1) Eyewitnesses are highly reliable - research shows that eyewitness identifications are unreliable as they occur under stressful situations. Mistaken eyewitness testimony has resulted in wrongful convictions all across the Country.
2) Fingerprint evidence is foolproof - if latent fingerprint evidence is not handled properly (smearing of fingerprints, etc.), the identification process becomes more art than science. Fingerprint Examiners have a significant error rate when tested by rigorous scientific methods.
3) Innocent people never confess - this is something most people can't conceive, how someone would admit to committing a crime they never committed, but it happens often as a result of age, emotional exhaustion, a keen desire to end the ordeal, etc.
4) Police handle investigations objectively - each Police Officer has lived a life prior to becoming a Police Officer and therefore come to the job with preconceived notions about people, certain areas of town, etc. It's impossible to think that these notions never come into play during their time on the job.
5) Guilty Pleas are proof of a person's guilt - as for many crimes, people often plead guilty to get out of jail, get back to their kids, jobs, and simply trying to maintain what little they have. Incarcerations often lead to people losing their homes and jobs, which in turn leads to more crimes just to make ends meet. With that being said, many people plead to sentences in lieu of setting cases for a hearing or trial in order to prevent the total devastation of their lives as they know it.
This blog post is an edited excerpt of Alex Kozinski's article "Criminal Law 2.0," which was published at 44 Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure, at iii (2015).
If you are in need of criminal defense services, please contact Tawanda Williams Law Office, PLLC at 901-206-8200.