and hope it all goes away with no harm to you or your family?
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    To testify or not to testify, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind...

    It really depends on the crime and the criminal. I take my civic responsibilities seriously. If it was a violent crime perpetrated on a civilian and by my not testifying, the criminal goes on to commit another violent crime against an innocent, is not the fate/blood of his/her next victim in/on my hands? sins of ommission or sins of comission?--and worse yet, if i didn't finger the guilty guy, might an innocent be convicted in his place?------and, then, it also depends on the intent of the police and prosecutors, which may sway me into non-action.
    If, however, it was an inter/intra-gang crime perpetrated on another "outlaw", then it is none of my affair.

    To a certain extent, we all get to choose the type of society in which we want to live and form associations. And, by our choices, we chose that which we will or will not risk our lives and comfort to defend.
    Last edited by sculptor; June 10th, 2013 at 11:11 PM.
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    Criminals usually try to use the least force to get the job done, but when one of them is on trial he's in a desperate situation. He's not going to be more afraid of you than he is of 60+ years inside a US prison.

    If you're not afraid to die yourself, they'll look into who you are afraid to see killed. The Russian Mob has no problem killing family members to get at a single uncooperative person.

    On the other hand, killing you still solves the problem whether you're scared or not, since dead witnesses can't testify (in the USA).
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    Well I guess I'm of the opinion that in normal circumstances it is the responsibility of all good citizens to testify, we live by and are indeed part of the process of law and order. We are all expected to do our bit and if that means going to court and giving evidence then indeed that's what we should do. We would then be fullfilling our civic responsibilities.

    However! And I don't think really I can overstate this enough, nobody, at least imho, should be criticized, punished or held responsible if by testifying they are putting themselves or family at risk of from retribution by dangerous criminal gangs and as such refuse to testify. Whilst we want to be and indeed stive to be good citizens, we should and, again imho, must always put the safety of our loved ones first.

    If people are frightened to testify in court, then the justice system and police should be doing more to protect them and alleviate their fears, no innocent private citizens should be put in harms way to secure convictions. Ordinary people don't get paid for this, they've had no training for such and haven't agreed to it, so it is for the people who DO get paid to get the convictions, who ARE trained for it and who HAVE agreed to it to take the risks, if indeed there are any to be taken, not your average Joe just trying to do his bit.
    Last edited by Ascended; June 11th, 2013 at 08:00 AM. Reason: missed words out
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'd like to think I would have the balls to testify but I hope I never have to find out.
    I've watched enough gangster movies to know they will take you out whether you plan to testify or not, if they know you can hurt them. If the cops know about you, I'd say your odds of a long life are starting to run out. The state won't put you in witness protection if you won't testify. Sometimes through no fault of your own you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. What would you do?

    I wouldn't be in the wrong place at the wrong time but in the right place at the right time. You see we all have choices and if you involve yourself with things that you know are going to be trouble then you are already asking for problems even before they happen. As an example if you use drugs you are already doing something that you know is wrong but then the person you buy from gets involved with a killing while your there getting your drugs and you need to testify about what you saw happen, you've already been in the wrong place at the wrong time due to your own choices in life.

    Example of wrong place at wrong time. You are at a filling station getting a cup of coffee and a donut as you fill your tank on your way to work on Monday morning. A guy comes in with a gun. You see his face. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is that not an example of how you can innocently come to know about a crime. You don't have be involved in dodgy activities to see things happening. In my case it was my next door neighbor. There was no privacy fence and her kids played with mine. Through a casual neighborly relationship I learned of things and saw things that I had to testify against. I say had to, because her daughter's lives were in danger. I adored her kids like they were my own and I wasn't going to turn my back on them just to save my own skin.
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    The best you can do is not participate in criminal activity, but it sometimes happens to good people through no fault of their own, they see something they wish they hadn't seen. I will concede that for you personally that chance might be very small. But if it did, would you testify or refuse to testify and hope it all goes away with no harm to you or your family?
    I'd first wait and see what other "evidence" was being used to prosecute the criminal and in many cases other evidence can be used and therefore I do not need to testify. However if that is not the case and there's a life at stake, as in a murder trial, I'd have to consider many factors about what would happen if I did testify and even if my testimony would be able to convict the criminal without a doubt. Many times even an "eye witness" testimony can be rebuked by a good attorney.

