Categories: Criminal Law
Instructor(s) Findley, Keith, Lichstein, Byron
Hundreds of wrongly convicted people in the United States have been exonerated by postconviction DNA testing in the past two decades. Hundreds more have been exonerated by other types as evidence as well. As a consequence, wrongful convictions have emerged as a serious concern in the criminal justice system. This course examines the rise of the Innocence Movement and the lessons learned from the wrongful convictions cases. The course examines the causes or recurring features of wrongful convictions, including eyewitness identification error, false confessions, flawed forensic science, and others. The course then considers the way the legal system responds to such errors; it examines legal avenues for postconviction relief, including both state-based remedies and federal habeas corpus; and it considers the obstacles to and availability of compensation for wrongful convictions. Both practice and policy implications of error in the criminal justice system are examined.