Download This Paper Open PDF in Browser

A Damning Cascade of Investigative Errors: Flaws in Homicide Investigation in the USA

Fiona Bookman & Ed Maguire, eds., The Handbook on Homicide, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, Forthcoming

Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-02

48 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2015 Last revised: 25 Jan 2016

Deborah Davis

University of Nevada, Reno

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2015

Abstract

This chapter explores the investigative errors, prosecutorial misconduct, and flawed police procedures that are often the cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. The authors discuss the difficulty of the criminal investigative process and the inevitable infusion of bias during investigations, giving specific examples of the cognitive and motivational biases that may permeate both investigations and trials. The authors argue that judgment about specific evidence is both shaped by, and itself shapes, judgments of other evidence, which may lead to an escalation of errors during the course of an investigation. In order to reduce these procedural errors, the United States must consider certain reforms, such as removing forensic testing units from police departments, prohibiting the introduction of trial evidence based on invalid or untested forensic methods, and reforming the interrogation process.

Keywords: criminal law, criminal procedure, wrongful convictions, interrogation, prosecutorial misconduct, criminal investigation, forensic science, forensic testing

Suggested Citation

Davis, Deborah and Leo, Richard A., A Damning Cascade of Investigative Errors: Flaws in Homicide Investigation in the USA (November 1, 2015). Fiona Bookman & Ed Maguire, eds., The Handbook on Homicide, Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, Forthcoming ; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2016-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2693354

Deborah Davis (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Reno ( email )

Reno, NV 89557
United States

Richard A. Leo

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
185
rank
142,764
Abstract Views
756