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Wrongful conviction

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Unreliable Forensic Science, Sarah Ciuffetelli Sep 2023

Unreliable Forensic Science, Sarah Ciuffetelli

Quest

The Effectiveness of Forensic Science

Research in progress for CRIJ 1301: Introduction to Criminal Justice

Faculty Mentor: Stefanie LeMaire

Sarah Ciuffetelli uses critical thinking to examine the effectiveness of forensic sciences during criminal investigations. The assignment requires students to find the most prominent scholarly research in forensic sciences and discuss its efficacy. Further, the research leads students to discuss the potential limitations investigators must consider when examining forensic evidence. Lastly, students find at least six scholarly sources to provide an in-depth analysis of the research.

Sarah begins by discussing the history of forensic science and the ever-increasing technology used in …


Remarks On Manifesting Justice: Wrongly Convicted Women Reclaim Their Rights, Amber Baylor, Valena Beety, Susan Sturm Jun 2023

Remarks On Manifesting Justice: Wrongly Convicted Women Reclaim Their Rights, Amber Baylor, Valena Beety, Susan Sturm

Articles by Maurer Faculty

The following are remarks from a panel discussion co-hosted by the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law on the book Manifesting Justice: Wrongly Convicted Women Reclaim Their Rights.


The Contribution Of Forensic Science To Wrongful Convictions: An Analysis Of Forensic Expert Testimony, Parker Gunter May 2023

The Contribution Of Forensic Science To Wrongful Convictions: An Analysis Of Forensic Expert Testimony, Parker Gunter

Honors Theses

The purpose of this study was to explore the progression and potential improvement of forensic science in court. Errors is forensic science have contributed to the problem of wrongful convictions, but research surrounding forensic expert testimony over the last decade is lacking. The way that an expert explains evidence in court is important to gain a broader understanding for how forensic science may fail. The testimonies of forensic experts were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively to further understand the shortcomings in the field at the end of its journey through the criminal justice system. The results showed that the testimonies …


Learning From Mistakes, Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe Apr 2023

Learning From Mistakes, Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe

Washington and Lee Law Review

Much of the attention following the reversal of a defendant’s wrongful conviction focuses on the role the police or the prosecutor played in perpetuating the injustice. To the extent that the public defender institution’s role is considered, it is often limited to its failure to provide effective assistance of counsel. This Article challenges the conventional wisdom that the public defender institution’s role in addressing a wrongful conviction is limited to ineffective assistance of counsel claims and ends once a wrongful conviction is reversed. At minimum, the legal profession’s mandate for competent representation requires public defenders, and the institutions that house …


How The Conviction And Sentencing Of "Tiger Mandingo" Modernized Missouri's Hiv-Related Statutes In 2021, Ryan Jay Mcelhose May 2022

How The Conviction And Sentencing Of "Tiger Mandingo" Modernized Missouri's Hiv-Related Statutes In 2021, Ryan Jay Mcelhose

Journal of Law and Health

Michael Johnson or “Tiger Mandingo” as he referred to himself on social media, engaged in sexual acts with six different men, all of whom claimed that Michael lied about living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). As a result, the State of Missouri charged him with recklessly infecting a partner with HIV exposing or attempting to expose another with HIV. With contradictory trial testimony, no genetic fingerprint testing, and little to no questioning of his sexual partners’ credibility, the jury found Michael Johnson guilty of five felony counts which resulted in a 30-year prison sentence. Ultimately the Missouri Court of Appeals …


Fostering Equity And Accountability In Georgia’S Criminal Legal System Through Conviction Integrity Reforms, E. Addison Gantt, Meagan R. Hurley Apr 2022

Fostering Equity And Accountability In Georgia’S Criminal Legal System Through Conviction Integrity Reforms, E. Addison Gantt, Meagan R. Hurley

Mercer Law Review

An often-quoted excerpt from Berger v. United States sums up the role of a prosecutor in the criminal legal system. The context is the federal system, but it applies across the board. It begins by explaining the duty of a prosecutor: to represent the sovereign, “whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.”2 Then, it turns to the real-world application of that role, instructing that prosecutors should present their cases with …


