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Wrongful conviction

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 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 …


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, …


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 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 …


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 …


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 …


Voices On Innocence, Lucian E. Dervan, Richard A. Leo, Meghan J. Ryan, Valena Elizabeth Beety, Gregory M. Gilchrist, William W. Berry Jan 2016

Voices On Innocence, Lucian E. Dervan, Richard A. Leo, Meghan J. Ryan, Valena Elizabeth Beety, Gregory M. Gilchrist, William W. Berry

Law Faculty Scholarship

In the summer of 2015, experts gathered from around the country to sit together and discuss one of the most pressing and important issues facing the American criminal justice system – innocence. Innocence is an issue that pervades various areas of research and influences numerous topics of discussion. What does innocence mean, particularly in a system that differentiates between innocence and acquittal at sentencing? What is the impact of innocence during plea bargaining? How should we respond to growing numbers of exonerations? What forces lead to the incarceration of innocents? Has an innocent person been put to death and, if …


The Truth Might Set You Free: How The Michael Morton Act Could Fundamentally Change Texas Criminal Discovery, Or Not, Gerald S. Reamey Jan 2016

The Truth Might Set You Free: How The Michael Morton Act Could Fundamentally Change Texas Criminal Discovery, Or Not, Gerald S. Reamey

Faculty Articles

Michael Morton spent twenty-five years in a Texas prison for the murder of his wife, a crime he always denied committing. Following investigation aimed at proving that he was innocent, blatant prosecutorial misconduct came to light. Potentially exculpatory evidence had been hidden by the District Attorney in the case, allowing the actual killer to remain free to kill another victim before finally confessing to his crime. The attention this case attracted brought to light the stingy and discretionary discovery options available to criminal defendants in Texas, who were relegated to hoping that prosecutors would allow access to information in their …


Voices On Innocence, Lucian E. Dervan, Richard A. Leo, Meghan J. Ryan, Valena Elizabeth Beety, Gregory M. Gilchrist, William W. Berry Jan 2016

Voices On Innocence, Lucian E. Dervan, Richard A. Leo, Meghan J. Ryan, Valena Elizabeth Beety, Gregory M. Gilchrist, William W. Berry

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In the summer of 2015, experts gathered from around the country to sit together and discuss one of the most pressing and important issues facing the American criminal justice system – innocence. Innocence is an issue that pervades various areas of research and influences numerous topics of discussion. What does innocence mean, particularly in a system that differentiates between innocence and acquittal at sentencing? What is the impact of innocence during plea bargaining? How should we respond to growing numbers of exonerations? What forces lead to the incarceration of innocents? Has an innocent person been put to death and, if …


2015 Symposium: Wrongful Convictions: Science, Experience & The Law Keynote Panel Discussion, Mary Kelly Tate Jan 2016

2015 Symposium: Wrongful Convictions: Science, Experience & The Law Keynote Panel Discussion, Mary Kelly Tate

Law Faculty Publications

The following is a minimally-edited transcript of the panel speakers from the 2015 Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest Symposium, Wrongful Convictions: Science, Experience and the Law held on October 29, 2015. Biographies of the speakers are included in the Introductory Remarks. None of the opinions of these persons are necessarily the opinion of their respective agencies or employers. They are not to be used nor will they be able to be used for any legally binding purpose regarding the speaker or any agency.

Moderator: Professor Mary Kelly Tate, Director, Richmond Institute for Actual Innocence

Panelists: Shawn Armbrust …


He Jiahong, Back From The Dead: Wrongful Convictions And Criminal Justice In China, Stanley B. Lubman Jan 2016

He Jiahong, Back From The Dead: Wrongful Convictions And Criminal Justice In China, Stanley B. Lubman

Hong Yen Chang Center for Chinese Legal Studies

1In 1987, Teng Xingshan was sentenced to death for raping a woman and dismembering her body; wrongfully convicted, he was executed in 1989 – but in 1992 the “victim” returned home, and Teng was exonerated in 2005. His case is only one among numerous other tragic wrongful convictions discussed in Back From the Dead: Wrongful Convictions and Criminal Justice in China, by Professor He Jiahong (Renmin University Law School, Beijing). This book, the product of ten years of research, is a scholarly analysis of wrongful convictions that demonstrates deep system-wide flaws in China’s criminal justice system.