    So it would come down to the case I was involved with which could have many things involved so I must take into consideration all factors before testifying. There are so many things to consider but my family would always take my first consideration before testifying against a criminal that threatens my life or my families.
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    Just recently saw a doco about a bunch of wrongful convictions in the USA - due to a persistent cop's remarkably powerful interrogation techniques; he could get almost anyone to confess to anything - signed statements and all the 'right' answers for the final recorded interview, the preceding ones not being recorded. Actually 4 guys all got wrongly convicted (because they confessed) for the same crime - apparently the DNA for the first guy wasn't right so the cop insisted he must have had an accomplice and hounded him until he gave a name. Knowing that the person he'd 'fingered' couldn't have any evidence against him, it came as a surprise that that guy also confessed to rape and murder. But his DNA still didn't match the evidence, so there must be another accomplice... etc.

    It sounded like the winning argument (for extracting false confessions) was the liberal use of the fear of the death penalty - "We have more than enough evidence to get a death sentence and you are already a dead man walking - (a bald lie) - but if you confess and co-operate (say what I want you to say) you won't get the death sentence". Being innocent, they felt no need to refuse to co-operate, and those that did ask for a lawyer simply had the request ignored whilst the "persuasive" cop went back to work. I understand that the plea bargain, to avoid the death sentence, puts people in the position where they can believe that confession to a crime they didn't commit is the only option to avoid execution. But, having confessed means it's next to impossible to appeal and get a conviction overturned - until the actual culprit gets caught for something else and his DNA profile or other forensic evidence gets checked against other crimes.

    This doesn't explain our own (Australia's) bad track for wrongful convictions of course, although "you will never get parole or release, ever, unless you plead guilty - and the case is so strong (a lie) that only confession can shorten your sentence" probably still works reasonably well in the wrong hands.

    It does seem that the most persuasive testimony in courts - eyewitness testimony - is amongst the most unreliable. I think nowadays police are no longer allowed to show witnesses individual photos and ask if this was the perpetrator, they have to pick them from many, because of the way being shown someone and told (or left to conclude) that the police think is the guilty party can alter the witness' recollections. They shouldn't walk a suspect past a witness, because they would then later be more likely to recall that person being the one they saw when seen later in court - even if they hadn't; recognising someone is something the human brain does well, but recalling when and where and what they were doing can remain quite hazy.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; June 11th, 2013 at 06:14 PM. Reason: clarity
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    Here in the UK the CCRC (Criminal Cases Review Commission) has managed to get 466 cases sent to the Court of Appeal of which 328 cases were quashed and only 138 cases upheld. That does rather tend to suggest that there has been quite a lot of innocent people being wrongly convicted. But I guess it's a pretty good thing it at least exists, as prior to it's creation in 1997 most of the innocent people from the cases that were quashed would still be convicted criminals in the eyes of the law with many still languishing in prison cells.

    This being said the CCRC only has 90 staff, 50 of which being actual case workers to cover the whole of Englands 53 million+ population. (Figures courtesy of the Ministry of Justice and accurate as of 06/06/2013.)
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    I wonder too if magistrates/judges are inclined to want to protect the good standing of police and disinclined to make an issue when they suspect all isn't right. Criminals can and do make false accusations against police, except that I think it would take a very brave or very stupid person to imagine any allegations of police misconduct that aren't backed by strong evidence would do anything but make their situation more difficult. And police engaged in misconduct generally know how to make it clear that to complain is to bring down a world of trouble.
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    People who have a criminal past but are not guilty of the offence they're convicted for, is the system saying that guy is a bad dude so we're doing society a favor by locking him/her up? Must be easier to convict someone with a criminal record than someone squeaky clean.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  62. #61  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Then the system stinks - this isn't justice. If the guy is a "bad dude" convict him for what he did.
    I'm suggesting it's easier to get a conviction for someone with a record. The feeling may be that at least the bad guy is off the streets and that is a good thing. It's not justice but it is justifying.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    "round up the usual suspects"