The Appellate Judge As The Thirteenth Juror: Combating Implicit Bias In Criminal Convictions, Andrew S. Pollis Jan 2022

The Appellate Judge As The Thirteenth Juror: Combating Implicit Bias In Criminal Convictions, Andrew S. Pollis

Faculty Publications

Research has documented the effect that implicit bias plays in the disproportionately high wrongful-conviction rate for people of color. This Article proposes a novel solution to the problem: empowering individual appellate judges, even over the dissent of two colleagues, to send cases back for retrial when the trial record raises suspicions of a conviction tainted by the operation of implicit racial bias.

Factual review on appeal is unwelcome in most jurisdictions. But the traditional arguments against it, which highlight the importance of deference to the jury’s fact-finding powers, are overly simplistic. Scholars have already demonstrated the relative institutional competency of …


Complicated Mercy: Compensating The Wrongfully Convicted In Georgia, Elizabeth O'Roark Jan 2022

Complicated Mercy: Compensating The Wrongfully Convicted In Georgia, Elizabeth O'Roark

Georgia Law Review

An exoneree’s story does not end when they walk out of prison and back into society. After spending years in prison for a crime they did not commit, the exoneree must rebuild a life with years of lost income, little credit, and no retirement. Georgia is one of the few states that does not have a statute setting out how to fairly and efficiently compensate its exonerees. Exonerees must instead ask state representatives to present a resolution to the General Assembly. If the resolution passes through both chambers of the legislature, then the exoneree can receive some compensation for the …


Official Misconduct And Error Correction Mechanisms In Exonerated Death Penalty Cases, Kamali'ilani Theresa Elizabeth Wetherell May 2021

Official Misconduct And Error Correction Mechanisms In Exonerated Death Penalty Cases, Kamali'ilani Theresa Elizabeth Wetherell

UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones

There has been an average of approximately 3.9 death penalty exonerations annually in the United States since 1973 (DPIC, 2021). Wrongful convictions and executions constitute grave and irreversible errors. Studies show official misconduct is one of the leading causes for wrongful convictions and exonerations. Misconduct by police, prosecutors, and judges includes a wide range of behaviors such as coercing confessions, depriving rights to legal counsel, threatening witnesses, and concealing evidence. Operating under the due process model, the adversarial legal system is designed to detect and prevent any procedural violations of defendant’s rights, including official misconduct. Utilizing Packer’s (1964) due process …


The Ethics Of Interrogation: How Unethical Interrogations Lead To False Confessions And What It Means For The Criminal, Janelle Havens Apr 2021

The Ethics Of Interrogation: How Unethical Interrogations Lead To False Confessions And What It Means For The Criminal, Janelle Havens

Criminology Student Work

Forensic interrogation is a vital step in the process of criminal investigations in order to extract information about suspects and the crime at hand. However, tunnel vision, artificial time constraints, lack of thorough training, and noble-cause corruption can influence how an investigator decides to interrogate a suspect or witness. When these influences are exerted on an investigator, the need to secure an arrest and conviction overpowers the need for justice - this results in false confessions and wrongful convictions. This is otherwise known as “the end doesn't justify the means” mindset. This causes investigators to engage in unethical interrogations, whether …


Young, Black, And Wrongfully Charged: A Cumulative Disadvantage Framework, Emily Haney-Caron, Erika Fountain Apr 2021

Young, Black, And Wrongfully Charged: A Cumulative Disadvantage Framework, Emily Haney-Caron, Erika Fountain

Dickinson Law Review (2017-Present)

The term wrongful conviction typically refers to the conviction or adjudication of individuals who are factually innocent. Decades of research has rightfully focused on uncovering contributing factors of convictions of factually innocent people to inform policy and practice. However, in this paper we expand our conceptualization of wrongful conviction. Specifically, we propose a redefinition that includes other miscarriages of justice: A wrongful conviction is a conviction or adjudication for someone who never should have been involved in the juvenile or criminal legal system in the first place. Although there are various miscarriages of justice that might appropriately be categorized under …


