Wrongful convictions: Victims of the criminal justice system

Date of this Version


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Book Chapter

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Turvey, B. E. (2009). Wrongful convictions: Victims of the criminal justice system. In B. E. Turvey & W. Petherick (Eds.), Forensic victimology: Examining violent crime victims in investigative and legal contexts (pp. 509-549). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1602

© Copyright 2009, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




In this textbook we have discussed victims that suffer at the hands of friends, family members, coworkers, and strangers. The intended role of the criminal justice system in these instances is that of impartial arbitrator - to decide who did what, if the law has been broken, and then determine a fair punishment. Law enforcement is meant to investigate the facts; forensic examiners are meant to analyze evidence and explain its meaning in court; prosecutors are meant to seek justice; defense attorneys are meant to defend their clients; and judges are meant to impartially render the law in order to preserve the rights of all parties.

However, as several of the examples in previous chapters have already demonstrated, the criminal justice system is not always experienced as a level course of events for those involved. It cannot be ignored that sometimes those who control various segments of the justice system are unjust. A defendant can become a victim of their bias, corruption, ignorance, error, and indifference. When this occurs, it is referred to as a miscarriage of justice.

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