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Convicting the Innocent


  1. DNA Evidence of Innocence (
      " We work to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through postconviction DNA testing; and develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions. This Project only handles cases where postconviction DNA testing can yield conclusive proof of innocence." 12-02

  2. False Confessions - A Modern History of Interrogation Law (FindLaw - Irsay)
      "Confessions are one of the most powerful tools in a prosecutor's arsenal, but how far are police allowed to go to get them? Critics and advocates of current police tactics agree that the goal of interrogation is to elicit voluntary and truthful information. They also agree that there are far more gray areas than clear lines when it comes to the rules of interrogations." 12-02

  3. False Confessions from False Memories (Hulford)
      Describes how false memories are created, especially memories resulting in false confessions. 12-02

  4. Pro and Con Essays on the Death Penalty (Office of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney)
      Provides carefully selected essays for and against the death penalty. 6-00

  5. Race and Class Bias in Use of the Death Penalty (Office of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney)
      Provides carefully selected resources. 6-00

  1. -03-10-09 Eyewitnesses and Justice (CBS News)
      "Wells has been studying eyewitness memory for 30 years. He says when the real guy isn't there witnesses tend to pick the person who looks most like him." 03-09

  1. DNA Evidence Clears Prisoners After 59 Years in Prison (CBS News)
      "A lab's review of certain biological samples, which previously had led to the exoneration of three men linked to rape cases, has found that two additional men have been wrongly convicted of sexual assault, the governor's office said Wednesday."

      "Marvin Anderson, Arthur Lee Whitfield and Julius Ruffin, who were all wrongfully convicted of separate rapes in the 1980s, were freed after Burton's samples were found in their case files in 2001 and DNA testing revealed they were not the perpetrators. The three served a combined 59 years behind bars." 12-05

  2. Death Penalty (Michigan State University)
      Provides resource materials for examining pro and con arguments related to the death penalty. 1-01

  3. Editorial: Why the Death Penalty Is Dying (
      "There are several reasons we seem to be moving toward de facto abolition of the death penalty. A major one has been the growing number of inmates on death row who have been exonerated 139 and counting since 1973, according to a list maintained by the Death Penalty Information Center. Even many people who support capital punishment in theory balk when they are confronted with clear evidence that innocent people are being sentenced to death." 01-12

  4. Eyewitnesses - Suggestions for Improvement (National Science Foundation - Frontiers)
      "Noting a recent National Institute of Justice study that evaluated cases of prisoners who were released from prison after they were exonerated with DNA evidence, Wells pointed out that, in 24 of the 28 cases studied, people had been wrongly convicted based on faulty eyewitness accounts."

      "Researchers are steadily acquiring data that demonstrate that false identifications can be easily produced. 'If a witness says the suspect had dark, curly hair and only one person in the lineup fits that description, that individual could be falsely identified,' says Wells." 10-02

  5. False Confessions (
      "Of the 110 exonerations due to post-conviction DNA evidence in recent years, 27 included confessions as evidence, according to the non-profit legal clinic Innocence Project. 'That number is really shocking,' said Richard Ofshe, a leading expert on false confessions and University of California at Berkeley professor. Systemwide, no one knows how often phony confessions occur." 04-06

  6. Innocent Man Executed? (CNN News)
      "A Texas state board is set Friday to revisit questions surrounding a controversial 2004 execution, with supporters of the man's family warning the panel is trying to bury its own critical review of the case." 07-10

  7. Sneakers Help With Crime Detection (
      "I attended a Future of Forensics meeting in London yesterday, and the quote of the day came from computer image specialist Nigel Allinson. 'Luckily, criminals wear trainers [sneakers],' he explained."

  8. Tainted Evidence Wreaks Havoc in Courts and on Lives (Christian Science Monitor)
      "Across the country, the criminal justice system is grappling with the fallout from decades of faulty analysis in criminal cases that may have resulted in thousands of wrongful convictions." 05-15

  9. Washington Sniper Attacks and Tips for Eyewitnesses of Violent Events (
      "Personal safety comes first. If you hear the sound of a gunshot, get down and/or seek cover. Look in the direction of the sound. Make a mental note of persons or vehicles in that area." Make note of the more permanent characteristics of the persons, such as height and weight and the more permanent characteristics of the vehicles, such as make and model. Do not talk to other witnesses or reporters before giving your description to the authorities. 8-02


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