And Justice for all?

March 10, 2014, 9:34 AM GMT+0

Most Americans have high levels of trust in crime scene investigators, but lawyers face a generally skeptical public

The American justice system is currently undergoing a period of soul-searching, as it becomes increasingly clear that the justice system is convicting many more innocent people than previously thought. 2013 saw the most exonerations on record, with 87 people having their convictions overturned. The reasons behind these exonerations varies greatly, but many involve the police or prosecution acting unethically or even illegally.

According to the latest YouGov research, crime scene investigators are the only people that are trusted by most Americans (52%) to nearly or always do the right thing. People trust other people in the criminal justice system somewhat less. Americans trust lawyers the least out of everyone in the system. Just a quarter (25%) of Americans trust prosecutors to do the right thing the majority of the time, while even fewer (19%) trust defense attorneys to do the right thing nearly all the time. Interestingly, most Americans only trust juries to do the right thing 'some of the time', even though juries are the ones responsible for determining the innocence or guilt of people put on trial.

When asked what the biggest reason is for wrongful convictions, 34% say that incomplete evidence is the biggest reason. 15% say incompetent attorneys, while only 9% say either police or prosecutorial misconduct.

Most people (72%) do think that innocent people are wrongly convicted some of the time, due in part to the reasons above, but few say that it happens frequently.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty

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