Wrongful Conviction of Mark Diaz Bravo

Topic: LawLaw Enforcement
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Last updated: February 18, 2019

Mr. Mark Diaz Bravo was on his normal duties as a nurse at the metropolitan State hospital in Los Angeles on 20 February, 1990, when a long time patient in the hospital informed a guard that she had been raped. The lady gave out some names of the people she deemed suspects during an interview with the hospital authorities. She included Bravo’s name as one of the most suspected people behind the attack. The following morning Bravo was arrested and charged with rape.

He maintained that he was not involved in the crime since he left the hospital at around 11;00 am that morning and he had returned later in that afternoon after attending several meetings till 3:00 pm. He went ahead to assert that he even went home after that day’s work without knowledge of what had taken place that day.Although the defense attorney had asked for DNA testing to be carried out by the district attorney’s office on the items that were in the scene of the crime before the trial, the prosecution during the trial argued that there was no request for DNA testing before trial and he therefore asked the court to continue without the DNA tests. Eventually, the court convicted Bravo and subsequently sentenced him to eight years in prison.The only evidence brought forward by the prosecution was a blanket that was in the crime scene. It had some traces of male biological deposits with the blood found in only 3% of the people suspected, with Bravo included. False testifies by the analysis indicated that only 1.

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5 % of the male people possessed that blood type. This resulted to the jurors believing that there was double statistic probability than it was really thought to be initially. This piece of evidence was strengthened by the identification of the victim.

The prosecution of the Bravo case based its argument on several issue; Bravo had been named by the victim as her assailant as well as the identification she made in the court during the trial; Mark Diaz bravo had made some misrepresentation of himself in his previous job applications as well as business cards; Bravo’s blood type was consistent to the blood tests that were performed on a blanket near the scene of crimeBravo’s efforts to make appeal all the way to the California Supreme Court were disaccorded. Later, the State Supreme Court denied chance of examining new evidence and subsequently upheld Bravo’s conviction. On October 1993, the case was sent back to the Los Angeles Supreme Court.  Post conviction motions were allowed and DNA testing was conducted.

The testing was done on a blanket, sheet and a pair of panties which were taken from the scene of crime. On December 24, 1993, the results were released indicating that none of the stains were matching with the DNA profile of Bravo as well as the rape victim. Bravo’s advocate filed a writ of habeas corpus on January 4, 1994.Consequently Bravo’s conviction as the perpetrator was withdrawn followed by an order by the Supreme Court Judge on January 6, 1994 to have bravo released immediately.

The judge stated that Mr. Bravo did not get a fair trail, that the victim had recanted her testimony and that the DNA test had proved irrefutable. The charges against Bravo were dropped consequently on January 7, 1994 and Bravo was released from prison after spending three years there of his sentence (James, 1996, p.564).This case of rape was certainly horrible for the victim and her family, but arresting and convicting the wrong person for the crime he did not commit makes him a victim too while the actual perpetuator is still walking free in the streets and perhaps continuing to terrorize other people with the same acts or more violent and serious crimes. The law enforcement   officers ought to have considered what the victim of the crime has to say, the events that happened to her, the approach made to the victim, what the perpetrator said, what weapons he had if any as well as the demeanor of the victim as she was talking about the crime; she was in shock state, or if she was cooking up the evidence.

They ought to consider that the said perpetrator would spend his time in prison by their words. The law enforcement officers together with the prosecutors also have to understand that there are challenges as well as problems that usually prevail in the criminal justice system prior to fixing anything (Cassell, 2004, p. 657).There are more than hundreds innocent defendants already serving their jail terms.

Some reports have indicated that about 25 per cent of the innocent defendants in jail were convicted wrongly even prior to availability of forensic DNA typing. It is the obligation of the court and the entire criminal justice system to decide whether these people should continue being incarcerated or order the testing of DNA. If they are found innocent, then they should be set free and the actual perpetrators traced, prosecuted and hanged! To accomplish this law, there is the needs to cater for the law suits that are filed upon the criminal justice system for wrongful imprisonment and the establishment of law to cater for millions of dollars that are needed for DNA testing. This DNA technology can be utilized within the current legal framework in undoing previous injustices.

