The American criminal justice system enforces our laws and keeps watch over us – but who is watching the system? Award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger examines the state of America’s criminal justice system.
The 6th amendment to the US Constitution guarantees every American the right to a speedy and public trial before an impartial jury, and the right to a defense attorney.
What the 6th amendment does not lay out are rules for law enforcement and prosecution.
So what happens when officials face intense pressure to close cases and get convictions in a time of rampant violent crime? What systems are in place to make sure the guardians of justice are not cutting corners, railroading suspects through a criminal justice system that is set up to heavily favour the “good guys?”
In this episode of The System, we highlight two cases: the ongoing efforts of parolee Derrick Hamilton to clear his name after 20 years for a murder conviction fraught with alleged police and prosecutorial misconduct; and another in Queens that seems to have the earmarks of prosecutorial misconduct but is not yet proven.