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Criminal justice systems around the world depend on their ability to accurately convict the guilty, yet wrongful convictions still occur regularly. The current study compares the causes of wrongful convictions in Canada, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, and New Zealand. These countries were chosen because they have established Innocence Projects as well as public legal databases that allow for a retroactive legal analysis of criminal cases in each of these countries. This study uses both quantitative and qualitative methods with a greater focus on quantitative methods. Data will be collected through a content analysis coding sheet, allowing for themes to emerge throughout the data collection process. The data will then be analyzed to determine the most common causes of wrongful convictions in each of the given countries. Secondly, any recommendations that arise from the cases in any of the countries will be analyzed. The goal of this second portion of the study is to see if any successful recommendations could be implemented in the Canadian criminal justice system. The ultimate objectives of this research are to a) determine the main causes of wrongful convictions in the countries being studied, b) compare these rates to the other countries in the study, c) determine what, if any, recommendations arose from these cases, and d) lastly, if any of these recommendations could be implemented in a Canadian setting to reduce the number of wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice in the future.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Gail Anderson, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University
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