This can be worked together to avoid wrongful conviction of the past as well as creating a new possible better system of convicting the current and future perpetrators of the crimes.Through out the Criminal justice system there are several cases of wrongful conviction just like Bravo’s with some convicts being exonerated from death row. Some jurors feel quite sure of guilt of they have declared the convict should be in prison.

The lack of sufficient evidence, the misconduct as well as the illogical theory brought by the prosecution are suspicious of wrongful conviction and needs appellate intervention to throw out such kind of flawed conviction.The Criminal justice system is best perceived as an approach to search for fair justice. Its ruling posses direct impacts to the concerned as well as the trust of the public to the system. To make improvement on the efficiency of the system; the forensic utilization of DNA would become crucial in the search for such justice. DNA technology development assists prosecutors as well as the police in the war against crime. It helps prosecutors to conclusively find the defendant’s guilt. Just like figure prints, DNA evidence provides the prosecutors with crucial tools in identifying and apprehending some violent crime perpetrators especially in sexual assault cases.

DNA assists in searching for facts by exonerating the innocent suspect. Some times the criminal justice system happens to be less infallible, with some cases in search for the truth taking a tortuous way. Some people who don’t plead guilty are convicted and subsequently sentenced to long term prison terms. The same people later on challenges their convictions by use of DNA tests on the prevailing evidence and end up gaining their freedom after serving some years in prison (Choo, 1993, p. 75).

DNA profiling introduction has made some significant revolution in the criminal justice system. It has granted the police and courts a way of finding crime perpetrators with degree of confidence. Initially the only methods utilized analyzing genetic marker of the blood and other body fluids included the absorption-elution test, the lattes test and the absorption-inhibition test. ABO blood group substances and ABO iosantibidies were the only ones that could be detected in biological stain evidence. With time the system adopted the electrophoretic approach for typing polymorphic proteins that included esterase D, glyoxalase, phosphoglucomutase and hemoglobin. Although these methods had the capability of narrowing down the possible source of biological stain evidence, they usually did not give the result due to deterioration of the genetic marker and ended producing erroneous results.DNA have been used significantly to advance the biological stain evidence analysis including for some reasons such as; its molecule has more stability than polymorphic  proteins, it has more chances of exonerating wrongly accused suspects and that microbial degradation never results to wrong results.

DNA profiling has even led to reopening and examining the old cases. Using this new technology, people convicted of murder as well as rape have had the chance to have their cases reopened and reexamined.A research study carried out by the institute of Law and Justice identified 28 cases where DNA testing resulted to exoneration of individuals initially convicted of rape as well as murder.

DNA profiling has also been crucial in correcting injustice where the information initially was anecdotal. The DNA profiling research results ought to give strong arguments in assisting law enforcement agencies in creating DNA laboratories for testing. DNA profiling advent would go a long way in cubing miscarriages of justice. Mary suspects who are wrongly accused would be exonerated in the first stages of testing of physical evidence even before considering prosecution. In addition to all of these, DNA would require adequate legal counsel to make consultations with competent scientific experts.The DNA profiling should not be used selectively.

There should be sufficient time to carry out the testing as well as dealing with the challenge of the cost of carrying out the test. It is important for the law enforcement agencies to see to it that all possibilities have the support of DNA testimony and jurors need being conscious of the information before making crucial decisions like guilty verdict (Pattenden, 1996, p. 98).There is also the need to allow relevant, reliable and qualitative expert opinion.

The random match probability in DNA testing is quit remote if a reliable mutinous match is provided. The experts need to testify from their pervious experience if they have awareness of the random matches and if the if a certain sample of evidence matches another to a certain logical degree of scientific certainty. Since the DNA have more degree of certainty, it should be treated differently fro other modes such as fingerprints, hair and fiber samples, ballistics and shoe prints.

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