In the Criminal Justice system, the main goal is justice or in other words, a fair consequence to match a criminal action. An obvious, yet unmentioned underlying goal is to prevent injustice. Many times, justice prevails, and this is why our system prevails today. However, when justice fails, it is key to look at the information offered in order to better the system and to repay those that have been failed by it. One area that has shown itself as flawed is the area of interrogations though many other areas will be presented throughout this paper as well. By examining five cases involving questionable interrogation and showing other system flaws, I will enlighten others as to how our justice system handles its flaws, and hopefully I will provide motivation for further improvement.
To show an unbiased and educated examination of the five cases involving questionable interrogations, I will give information on the crime that occurred, the problems with the interrogations and other evidence, who is at fault for problems within the case, how the defendant was cleared (if he was), and the compensation and future changes that were a direct response to these cases provided that they occurred or are in the process of occurring. The five cases that I will examine involve the accused: George Allen, Hunter Johnson, Peter Reilly, Michael Crowe, and Reggie Clemons. Each case is significantly different yet showcases many acts of injustice within the justice system.
First and foremost, is the case of Peter Reilly. Peter Reilly was convicted of manslaughter at the age of nineteen in 1974 (Lender, 2011). Reilly had found his mother dead in their home (Lender, 2011). Peter Reilly was interrogated without legal council for over an entire day’s time (Boughton, 2004). After the prosecutor had died, evidence, which could have proven Reilly’s innocence, was found within his files, and Reilly was exonerated upon the prosecutor’s death (Boughton, 2004). Peter Reilly is now part of a bill that would require videotaping or recording of criminal interrogations (Lender, 2011).
In this case, not only was justice not served, but also an injustice occurred. An innocent man was put behind bars for a crime he did not commit. However, that is not the biggest issue. The prosecutor, who has since passed, did not reveal all evidence in order for a fair trial to occur. It is impossible to know whether this prosecutor withheld information in other cases for which he was responsible. If the criminal justice system is to move forward from this injustice, videotaped and recorded interrogations may very well be a step in the right direction. However, this was not the only person that withheld evidence in criminal cases.
In the case of George Allen, a man convicted thirty years ago in 1982 of murder and rape, there was absolutely no evidence or witness that linked the defendant to the crime (Rivas, 2012). Allen’s attorney never received lab findings, and once again, evidence was...