Are Federal Exonerees Paid?: Lessons For The Drafting And Interpretation Of Wrongful Conviction Compensation Statutes, Jeffrey S. Gutman Mar 2021

Are Federal Exonerees Paid?: Lessons For The Drafting And Interpretation Of Wrongful Conviction Compensation Statutes, Jeffrey S. Gutman

Cleveland State Law Review

In this third of a series of articles on wrongful conviction compensation statutes, Professor Jeffrey Gutman tackles the first statute attempted to be passed in the United States – the federal wrongful conviction compensation statute. Championed in concept by Edwin Borchard, it was in fact poorly drafted, and recommendations by Attorney General Homer Cummings to improve it were only partly successful. This Article retraces the long legislative history of the statute which is dotted with sloppy language and reasoning, unexplained amendments and an unfortunate focus on who was not to benefit from it, rather than who was. This tangled legislative …


Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks Jan 2021

Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article presents a unique argument: police misconduct records should be accessible and applicable for pre-trial criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, the existing narrative on the value of police misconduct records is narrow because it exclusively considers how these records can be used to impeach officer credibility at trial. This focus is limiting for several reasons. First, it addresses too few defendants, since fewer than 3% of criminal cases make it to trial. Second, it overlooks misconduct records not directly addressing credibility—such as records demonstrating paperwork deficiencies, failures to appear in court, and “mistakes” that upon examination are patterns of abuse. Finally, …


Righting The Wrongfully Convicted: How Kansas's New Exoneree Compensation Statute Sets A Standard For The United States, Scott Connolly Mar 2020

Righting The Wrongfully Convicted: How Kansas's New Exoneree Compensation Statute Sets A Standard For The United States, Scott Connolly

St. John's Law Review

(Excerpt)

Part I of this Note will document the increasing prevalence of exonerations and provide a perspective on how significantly the landscape of postconviction justice has developed since the late 1980s. Such developments include DNA testing, greater awareness of false confessions, and a more thorough understanding of the unreliability of eyewitnesses. Part II will demonstrate the devastating impact that wrongful imprisonment has on exonerees. Finally, Part III of this Note will provide a snapshot of the current landscape of exoneree compensation laws. It will highlight the fact that many of the laws that exist do not provide sufficient resources and …


As Pertains To The Criminal Justice System, Is Hindsight 20/20?, Syndie G. E. Molina, Cristina Negrillo Jan 2020

As Pertains To The Criminal Justice System, Is Hindsight 20/20?, Syndie G. E. Molina, Cristina Negrillo

Journal of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

No abstract provided.


The Central Park Five As “Discrete And Insular” Minorities Under The Equal Protection Clause: The Evolution Of The Right To Counsel For Wrongfully Convicted Minors, Todd K. Beharry Jan 2020

The Central Park Five As “Discrete And Insular” Minorities Under The Equal Protection Clause: The Evolution Of The Right To Counsel For Wrongfully Convicted Minors, Todd K. Beharry

Journal of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

No abstract provided.


The Inconvenience Of Justice: How Unmitigated Official Misconduct Almost Destroyed The Lives Of Five Young Boys From Harlem, Stefania Bordone, David Wright Jan 2020

The Inconvenience Of Justice: How Unmitigated Official Misconduct Almost Destroyed The Lives Of Five Young Boys From Harlem, Stefania Bordone, David Wright

Journal of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity

No abstract provided.


Finding Justice, Hannah Miller Dec 2019

Finding Justice, Hannah Miller

Capstones

Finding Justice tackles the devastation caused by wrongful conviction through the journey of Jeffrey Deskovic. After serving 16 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Deskovic has strived to rebuild his life. The film follows him as he finishes law school and runs a foundation that frees the wrongfully convicted, all while dealing with lingering trauma.


