Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: September 17, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971997 | Print ISBN: 9781412960199 | Online ISBN: 9781412971997| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 96: Wrongful Convictions
Wrongful convictions Wrongful convictions occur when innocent defendants are found guilty in criminal trials, or when defendants feel compelled to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit in order to avoid the death penalty or extremely long prison sentences. The term wrongful conviction can also refer to cases in which a jury erroneously finds a person with a good defense guilty (e.g., self-defense), or where an appellate court reverses a conviction (regardless of the defendant's factual guilt) obtained in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. This chapter deals with the first type of wrongful convictions, or wrong person convictions . Note also that the verdict of acquittal in American law is “not guilty” rather than “innocent,” meaning that an acquitted person might not be factually innocent. For the sake of clarity, the term actual or factual innocence is used to refer to persons who did not commit the Miscarriage ...