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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wrongful Convictions 101

It is often difficult to find the words to explain to people the anatomy of a wrongful conviction. The reason for this is that society is generally conditioned to believe the system works, which is reinforced through television, media and the educational system. Thus, it is difficult to change their tunnel vision.

Part of the work we are doing to help overturn Efren's wrongful conviction entails educating the public about injustice in the criminal justice system at large. To help accomplish this we will begin regularly posting information about research studies which can be used to educate committee members and others about the myriad factors that result in wrongful convictions.

Knowledge is power. The more knowledgeable we become about the issues we advance, the greater impact we can have when conveying our mission.

Please take the opportunity to review these documents and links when time permits. Let us all be reminded that justice delayed is justice denied.

The following research studies are available to be reviewed or downloaded at no charge from The Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection. You can perform a search for author names or titles of the research papers to locate them. Their web site is

"Convicting the Innocent: Aberration or Systemic Problem" by Rodney Uphoff, Elwood L. Thomas Missouri Endowed Professor of Law, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law

"Up the River Without a Procedure: Innocent Prisoners and Newly Discovered Non-DNA Evidence in State Courts" by Daniel S. Medwed, Associate Professor of Law, University of Utah—S.J. Quinney College of Law

"Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction: Theoretical Implications and Practical Solutions" by Daniel S. Medwed, Associate Professor of Law, University of Utah—S.J. Quinney College of Law

"Convictions of Innocent Persons in Massachusetts: An Overview" by Stanley Z. Fisher, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law

"California Dreaming? The Golden State's Restless Approach to Newly Discovered Evidence of Innocence" by Daniel S. Medwed, Associate Professor of Law, University of Utah—S.J. Quinney College of Law

"The Multiple Dimensions of Tunnel Vision in Criminal Cases" by Keith A. Findley, Clinical Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School; Co-Director, Wisconsin Innocence Project; and Michael S. Scott, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School; Director, Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

"The Relationship Between Prosecutorial Misconduct and Wrongful Convictions: Shaping Remedies for a Broken System" by Peter A. Joy, Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic, Washington University School of Law in St. Louis

"Beyond Unreliable: How Snitches Contribute to Wrongful Convictions" by Alexandra Natapoff, Associate Professor, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

"Convicting the Innocent: An Empirically Justified Wrongful Conviction Rate" by D. Michael Risinger, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law

"How the Pretrial Process Contributes to Wrongful Convictions" by Andrew D. Leipold, Professor, University of Illinois College of Law

"Moving Down the Wedge of Injustice: A Proposal for a Third Generation of Wrongful Convictions Scholarship and Advocacy" by Andrew M. Siegel, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina School of Law