Causes of Wrongfully Convicted Research

Wrongful conviction is one of the problems facing the United States criminal justice system. Many suspects have been wrongfully convicted because of falsified evidence shoddy investigations. Many officers are impatient and therefore, conduct substandard investigations that fail to provide enough evidence. In order to close cases, many police officers falsify evidence and coach witnesses on what to say in court. This has resulted in the wrongful conviction of many suspects. Louis Scarcella and Detective Chmil are examples of police officers who orchestrated wrongful convictions during their tenure in office. Many of their cases are under review by Brooklyns district attorney. Exoneration of suspects takes place after additional evidence proving the innocence of suspects is presented in court.


A major issue of concern within the U.S. criminal justice system is the wrongful conviction of suspects. In many cases, innocent individuals are wrongfully convicted because of insufficient evidence owing to improper investigations (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013). Many police officers have been accused of falsifying evidence. Some suspects are exonerated after additional evidence is presented in court. Lack of patience and thorough investigations are the main reasons why individuals are wrongfully convicted (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013). Police officers lack the patience to conduct thorough investigations and wait for DNA results from government laboratories. Their main motivation is to close cases as fast as possible. In order to achieve this goal, they force suspects to give false confessions, pressure witnesses to make identifications of suspects and rely on information from the media (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013). One of the police officers accused of orchestrating wrongful convictions is Louis Scarcella.

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Louis Scarcella

Louis Scarcella is a retired police officer who orchestrated wrongful convictions in Brooklyn in the 1980s and the 1990s (Weichselbaum, 2013). He served under a homicide unit whose responsibility was to investigate murder cases in the Brooklyn area. At the height of his career, Scarcella and his unit investigated more than 500 cases of murder annually (Robles, 2013). The unit was very controversial because of the high number of wrongfully convicted individuals who were later exonerated. In 2013, Scarcella and his partner were accused of wrongfully arresting suspects without conducting thorough investigations and orchestrating their convictions (Weichselbaum, 2013). The accusation tarnished their reputation significantly. They were accused of lying and cheating in order to . They did that as a way of gaining notoriety and improving their reputation. For instance, in 2013, a man that had been arrested by Scarcella was set free after the judge hearing the case exonerated him. The man had been in jail for 23 years. That case resulted in many more complaints that prompted Brooklyns District Attorney (Charles Hynes) to reopen other cases for review. Hynes reopened 56 cases of individuals who had been convicted during the tenure of Scarcella (Weichselbaum, 2013). Scarcella was also accused of gross misconduct. Witness cajoling and falsification of evidence were common in the cases that Scarcella had dealt with.

Detective Chmil

Scarcellas partner, Detective Chmil was also accused of conducting shoddy investigations that led to the wrongful conviction of innocent individuals. A Manhattan group known as the Exoneration Initiative demonstrated detective Chmils shoddiness in the cases he handled. The group pinpointed several inconsistencies in Chmils cases that could have resulted in the conviction of innocent individuals. In 2013, the group had more than 300 hundred cases to review (Robles, 2013). According to the group, Detective Chmils name was mentioned severally in the cases. His name appeared more times than the name of any other detective. The groups main aim was to review closed cases in the Brooklyn area for possible inconsistencies. According to witnesses and convicts, Chmil was good at faking evidence and training witnesses on what to say in court (Robles, 2013). He persuaded witnesses to change their stories in order to incriminate certain suspects. On many occasions, Chmil has defended the work they did with Scarcella. However, he has confessed to making several mistakes in the past with regard to arresting innocent criminals (Robles, 2013). On his part, Scarcella has denied any wrongdoing and refuted the claims that many of his cases involved wrongful convictions (Hays, 2013). Scarcella argues that the high rate of murder in Brooklyn could not have been dealt with without making mistakes. According to Chmil, his work was transparent and he never pushed innocent people to jail. Scarcella and Chmil joined the police force in 1986 and they were later deployed to work together under the North Brooklyn homicide squad (Hays, 2013).

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