Friday, August 10, 2007

A sobering look at wrongful conviction

Stuart Taylor, Innocents in Prison

Police and/or prosecutorial misconduct appears to figure in more than half of the 205 convictions that DNA has proven false. Specific reasons for those convictions are catalogued in "Judging Innocence, " a study by Brandon Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia, slated for publication in January in the Columbia Law Review. Mistaken eyewitness identifications -- often due to police subtly pointing witnesses toward the people the cops suspect -- figured in 79 percent of these false convictions. Flawed or corrupt testimony by scientific "experts" (about hair, blood types, and the like) figured in 55 percent. False confessions, mostly by juvenile defendants, figured in 16 percent.

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