Critical Criminology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 21–37 | Cite as

Wrongfully Convicting the Innocent: A State Crime?



Although there is evidence of its occurrence in most criminal justice systems, wrongful conviction remains underdeveloped from a criminological perspective. The result of a confluence of factors and actors, wrongful conviction stands as evidence that criminal justice systems are not immune to error. Amongst the different circumstances in individual cases, the state (or those acting on its behalf) is one constant actor implicated in wrongful conviction of the innocent. Recognizing this consistency, wrongful conviction has the potential to be examined through existing understandings of state crime and enter more robust discussions within critical and orthodox criminology. By expanding upon existing arguments relevant to state crime, this article suggests a typology of wrongful conviction by placing it on a continuum of state crime from acts of omission to commission. In doing so, this article further develops a theoretical argument demonstrating the relevance of wrongful conviction within the state crime ‘spectrum’, adding to the understanding of the problem of wrongful conviction.


Justice System Criminal Justice System Crime Scene State Crime Tunnel Vision 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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