At times, our criminal justice system fails innocent individuals. In the past, there were frequent cases of false rape convictions. Although false convictions today are less frequent, they still occur. Learn about the history of false convictions for rape and why they still happen.
A Glimpse in the Past
Decades ago, it was difficult to know if a rape occurred. Although a woman might report it, science could not verify the account of the incident. As a result, there were some false accusations. The court had few ways of proving whether or not the incident occurred.
If you’re looking for statistics on wrongful rape convictions, then you’re out of luck. It’s difficult to determine how many wrongful rape convictions occurred in the past. Some individuals may still be in jail for a crime they did not commit. However, there are some records of false rape convictions. Since 1989, there were 52 sexual assault cases where men were exonerated as a result of false accusations. There may be many more cases, but no one knows about them.
Consider the story of Randolph Arledge. In 1981, the police accused him of murdering and raping a 21-year-old woman. Although there was almost no evidence that Arledge committed the crime, the court found him guilty of rape and murder. His conviction occurred because of the testimony of two of his accomplices in a robbery. In exchange for a plea deal, the accomplices testified that Arledge raped and murdered the woman.
However, the evidence showed otherwise. After spending an extra 14 years in prison for the crime, Arledge was exonerated. DNA testing proved that he did not rape the woman.
Why Do They Still Occur?
Prior to DNA testing, false rape convictions were more common. However, the advancement of technology would make it seem as if false convictions were things of the past. Unfortunately, that is not the case. False convictions still occur.
It’s impossible to say for certain why these wrongful convictions take place. However, there are a few theories that help to explain it.
1. Racial Bias Does Exist
Unfortunately, there is still some racial bias in the police force. As a result, the police may be more likely to try and convict a minority suspect than a Caucasian one. And that bias doesn’t only stay in law enforcement. When an accused man stands in front of a jury, the jury may be biased. Even without sufficient evidence against an individual, they could issue a guilty verdict because of the color of his skin.
Although racial bias isn’t always the cause of a wrongful conviction, it does play a part. The color of your skin could hurt you in court. Ultimately, it could cause a false conviction.
2. Coerced Confessions
Law enforcement is far from perfect. Sometimes, they don’t adhere to procedures and policies. When police interrogate a suspect, they are expected to follow the rules. One of those rules is not forcing a confession. However, some officers ignore this rule. They use tactics to force a confession out of a suspect.
A coerced confession could involve an officer threatening a suspect. For example, he might threaten to arrest a close friend if you don’t confess. To protect your friend, you might make a false confession. In some rape cases, forced confessions put innocent men behind bars.
3. Poor Legal Representation
If you want a good chance against rape charges, then you need a great lawyer. However, some individuals don’t have the ability to hire a great lawyer. In such situations, the individual can suffer.
You need quality legal representation if you want to beat rape charges. Because the court takes rape very seriously, the state does everything that they can do to get a conviction. Whether you are innocent or guilty, you need an experienced lawyer to represent you in court. Only then can you have a strong case that can sway a jury not to convict you. Ill-equipped legal representation can send an innocent man to jail with a rape conviction.
4. Science Isn’t Perfect
Although DNA testing is rather accurate, science is not perfect. For whatever reason, forensic evidence could cause a wrongful conviction. All evidence can experience tampering. For example, a lab technician could purposefully taint a sample. Or, an innocent mistake in the lab could cause an inaccurate result.
Because of the room for error, science doesn’t always achieve justice. Some individuals could get false rape convictions because of inaccurate science.
Fighting False Rape Convictions
Rape convictions come with strict penalties. If you find yourself finding a rape charge, then you need to hire experienced legal representation. Without the help of a lawyer, you could be at the mercy of the legal system. This doesn’t always mean justice. Instead of being a victim of a false conviction, fight for your freedom. A lawyer can help you get a good outcome.