Ralph Armstrong Case Study Outline
Specific Thesis Statement: Evaluation of psychological torture related to the wrong imprisonment caused by injustices occurring in the criminal justice system.
Thesis: The judicial justice system needs reforms in its operation to ensure it includes a recommendation on defense practice, exculpatory evidence, embraces eyewitness identification, avoids false confession, minimizes forensic error, and eradicates weak prosecution evidence.
The study has demonstrated that many innocent people are convicted of criminal cases and end up being imprisoned for it (Harmon, 2019). Some cases are not reported, or the victims lack someone to make a follow-up. Thus, it affects a person’s mental health, and the purpose of imprisonment is wrongly utilized in such cases. Weak judicial evidence used during judgment contributes to wrong convictions (Carl, 2020). Also, relying on misinformation and assumption has led to the imprisonment of innocent people.
The crime that happened was that of Charise Kamps, a University of Wisconsin student was murdered in her room within the university apartment, which was believed to be through strangling. She did not have any cloth and was facing down on the bed. Police investigations collected clothing as the evidence to be used against the suspects (Zalman, 2017). However, the police report found out that Kamps had previously taken alcohol and drugs with Ralph Armstrong. Ralph admitted that he had taken cocaine with Kamps that night before joining his friend somewhere else. During trials, forensic evidence showed that the hair that was collected from the victim’s body and around the house was similar to Armstrong’s hair (Scherr & Dror, 2020). The prosecutor further exaggerated the importance of evidence on the suspect when they found that there was a chemical in the body on Armstrong’s fingers and toes.
Problem Identification in the case
The primary issue with the case was the lack of physical evidence and overreliance on forensic findings that were subjective to the suspect (Zalman, 2016). Also, the witnesses are left to exaggerate information sharing in favor of the victims without having tangible evidence to support their claim, which should not be solemnly dependent when making judgments.
False or misleading forensic evidence contributes to all wrongful convictions nationally, representing 24 percent of the total reported cases (Kassin, 2015). Healthcare professionals make mistakes when they are conducting forensic analysis. Forensic errors have been regularly identified as the main cause of wrongful convictions. For instance, the research has shown that the suspects are the closest individuals who might be the last to be seen with the victim, but that does not mean they were the ones who were involved in the crime (Smith, 2020). Thus, the situation influences the outcomes of the case and leads to wrongful convictions.
Further, the psychological aspects play a role in criminal cases, especially with the belief that the victim’s conduct for the last time becomes the prime suspect (Bradford & Goodman-Delahunty, 2008). The argument based on this situation is that judges or police were not present at the scene and relied on the presented evidence to make a judgment (Jacobs, 2020). The psychological factor involved in the case of Armstrong includes personality where he engages in drugs, which implies that he can engage in criminal activities without being aware (Beigy, 2016). Social behaviors can influence the case outcome, considering that people taking drugs and alcohol are associated with criminal activities.
Beigy, S. (2016). Criminal Policy of Having Fair trial Components in the Criminal Justice System of Iran. Indian Journal of Law and Human Behavior, 2(2), 113-120. https://doi.org/10.21088/ijlhb.2454.7107.2216.8
Bradford, D., & Goodman-Delahunty, J. (2008). Detecting Deception in Police Investigations: Implications for False Confessions. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 15(1), 105-118. https://doi.org/10.1080/13218710701873932
Carl, A. (2020). Dead Wrong: Capital Punishment, Wrongful Convictions, and Serious Mental Illness. The Wrongful Conviction Law Review, 1(3), 336-363. https://doi.org/10.29173/wclawr16
Harmon, T. (2019). The Innocence Commission: Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice System. Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews, 38(3), 250-251. https://doi.org/10.1177/009430610903800324
Jacobs, J. (2020). How Is Criminal Justice Related to the Rest of Justice? Criminal Justice Ethics, 39(2), 111-136. https://doi.org/10.1080/0731129x.2020.1810511
Kassin, S. (2015). The Social Psychology of False Confessions. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9(1), 25-51. https://doi.org/10.1111/sipr.12009
Scherr, K., & Dror, I. (2020). Ingroup biases of forensic experts: perceptions of wrongful convictions versus exonerations. Psychology, Crime & Law, 27(1), 89-104. https://doi.org/10.1080/1068316x.2020.1774591
Smith, J. (2020). Disparity in Context: Judges’ Perspectives on Disparities in a Sentencing Guideline System. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology. https://doi.org/10.21428/88de04a1.52cab578
Zalman, M. (2016). Wrongful Convictions: A Comparative Perspective. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2899482
Zalman, M. (2017). Book Review: Daniel Medwed, Ed., Wrongful Convictions and the DNA Revolution: Twenty-Five Years of Freeing the Innocent. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3099678
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