chapter  9
32 Pages

Tunnel Vision, Belief Perseverance and Bias Confi rmation: Only Human? Chrisje Brants

Over the past years, four major cases of wrongful conviction have shocked the Netherlands. There are probably others and there are certainly cases in the public domain that are dubious, although those convicted have not (yet?) been exonerated. The miscarriages of justice represented by these four cases-that did, eventually, end in exonerations-were not all directly due to the same type or combination of mistakes. There was police incompetence and police misconduct; unethical behavior on the part of prosecutors and expert witnesses; failure to disclose; misunderstandings about expert evidence; false confessions; and courts believing improbable theories. In one case there was no mistake at all in a legal or procedural sense-except that the defendant went to jail for a crime that never took place.1