This course will involve the study of wrongful convictions, including an analysis of: 1) the factors that contribute to wrongful convictions; 2) the existing criminal procedures and constitutional protections that, in part, attempt to prevent wrongful convictions; 3) the current procedural mechanisms available to convicted individuals who seek to vacate wrongful convictions with new evidence; and 4) the reforms that have been proposed to address the causes of wrongful convictions.
We will use wrongful convictions as a window through which to study broader aspects of the criminal justice system. Each wrongful conviction represents a unique opportunity to examine not only what went wrong in the individual case, but also the opportunity to examine whether the case sheds light on systemic limitations in the criminal justice system. The course will rely extensively on case studies of exonerations to frame the issues.
The course will complement Criminal Adjudications and Criminal Investigations, but those courses are not prerequisites.