Posted: December 12, 2012 4:25 PM
The recent paperback release of Brandon Garrett’s Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong, has sparked a dialogue among a panel of scholars and writers on the website Concurring Opinions. The discussion—or online symposium—features Garrett’s book and other recent books about wrongful convictions by Stephanos Bibas, Daniel Medwed and Dan Simon. Contributing to the discussion is Innocence Project Eyewitness Identification Litigation Fellow Karen Newirth, who writes:
As the attorney responsible for the Innocence Project‘s work in the area of eyewitness identification, I have relied on Convicting the Innocent in my efforts to educate attorneys, judges and policy makers about the perils of misidentification and the flaws in the current legal framework for evaluating identification evidence at trial that is applied in nearly all jurisdictions in the United States. That legal framework, set forth by the Supreme Court in Manson v. Brathwaite, directs courts to balance the effects of improper police suggestion in identification procedures with certain “reliability factors” – the witness’s opportunity to view the perpetrator, the attention paid by the witness, the witness’s certainty in the identification, the time between the crime and confrontation and the accuracy of the witness’s description.
Garrett’s book, which uses trial transcripts to closely analyze the first 250 DNA exoneration cases, has helped to reveal the failings in the criminal justice system that led to these many wrongful convictions. The Innocence Project and Garrett collaborated in producing a series of videos that identify and describe the leading causes of wrongful convictions, called “Getting It Right.”
Read Garrett’s blog for the online symposium.
Read Newirth’s blog for the online symposium.
Check out our reading list for other books on wrongful convictions.
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