Skip to main content arrow-down arrow-tail-right arrow-triangle-right calendar camera compass download email eye facebook flag mail phone pin play send square-right tag twitter youtube badge message

The Inevitability of Error: the Administration of Justice in Death Penalty Cases

  • 24 Jul 2014

In June 2014, DPP published a report on wrongful convictions in capital cases entitled: The inevitability of error: The administration of justice in death penalty cases. The report was published in association with the Centre for Criminology at Oxford University, the Centre for Prisoners’ Rights in Japan and the University of Virginia School of law and was launched at events held in Puerto Rico and Japan.

The report provides a global snapshot of cases and research findings of wrongful convictions from Japan, the United States, Taiwan, the Commonwealth Caribbean, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom.  The report was motivated in part by the recent case of Iwao Hakamada in Japan, who was released from death row earlier this year having served the last 47 years in solitary confinement awaiting execution after or new evidence came to light. This case has caused a measure of public disquiet and has once again demonstrated that wrongful convictions happen and that no country is immune. The reality is that there is no perfect criminal justice system and error is inevitable.

International norms impose exacting standards in death penalty cases so as to reduce the possibility of wrongful convictions, but the findings and examples in this report leave no doubt that miscarriages of justice cannot be eliminated altogether carrying the risk that innocent persons will be executed wherever the death penalty is imposed.

Download the report

The report is also available in Japanese.

Related media articles:

DNA clears North Carolina inmates after 30 years in prison , The Guardian, 2 September 2014

Japanese man freed after 45 years on death row, The Guardian, 27 March 2014

Military Court exonerates Chiang Kuo-Ching, Taipei Times, 14 September 2011

Latest news

Moving Away From the Death Penalty in Guyana
Read More
Why John Hayes MP is so wrong on the death penalty
Read More
Malaysia could lead way in abolishing death penalty
Read More
Launch of new resource: ‘Sentencing in Capital Cases’
Read More
Juvenile offender released in Belize after Caribbean Court of Justice quashes murder conviction
Read More
DPP returns to Taiwan with Keir Starmer QC MP
Read More
Moving away from the mandatory death penalty
Read More
Keir Starmer visits Taiwan to lobby against death penalty
Read More
New project will seek to build movement for abolition of the death penalty in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States
Read More
Simons Muirhead and Burton LLP recognised for its commitment to The Death Penalty Project
Read More
Sajid Javid has betrayed our values by giving way on the death penalty
Read More
Caribbean Court of Justice strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados
Read More
Moving away from the death penalty in Zimbabwe - has the time come for change?
Read More
New opinion study shows Zimbabwean public ready to accept death penalty abolition
Read More
All prisoners serving life sentence in Belize to be re-sentenced following major decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice
Read More
Split Decision (Private Eye on the JCPC's judgment in Jay Chandler)
Read More
UK judges uphold death sentence of Trinidad prisoner despite him “more likely than not” having serious mental illness
Read More

Stay up-to-date with our work