    from casablanca
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  64. #63  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Then the system stinks - this isn't justice. If the guy is a "bad dude" convict him for what he did.
    I'm suggesting it's easier to get a conviction for someone with a record. The feeling may be that at least the bad guy is off the streets and that is a good thing. It's not justice but it is justifying.
    It might be easier but it isn't right. The feeling that at least "he's off the streets" is the thin end of the wedge. Who else would you "want off the streets" but be unable to convict. It's a bullshit argument. If you'll do it for a bank robber maybe and it becomes acceptable, maybe then it becomes OK to get other "bad guys" like homosexuals or other different folks you may not like of the street without a conviction. It's a bad thing in any circumstances. If the guy deserves to be off the street charge him with what he did.
    I agree with you but I don't think Zinjanthropos is personally advocating the actions he is describing. I think he is attempting to explain it from the pov of the prosecution and those who engage in such actions. I think he is probably right. They justify their actions by saying, "well it doesn't matter if he did what he was convicted of, he was a bad egg that we all wanted gone. The end justifies the means." This is an attitude that I too have observed and like you feel it is disgusting and a perversion of justice that should not go on. but it does and poor fools that get caught up in the system have little hope of getting around it.
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    The irony is how often it's used openly. They couldn't get Al Capone on racketeering, so they got him on Tax Evasion.
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    yes, but:
    Al was guilty of tax evasion.
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    He got a much larger sentence than normal for it, too. The thing is, most people were accepting of him getting nailed for that in lieu of other crimes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    The irony is how often it's used openly. They couldn't get Al Capone on racketeering, so they got him on Tax Evasion.
    Most bad guys are guilty of many crimes and I say whichever one gets him off the street the longest and quickest and costing the tax payers the least amount of money is the best way. Yes I've watched "Major Crimes" and I kind of like the concept that program promotes.
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    If the focus is getting bad guys off the streets....stop urbanization.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    If the focus is getting bad guys off the streets....stop urbanization.
    That's kind of like stopping all science forums just to get guys like you off of them.
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    Given how subjective the definition of a "bad" person is - very often just being told they are bad seems to be sufficient for people to think so - and that most people find the thought of a "bad" person being caught and punished pleasing (or else lots of cop shows simply would not click on our like button the same way), then it seems very important to have a justice system based on good investigation and unbiased weighing of all the evidence (the whole truth, not just the bits that click the jury's like or dislike button).

    Yet law and order is a serious issue and when the system is failing to rein in widespread and sometimes blatant criminal behavior that threatens the civil life of a community it may be necessary to lower the bar. But what is unacceptable and what isn't? Recreational drug use comes to mind as something where it is not that clear - the criminal justice system deals with more drug related matters than anything else but it's been going on for decades and civilisation hasn't collapsed. There are compelling arguments for dealing with this as a health rather than criminal issue and that much of the social harm is a result of criminalising those involved.

    As things stand dealing with drugs has resulted in the bar sometimes being lowered. Here in NSW Australia possession of cannabis above a set quantity will result in a presumption of guilt for trafficking whether true or not - probably more often than not that will be true, but a regular cannabis user who grows it seasonally outdoors strictly for personal use would need to grow and keep more than that designated quantity if they want to have enough to last until the next harvest.
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    i wonder what it would be like if computers were to weigh the evidence and determine what the percentage of likelihood that a suspect was guilty. and if we had a set rate at like 85% chance of guilt to be a guilty verdict, considering there would never be a 100% chance that they did it. closest to that would probably be 98% or 99% chance.
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  73. #72  
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    i wonder what it would be like if computers were to weigh the evidence and determine what the percentage of likelihood that a suspect was guilty. and if we had a set rate at like 85% chance of guilt to be a guilty verdict, considering there would never be a 100% chance that they did it. closest to that would probably be 98% or 99% chance.
    Sort of like the way they determine world rankings for sport. They should try it even on a trial (no pun intended) basis.
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    Trouble with computers is that garbage in means garbage out; whilst I like the idea of a truly objective jury and judge I don't think technology is going to replace people. If there's room for technology, maybe it's with better lie detection. But people, their psychs and their behaviors are highly variable and doubt it's going to be as simple as asking the accused whether they are guilty or not guilty; seems like currently it can be the practiced serial liars and actors that can most often beat them. If we go the lie detector route then I think we have to allow it's use on witnesses as well as accused. It's use in integrity checking of police, judges and other who hold positions of public trust may have a place in digging out endemic corruption, but expect strong resistance.
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    The case I referred to in #60 actually did involve the use of lie detectors; whilst the alleged offenders were told they had failed the test the actual results of those tests were never revealled or made available. Given the state of the whole sorry story I expect the tests actually showed them to be telling the truth, with the real lies being those the 'persuasive' cop used to extract false confessions. Like I said, I think the use of reliable lie detectors should not be confined to use on the accused, but should legitimately be used on key witnesses as well. I think it's not too much to suspect that amongst the confessions that cop extracted there would be a few more false ones and convictions based on them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    The case I referred to in #60 actually did involve the use of lie detectors; whilst the alleged offenders were told they had failed the test the actual results of those tests were never revealled or made available. Given the state of the whole sorry story I expect the tests actually showed them to be telling the truth, with the real lies being those the 'persuasive' cop used to extract false confessions. Like I said, I think the use of reliable lie detectors should not be confined to use on the accused, but should legitimately be used on key witnesses as well. I think it's not too much to suspect that amongst the confessions that cop extracted there would be a few more false ones and convictions based on them.
    Did you ever see the following TV series.

