Wrongful convictions may be high on a person's mind when they are charged with a crime in Texas. While many people grow up with a belief in the fairness of the criminal justice system, that belief can be easily challenged through firsthand experience or by learning about some of the prominent cases of wrongful conviction that have taken place. Some exonerations make major news, especially when DNA is used to show that a person convicted years ago of a serious crime like rape or murder is actually innocent. However, most wrongful convictions to not attract the level of attention given to these key cases.
The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a case that could have implications for Texas residents and other Americans. The question in the case is whether police can obtain location information collected by cellphones and stored by service providers. Carpenter v. United States involves criminals who stole smartphones from Radio Shack locations in Ohio and Michigan. After stealing the phones, they were then sold on the black market.
There has long been a racial divide in Texas among people who are charged with crimes. Numerous studies have shown that blacks are arrested and charged with crimes disproportionately over whites even though both races have an equal likelihood of engaging in criminal conduct. A new study shows that institutional racism also extends into the justice system, affecting plea offers, sentences and bonds.
The juvenile justice system is very different in nature than the criminal justice system, as anybody who works in the field can tell you. The primary approach in the criminal justice system is to punish offenders so as to deter criminal activity and to protect society from those who are dangerous or threatening.