A growing number of media accounts have highlighted issues with the criminal justice system, especially concerns about wrongful convictions, loss of the presumption of innocence, and equal treatment under the law. To better understand these concerns, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity commissioned a national telephone survey to assess the public’s knowledge and opinions regarding prosecutor ethics.
Calls were placed June 3-5, 2013 to 9,876 landline telephones during the period June 3-5, 2013. An average of 993 persons responded to each question.
The survey reveals a substantial majority of persons have doubts about the fairness of the American criminal justice system. These are the highlights:
- Over two-fifths (42.8%) of the respondents say prosecutor misconduct is widespread
- Over seven in 10 (71.8%) believe new laws are needed to curb prosecutor misconduct
- Two-thirds (66.8%) think the presumption of innocence is becoming lost in our nation’s legal system
- Three-quarters (74.8%) worry our legal system often does not follow the rule of ‘equal treatment under the law’