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Erroneous Convictions in Criminal Justice - Interview With Dr. Jon Gould

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2013
3 pages
This is the video and transcript of an interview with John Gould regarding his study of errors in the criminal justice system that increase the risk for wrongful convictions.
When asked about what his study indicated about errors in the criminal justice system, he noted that when wrongful convictions do occur, criminal justice practitioners do not routinely conduct a thorough analysis of what went wrong and how it can be prevented from recurring. When asked about the nature of his research, he focused on the importance of comparing the features of cases that involve either a dismissal or acquittal at trial and those cases that go all the way to trial and then result in a wrongful conviction. The study found that the defendant's having any criminal history made it more likely that he/she would be wrongfully convicted. Previous crimes do not have to be the same as the current charge for this factor to come into play. Other factors are the age of the defendant, the strength of the prosecution's case, the quality of the defense, whether the defense brings or puts on a family witness, whether the prosecution fails to turn over exculpatory evidence, whether the prosecution occurs in a State with a punitive culture on the death penalty, whether there is lying by a non-eyewitness, whether a misidentification is an honest mistake, and whether the forensic evidence is accurate.

Date Published: February 1, 2013