    Lie to Me - 2009 - TV-143 discs / 48 episodes

    Loosely inspired by the career of psychologist Paul Ekman, this engaging crime drama focuses on the work of Dr. Cal Lightman, whose knowledge of human facial and behavioral cues lets him determine whether a person is telling the truth.
    Cast:Tim Roth, Kelli Williams, Brendan Hines, Monica Raymund, Hayley McFarland, Mekhi Phifer Genre:TV Crime Dramas, TV Dramas, Television
    There are people trained to see micro expressions and they are very good at spotting the deceptions, even with people that can beat a mechanical lie detector. I personally think every police department should have these type of trained people to work on all aspects of detecting deception in all persons involved in a major prosecution such as a murder. Better yet, they should be independent of both the police and prosecution attorney's.
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  77. #76  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post

    However! And I don't think really I can overstate this enough, nobody, at least imho, should be criticized, punished or held responsible if by testifying they are putting themselves or family at risk of from retribution by dangerous criminal gangs and as such refuse to testify. Whilst we want to be and indeed stive to be good citizens, we should and, again imho, must always put the safety of our loved ones first.

    If people are frightened to testify in court, then the justice system and police should be doing more to protect them and alleviate their fears, no innocent private citizens should be put in harms way to secure convictions. Ordinary people don't get paid for this, they've had no training for such and haven't agreed to it, so it is for the people who DO get paid to get the convictions, who ARE trained for it and who HAVE agreed to it to take the risks, if indeed there are any to be taken, not your average Joe just trying to do his bit.
    Trouble is, if this is an organized criminal - like one with connections, then your only way to protect the family is to keep their identity a secret. There is no way to know who will actually try to hurt them.

    So the family has to go into witness protection and have their whole identity rewritten. That's the best the police can do. I'm sure they'd love to do better, but how?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Then the system stinks - this isn't justice. If the guy is a "bad dude" convict him for what he did.
    I'm suggesting it's easier to get a conviction for someone with a record. The feeling may be that at least the bad guy is off the streets and that is a good thing. It's not justice but it is justifying.
    It might be easier but it isn't right. The feeling that at least "he's off the streets" is the thin end of the wedge. Who else would you "want off the streets" but be unable to convict. It's a bullshit argument. If you'll do it for a bank robber maybe and it becomes acceptable, maybe then it becomes OK to get other "bad guys" like homosexuals or other different folks you may not like of the street without a conviction. It's a bad thing in any circumstances. If the guy deserves to be off the street charge him with what he did.
    There are basically two theories of criminal prosecution.

    1) - Retribution. Lots of people are unsettled by retribution because it is perceived as simply starting or perpetuating a cycle.

    2) - Self Defense. Self defense is the same thing as "keep him off the streets". The goal is just to keep him from offending again. Nobody hates him. They just want to be safe from him. Put a pedophile in jail and he can't molest your child. Yes, of course there is a chance he won't repeat his past behavior, but there's an equally high chance he will. Are you willing to bet your child's well being against this guy's conscience? If you take that bet, you're showing you don't care about your child. If you don't take that bet, you're showing you don't care about the pedophile. There is no third option where you end up showing you care about both of them.
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    Bad Robot, I think that, like lie detectors, humans trained to read body language expressions can and do get it wrong, most of all when encountering habitual and practiced liars, but also with people who's reactions are outside of normal expectations - and, having decided someone is probably guilty on that basis, investigators will be inclined to drop other lines of enquiry and pursue their chosen target with vigour. Plenty of evidence that people can be persuaded to say things they know are not true when confronted with a relentless interrogator who seeks to get specific answers to his/her questions.