Outside The Echo Chamber: A Response To The “Consensus Statement On Abusive Head Trauma In Infants And Young Children, Randy Papetti, Paige Kaneb, Lindsay Herf May 2019

Outside The Echo Chamber: A Response To The “Consensus Statement On Abusive Head Trauma In Infants And Young Children, Randy Papetti, Paige Kaneb, Lindsay Herf

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Arrests As Guilt, Anna Roberts Jan 2019

Arrests As Guilt, Anna Roberts

Faculty Articles

An arrest puts a halt to one’s free life and may act as prelude to a new process. That new process—prosecution—may culminate in a finding of guilt. But arrest and guilt—concepts that are factually and legally distinct—frequently seem to be fused together. This fusion appears in many of the consequences of arrest, including the use of arrest in assessing “risk,” in calculating “recidivism,” and in identifying “offenders.” An examination of this fusion elucidates obstacles to key aspects of criminal justice reform. Efforts at reform, whether focused on prosecution or defense, police or bail, require a robust understanding of the differences …


Smoke But No Fire: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted Of Crimes That Never Happened, Jessica S. Henry Dec 2018

Smoke But No Fire: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted Of Crimes That Never Happened, Jessica S. Henry

Jessica S. Henry

Nearly one-third of exonerations involve the wrongful conviction of an innocent person for a crime that never actually happened, such as when the police plant drugs on an innocent person, a scorned lover invents a false accusation, or an expert mislabels a suicide as a murder. Despite the frequency with which no-crime convictions take place, little scholarship has been devoted to the subject. This Article seeks to fill that gap in the literature by exploring no-crime wrongful convictions as a discrete and unique phenomenon within the wrongful convictions universe. This Article considers three main factors that contribute to no-crime wrongful …


Ending Innocence Denying, Lara Bazelon Dec 2018

Ending Innocence Denying, Lara Bazelon

Hofstra Law Review

Prosecutors, the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system, also have the most difficult job: they must be "ministers of justice." A prosecutor's core mission is to vindicate the truth, rather than strive to "win" by accumulating a track record of convictions. When evidence somes to light suggesting that a wrongful conviction has occurred, a prosecutor's ethical obligation requires admitting to a terrible mistake and working to undo it. Many conscientious prosecutors accept this responsibility and confess to their errors. But too many do not. They insist, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that wrongfully convicted …


Smoke But No Fire: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted Of Crimes That Never Happened, Jessica S. Henry Apr 2018

Smoke But No Fire: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted Of Crimes That Never Happened, Jessica S. Henry

Department of Justice Studies Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works

Nearly one-third of exonerations involve the wrongful conviction of an innocent person for a crime that never actually happened, such as when the police plant drugs on an innocent person, a scorned lover invents a false accusation, or an expert mislabels a suicide as a murder. Despite the frequency with which no-crime convictions take place, little scholarship has been devoted to the subject. This Article seeks to fill that gap in the literature by exploring no-crime wrongful convictions as a discrete and unique phenomenon within the wrongful convictions universe. This Article considers three main factors that contribute to no-crime wrongful …


Debunked, Discredited, But Still Defended: Why Prosecutors Resist Challenges To Bad Science And Some Suggestions For Crafting Remedies For Wrongful Conviction Based On Changed Science, Aviva A. Orenstein Jan 2018

Debunked, Discredited, But Still Defended: Why Prosecutors Resist Challenges To Bad Science And Some Suggestions For Crafting Remedies For Wrongful Conviction Based On Changed Science, Aviva A. Orenstein

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Flawed science has significantly contributed to wrongful convictions. Courts struggle with how to address such convictions when the mistaken science (such as bogus expert claims about the differences between accidental fires and intentionally set ones) significantly affected the guilty verdict but there is no DNA evidence to directly exonerate the accused. My short piece explores why prosecutors often defend bad science. Mistakes in science tend to serve the prosecution, but there are other more subtle factors that explain prosecutors’ reluctance to address flawed forensic testimony. Such reluctance may arise from fondness for the status quo and a resistance to subverting …