Contemporary Perspectives On Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction To The 2016 Innocence Network Conference, San Antonio, Texas, Gwen Jordan, Aliza B. Kaplan, Valena Beety, Keith A. Findley Jan 2016

Contemporary Perspectives On Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction To The 2016 Innocence Network Conference, San Antonio, Texas, Gwen Jordan, Aliza B. Kaplan, Valena Beety, Keith A. Findley

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Innocent people have been convicted of crimes they did not commit throughout history. The exact number of wrongful convictions is unknowable. In 2014, however, the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) released a study of the cases of criminal defendants who were convicted and sentenced to death and concluded that 4.1% were wrongfully convicted. The researchers explained that “this is a conservative estimate of the proportion of false conviction among death sentences in the United States.” According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1,561,500 adults were incarcerated in federal prisons, state prisons, and county jails in 2014, …


Wrongful Convictions And Upstream Reform In The Criminal Justice System, Kate Kruse Jan 2015

Wrongful Convictions And Upstream Reform In The Criminal Justice System, Kate Kruse

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores the viability of upstream criminal justice reforms within the context of an adversary and procedural system of criminal justice, focusing on reforms in eyewitness identification procedures. Mistaken eyewitness identification evidence is often cited as the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. Eyewitness identification reforms have also been the most developed upstream efforts to grow out of the innocence movement. The success and limitation of upstream reform in eyewitness identification shed light on the efficacy of upstream criminal justice system reform more generally, as well as in areas that are less developed, such as the …


Legal Affairs: Dreyfus, Guantánamo, And The Foundation Of The Rule Of Law, David Cole May 2013

Legal Affairs: Dreyfus, Guantánamo, And The Foundation Of The Rule Of Law, David Cole

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Dreyfus affair reminds us that the rule of law and basic human rights are not self-executing. In a democracy, individual rights and the rule of law are designed to check popular power and protect the individual from the majority. Yet paradoxically, they cannot do so without substantial popular support. Alfred Dreyfus received two trialsor at least the trappings thereofand was twice wrongly convicted. The rule of law was initially unable to stand between an innocent man and the powerful men who sought to frame him. But the issue of Dreyfus's guilt or innocence was not …


Junk Science And The Execution Of An Innocent Man, Paul C. Giannelli Jan 2013

Junk Science And The Execution Of An Innocent Man, Paul C. Giannelli

Faculty Publications

Cameron Todd Willingham was tried and executed for the arson deaths of his three little girls. The expert testimony offered against him to establish arson was junk science.

The case has since become infamous, the subject of an award-winning New Yorker article, numerous newspaper accounts, and several television shows. It also became enmeshed in the death penalty debate and the reelection of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who refused to grant a stay of execution after a noted arson expert submitted a report debunking the “science” offered at Willingham’s trial. The governor then attempted to derail an investigation by the Texas …


Four Reforms For The Twenty-First Century, Barry C. Scheck Jan 2013

Four Reforms For The Twenty-First Century, Barry C. Scheck

Articles

What follows are my top four suggestions for judicial action and advocacy that can result in urgently needed and readily achievable reforms. Ass the American Judicature Society and its members consider their agenda and mission for the coming years, each of these issues deserves their support.


Waiving Innocence, Samuel R. Wiseman Feb 2012

Waiving Innocence, Samuel R. Wiseman

Scholarly Publications

No abstract provided.


False Justice And The “True” Prosecutor: A Memoir, Tribute, And Commentary, Mark A. Godsey Jan 2012

False Justice And The “True” Prosecutor: A Memoir, Tribute, And Commentary, Mark A. Godsey

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This article is a review of False Justice: Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent by Jim and Nancy Petro. But this article is also a memoir, in that I tell the story, from my own perspective as Director of the Ohio Innocence Project, of how I have watched Jim Petro go from prosecutor and elected Attorney General of Ohio to a leading champion of the wrongfully convicted across the nation. The article is also a commentary in that, along the way, I address what makes Jim Petro so different from many prosecutors in this country. In this respect, I discuss …


Wrongfully Convicted: The Overrepresentation Of The Poor, Susan Rutberg Jan 2011

Wrongfully Convicted: The Overrepresentation Of The Poor, Susan Rutberg

Publications

Professor Susan Rutberg introduced a panel of her students who presented papers, each focused on an individual cause of wrongful convictions and a proposed solution to this identified problem. The panel illustrated how law school students can use the lens of their inexperience to articulate straightforward approaches that might reduce the circumstances that produce wrongful convictions and alleviate some of the hardship such convictions cause.