    I suspect that the policeman that extracted those 4 wrongful confessions began believing he was highly skilled at reading body language and could 'read the guilt in their faces". What he thought when the use of mechanical lie detectors showed (as seems most likely) they were being truthful is something only he could answer. That none of the results of those tests ever got seen by defense attorneys or was presented as part of the prosecution's case suggests cover-up of results that showed they were telling the truth. As real cases have shown - Lindy Chamberlain in Australia for example - people who's reactions under extreme stress don't appear to be 'normal' can be presumed to be guilty by police and prosecutors, who go on to build a case as much by discarding or dismissing contrary testimony or evidence as by amassing evidence in support.

    How different is the fear reaction to believing you will be sentenced to death for something you didn't do than for something you did do? Both can elicit nervousness through to extreme fear and looking nervous or afraid can and does make people appear guilty.

    If police rely on training in body language to tell if they have the right suspect, should they be required to demonstrate actual skill with independent testing - as opposed to a probably uselesss certificate attesting to having completed the training? Should courts have judges trained in those skills? Should jurors be required to have such training?

    I think we still have a way to go to get reliable lie detection - as a skill or as a technology - that is good enough that guilt or innocence should be decided on that basis. As it stands it can only be an aid.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; June 27th, 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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  79. #78  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Bad Robot, I think that, like lie detectors, humans trained to read body language expressions can and do get it wrong, most of all when encountering habitual and practiced liars, but also with people who's reactions are outside of normal expectations - and, having decided someone is probably guilty on that basis, investigators will be inclined to drop other lines of enquiry and pursue their chosen target with vigour. Plenty of evidence that people can be persuaded to say things they know are not true when confronted with a relentless interrogator who seeks to get specific answers to his/her questions.

    I suspect that the policeman that extracted those 4 wrongful confessions began believing he was highly skilled at reading body language and could 'read the guilt in their faces". What he thought when the use of mechanical lie detectors showed (as seems most likely) they were being truthful is something only he could answer. That none of the results of those tests ever got seen by defense attorneys or was presented as part of the prosecution's case suggests cover-up of results that showed they were telling the truth. As real cases have shown - Lindy Chamberlain in Australia for example - people who's reactions under extreme stress don't appear to be 'normal' can be presumed to be guilty by police and prosecutors, who go on to build a case as much by discarding or dismissing contrary testimony or evidence as by amassing evidence in support.

    How different is the fear reaction to believing you will be sentenced to death for something you didn't do than for something you did do? Both can elicit nervousness through to extreme fear and looking nervous or afraid can and does make people appear guilty.

    If police rely on training in body language to tell if they have the right suspect, should they be required to demonstrate actual skill with independent testing - as opposed to a probably uselesss certificate attesting to having completed the training? Should courts have judges trained in those skills? Should jurors be required to have such training?

    I think we still have a way to go to get reliable lie detection - as a skill or as a technology - that is good enough that guilt or innocence should be decided on that basis. As it stands it can only be an aid.
    Didn't I say trained people at detecting deception should be a 3rd party that can be impartial when conducting their investigations of all relivent persons involved in the case. Also, yes they are not perfect either, but working with people in the field has got to be better than being hooked up to a machine in an interrogation room.

    I wish I could remember the title of a Scifi book I read about 30 years ago. The plot was based on a way to produce a perfect artificial way to detect any deception from all people. The main character was a programmer with a perfect memory. He could remember every line of code he had ever written for the 30 years of writing code and he decided he would write a program that could detect any lie from any human being. He succeeded and then he figured out how to miniaturize it and put it into a ring which would produce a red light when any lie was detected. Then the whole world changed, at first it was used by the court system, anybody that refused to put the ring on was automatically guilty. After that men and women started refusing to get into a relationship with out both sides wearing the ring. It was a very hard thing for the first generation to live with as lying was something everyone did. But to the kids growing up in the new world it was natural and they had a world with very little crime to live in.
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    Bad Robot, yes you did specify independence from the police and prosecution, sorry, and I agree with that and with applying lie detection to all relevant persons, not just the accused. Currently body language is something police often do get training in and I'm sure many feel quite competent in their lie detection skills whilst still occasionally getting it wrong. I'm not sure how 3rd party walking talking lie detectors would work in a court setting - an expert witness that is subject to cross examination certainly. In interrogations I think we would need to grant the accused opportunity to make a full statement rather than be confined to answering the specific questions of police or prosecutors - half truths can convict where the whole truth can reveal a lot about mitigating circumstances and motivations and even result in exoneration.
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