Fear fuels wrongful accusations!

How many more will be wrongfully convicted?

What are the leading causes of wrongful convictions?

The leading causes of wrongful convictions are usually eyewitness misidentification (Jones 2893). Sometimes the eyewitness may point out the wrong person from the lineup of the suspects because the person may look similar or they do not remember clearly what the perpetrator looked like. The second leading cause would be the improper use forensic science. Forensic science is the use of science to obtain evidence for a criminal case. An example of forensic science would be firearm and tool mark analysis as well as fingerprint comparison. In some cases the forensic evidence is faulty because of the way the evidence was collected or the process of which they acquired the evidence was not protocol. There are also false confessions usually because the accused is scared and pressured. Some people are framed and the evidence is put at the crime scene because the person framing the accused wants the investigators to believe that they are guilty. Racial profiling is also a big part of the wrongful accusations.

The Central Park Case

Five wrongfully convicted

On April 19,1989; Trisha Meili known as the central park jogger canceled a dinner date and a few hours later she went for a jog in Central Park in New York around 9:00 pm. As she was jogging she was attacked, brutally beaten almost to the point of death and raped (Weiser 1). The accused in this case were Antron McCray, Raymond Santana Jr, Kevin Richardson,Yusef Salaam and Kharey Wise (Weiser 1). They are known as the Central Park Five (Weiser1). New York around that time was full of fear and the crime rate was high (Smith 1). This occurred because there was fear everywhere in New York and people wanted justice. The pressure and the wrongful use of evidence led to the incarceration of five innocent people (Smith 1). Judge Charles Tejada eventually convicted the correct rapist and put Matais Reyes in jail (Smith 1). All of the Central park five were set free.
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The Crucible

The theme from The Crucible that I am applying is the perilous status of reason and the rule of law during times of fear, uncertainty, and crisis.

The Crucible develops this theme because there is panic everywhere and people start to want justice and hunt the "witches" down to keep the town safe. "What'll we do? The village is out! I just came back from the farm; the whole country's talkin' witchcraft! They'll be callin' us witches Abby! Abby we've got to tell." (Miller 1034). Mary Warren says this to Abigail because she is starting to panic and so is the rest of he village. This shows how fear has spread and people are going to start to panic. Some of the people also look for different reasons for their problems. "If so he is, then let us go to God for the cause of it. There is prodigious danger in the seeking of loose spirits, I fear it, I fear it. Let us rather blame ourselves and -" (Miller 1039). Rebecca Nurse says this because she thinks that it isn't witchcraft but the others are too caught up in fear to see the truth. She says that she fears it, the sense of fear is being spread like wildfire and soon the whole town will be run by fear. There is also the use of spectral evidence which is not evidence at all but the court still uses it in the play to convict people of being witches. In this play the girls start to falsely accuse people of witchcraft out of fear. "She sends her spirit on me in church; she makes me laugh at prayer!" (Miller 1045). Abigail says this so it would take the blame off of herself and she pinned it on an innocent person. It shows the lengths of what a scared person would go to, to save themselves.

Parallels between The Central Park case and The Crucible

The parallels between the conviction of innocent people and the Salem Witch Trials would be that they both have people being wrongfully accused. The reasoning behind the accusations is also similar, it is because of fear and justice. As I mentioned before The Central Park case was around the time where fear and panic was all over New York. This led to more people wanting people to be put away for their own safety. During the trials the people also wanted to be safe and they also wanted some form of justice to make them feel safe.

Work Cited

"Forensic Science." West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. 2008. The Gale Group 7 Dec. 2014

Jones, Cynthia. “The Right Remedy for the Wrongly Convicted: Judicial Sanctions for Destruction of DNA Evidence.” Fordham Law

Review 77, no. 6 (2009): 2893-2954.

Miller, Arthur. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. New York: Viking, 1953. Print.

Smith, Chris. "Central Park Revisited." NYMag.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.

Weiser, Benjamin. "5 Exonerated in Central Park Jogger Case Agree to Settle Suit for $40 Million." Www.nytimes.com. New York Times, 19 June 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

"The Innocence Project - Home." The Innocence Project - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.