Wrongfully Incarcerated, Randomly Compensated - How To Fund Wrongful-Conviction Compensation Statutes, Deborah M. Mostaghel Jan 2011

Wrongfully Incarcerated, Randomly Compensated - How To Fund Wrongful-Conviction Compensation Statutes, Deborah M. Mostaghel

Publications

It is sadly true that there are people in this country who are sentenced to prison, and even death, for crimes they did not commit. Some have been exonerated and released, largely as the result of innocence projects that have helped prisoners assemble DNA evidence that shows they were not the perpetrators. Some have been exonerated years after they died in prison. Many others are no doubt never exonerated. For a wrongfully convicted person, exoneration is the end of one road but only the beginning of another. Unbelievably, exonerees starting out on the road back to society find that they …


Wrongful Conviction Claims Under Section 1983, Martin A. Schwartz, Robert W. Pratt Jan 2011

Wrongful Conviction Claims Under Section 1983, Martin A. Schwartz, Robert W. Pratt

Scholarly Works

No abstract provided.


In Praise Of The Guilty Project: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Growing Anxiety About Innocence Projects, Abbe Smith Jan 2010

In Praise Of The Guilty Project: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Growing Anxiety About Innocence Projects, Abbe Smith

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

There is nothing more compelling than a story about an innocent person wrongly convicted and ultimately vindicated. An ordinary citizen is caught up in the criminal justice system through circumstances beyond his or her control, spends many years in prison, and then one day, with the assistance of a dedicated lawyer, is freed.

Often, when DNA is behind a vindication, not only is the innocent person exonerated but the true perpetrator is identified. This is a significant achievement even though it can also lead apologists for the system—even police and prosecutors implicated in the wrongful conviction—to proudly declare that the …


The State Of Rule 3.8: Prosecutorial Ethics Reform Since Ethics 2000, Niki Kuckes Apr 2009

The State Of Rule 3.8: Prosecutorial Ethics Reform Since Ethics 2000, Niki Kuckes

Law Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Introduction: Symposium On Remedies For Exonerated Prisoners, Jack M. Beermann Apr 2009

Introduction: Symposium On Remedies For Exonerated Prisoners, Jack M. Beermann

Faculty Scholarship

Exoneration of wrongfully convicted prisoners is not a new thing, but it seems to be more common with advances in the availability and utility of DNA evidence. Given the number of exonerations that have occurred in recent years, it is increasingly difficult to dismiss inmates’ ubiquitous claims of innocence. Is it still a safe assumption that the vast majority of claims of innocence are false? Do we trust that post-conviction and appellate procedures will sort the wheat from the chaff?

Regardless of how we answer the questions raised above, there is one question society must answer—how should the wrongfully convicted …


Correcting Injustice: Studying How The United Kingdom And The United States Review Claims Of Innocence, Lissa Griffin Jan 2009

Correcting Injustice: Studying How The United Kingdom And The United States Review Claims Of Innocence, Lissa Griffin

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This article examines the U.K. and U.S. systems to determine what lessons, if any, the United States can learn from the United Kingdom's experience. Part I provides a background of the CCRC and the U.K. Court of Appeal, and describes how these two entities work in tandem with broad powers to investigate and correct miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom. Part II takes an in-depth look at the Court of Appeal's decisions of CCRC referred cases and identifies five categories into which these decisions fall-- categories that exemplify the institutional mechanisms that facilitate review of miscarriages of justice. These …


Exacerbating Injustice, Stephanos Bibas Nov 2008

Exacerbating Injustice, Stephanos Bibas

All Faculty Scholarship

This brief essay responds to Josh Bowers' argument that criminal procedure should openly allow innocent defendants to plead guilty as a legal fiction. Though most scholars emphasize the few but salient serious felony cases, Bowers is right to refocus attention on misdemeanors and violations, which are far more numerous. And though the phrase wrongful convictions conjures up images of punishing upstanding citizens, Bowers is also right to emphasize that recidivists are far more likely to suffer wrongful suspicion and conviction. Bowers' mistake is to treat the criminal justice system as simply a means of satisfying defendants' preferences and choices. This …


The Dilemma Of The Criminal Defendant With A Prior Record - Lessons From The Wrongfully Convicted, John H. Blume Sep 2008

The Dilemma Of The Criminal Defendant With A Prior Record - Lessons From The Wrongfully Convicted, John H. Blume

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

This article examines challenges the conventional wisdom that an innocent defendants will testify on their own behalf at trial. Data gathered from the cases of persons subsequently exonerated due to DNA evidence demonstrates that factually innocent defendants do not testify on their own behalf at substantially higher rates than criminal defendants generally. Why? The primary reason is that many of these individuals had been previously convicted of a crime, and they did not testify at trial because of the risk that their credibility would be impeached with evidence of the prior record and, despite any limiting instruction the court might …