Convictions Of Innocent People With Intellectual Disability, Sheri Johnson, John H. Blume, Amelia Courtney Hritz Jan 2018

Convictions Of Innocent People With Intellectual Disability, Sheri Johnson, John H. Blume, Amelia Courtney Hritz

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In Atkins v. Virginia, the Supreme Court held that executing individuals with intellectual disability violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment. In addition to concerns over culpability and deterrence, the Court’s judgment in Atkins was informed by the heightened “risk of wrongful execution” faced by persons with intellectual disability. This essay explores that question both anecdotally and quantitatively, hoping to illuminate the causes of wrongful conviction of persons with intellectual disability. We provide examples from our experiences in the Cornell Death Penalty Clinic and cases brought to our attention by defense attorneys. We also present data …


Wrongful Convictions, Constitutional Remedies, And Nelson V. Colorado, Michael Wells Jan 2018

Wrongful Convictions, Constitutional Remedies, And Nelson V. Colorado, Michael Wells

Scholarly Works

This article examines the U.S. Supreme Court’s Nelson v. Colorado opinion, in which the Court addressed the novel issue of remedies for persons wrongly convicted of crimes. Governments routinely deprive criminal defendants of both liberty and property upon conviction, and do so before giving them a chance to appeal their convictions and sentences. When a conviction is overturned, the state typically refunds fines and most other monetary exactions but seldom compensates for the loss of liberty. In Nelson, the Supreme Court addressed an unusual case in which the state did not return the money and that refusal was approved (purportedly …


Commissioning Innocence And Restoring Confidence: The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission And The Missing Deliberative Citizen, Mary Kelly Tate Jul 2017

Commissioning Innocence And Restoring Confidence: The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission And The Missing Deliberative Citizen, Mary Kelly Tate

Maine Law Review

Since 1989, the United States has witnessed 289 DNA exonerations, with exonerees serving an average of thirteen years in prison. Although DNA an its unmatched power for the conclusive results is what brought popular attention to wrongful convictions, the scope of the problem is vastly larger than the number of known DNA exonerations. The actual number of convicted individuals who are factually innocent is unknown. The state of North Carolina has recently responded to this national crisis via a newly created state agency. This essay applauds North Carolina’s response, but urges that ordinary citizens, qua jurors, be active participants in …


An Empirical Reexamination Of State Statutory Compensation For The Wrongly Convicted, Jeffrey S. Gutman Apr 2017

An Empirical Reexamination Of State Statutory Compensation For The Wrongly Convicted, Jeffrey S. Gutman

Missouri Law Review

In Part II, I discuss the cases of Kirk Odom and Santae Tribble brought under the D.C. Act. Those recent cases offer insight into how two different judges approached the difficult remedial questions presented. They also demonstrate how dramatically most statutes undercompensate claimants. In Part III, I describe how I drew data provided by the National Registry of Exonerations, and many other sources, to document which exonerees filed state compensation claims and how those claims were decided. The resulting data show the percentages of exonerees who filed claims and were awarded compensation and the costs of such awards. In Part …


Richards Ii Takes A Bite Out Of Forensic Science, Michelle Cornell-Davis Jan 2017

Richards Ii Takes A Bite Out Of Forensic Science, Michelle Cornell-Davis

Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Law Of Abolition, Kevin M. Barry Jan 2017

The Law Of Abolition, Kevin M. Barry

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

Three themes have characterized death penalty abolition throughout the Western world: a sustained period of de facto abolition; an understanding of those in government that the death penalty implicates human rights; and a willingness of those in government to defy popular support for the death penalty. The first two themes are present in the U.S.; what remains is for the U.S. Supreme Court to manifest a willingness to act against the weight of public opinion and to live up to history’s demands.

When the Supreme Court abolishes the death penalty, it will be traveling a well-worn road. This Essay gathers, …