Sunday, December 10, 2006

False Convictions For Those Sentenced To Death?

So often when people bring up false convictions, they talk about maliciousness as if that is the only cause. The implication is that those who report crimes are the ones mostly to blame for false convictions. Nowhere does this belief seem to be stronger than when discussing rape.

The perceived solution to this problem is almost always a call for lax enforcement of rape laws or a removal of rape victim shield laws. If only we'd stop protecting alleged rape victims, no innocent men would be sent to prison.

But Injustice Anywhere has a post about faulty assumptions about the forensics of how to determine whether a fire was the result of arson. Those assumptions are now in question and may have led to thousands of false convictions. Maybe even the execution of the innocent.

That means that the assumptions about wrongful rape convictions must be thrown out and replaced by the data of how wrongful convictions really happen.

Blaming the victim might be easy, but easy isn't always accurate.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:03 AM   2 comments links to this post


At December 10, 2006 1:11 AM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Dear Marcella,
It is interesting to know about the issues around false assumptions.
I am personally finding more people do want to not really address the true issues around reporting sexual assaults. No rape victim want to file a false rape report, and when it happens we need to address the reasons. It truly is only hurting the women who do come forward. In is easier to blame the victim, as you mention easy isn't always right!
Take care

At December 13, 2006 7:46 PM, Anonymous Enyonam said...

I've enjoyed several of your posts recently over at Alas, including this one. I completely agree with you, especially the point which you (IIRC) made more explicitly in the comments there, about how much more vociferous protests are to false rape convictions (and possible false rape accusations or allegations) than about any other kind.

Rape is primarily a male-on-female crime, and one that, simply put, makes men look bad. That's why the same men who do their best to "prove" that rape is a less-committed or less important crime than it really is are the same ones who spend so much energy focusing on the men who may not be racist - because it takes the attention away from those who are. They're not nearly so interested in false arson convictions; after all, even if most arson is disproportionately committed by men (I don't know if it is or not), no one is suggesting that male privilege is the cause - or that men have to give up some of that privilege if they really want a society free of arson.


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