What is unjust incarceration? There are many varying definitions pertaining to this topic. The principle definition from author Glenn Painter’s standpoint is when a person is convicted of a crime in a court of law, denying him or her rights under due process.
There are multiple injustices within the State and Federal court systems that show a total disregard for the laws of due process set forth in the United States Constitution.
The universal guarantee of due process is highlighted in the 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution and provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”, and is applied to all states by the 14th amendment.
There are many elements of fairness in all legal matters both civil and criminal. All matters in any legal proceeding must be followed so that no unequal treatment will result. Due process covers all rights of fundamental fairness. If any of these conditions are violated in both civil and criminal proceedings, it is illegal.
In other words, two wrongs DO NOT make a right.
The most notable of due process violations occurs when an innocent person who, for whatever reason, is unable to prove his/her innocence but is later proven not guilty and the conviction is overturned.
Did you know that in 2012 alone there were over eight hundred convictions overturned because of the issue of innocence? This is an astounding number and doubles the amount from 2011 with thousands more cases pending.
Any denial of due process rights warrants grounds for appeal (overturning one’s sentence). One must go to trial instead of plea-bargaining or give up the rights afforded to them by admitting to the court their guilt.