In Examining Wrongful Convictions: Stepping Back, Moving Forward, the premise is that much can be learned by “stepping back” from the focus on the direct causes of wrongful convictions and examining criminal justice systems, and the sociopolitical environments in which they operate. Expert scholars examine the underlying individual, systemic, and social or structural conditions that may help precipitate and sustain wrongful convictions, thereby “moving forward” the related scholarship.
“Examining Wrongful Convictions is a book that has no equal. With full and up-to-date chapters dedicated to the unique vulnerability of adolescents, insufficiently protected; the enabling role of a “muddled” news media, including the internet; the plight of African Americans; the invisible and often pernicious effects of adversarialism; the mechanisms of plea bargaining, now responsible for 97% of convictions; psychological perspectives on miscarriages of justice; public policy implications; and the methods of empirical research that can be used to study innocence; this book is destined to become that kind of book that all judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, criminal justice professionals, and social scientists interested in innocence will find indispensable.” — Saul Kassin, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, The John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NYC
“This book offers the most comprehensive and insightful treatment of wrongful convictions to date. Thanks to the exhaustive nature of this compilation, the reader will miss neither the forest nor the trees. The contributions span disciplines and domains, leading the reader from the level of concrete biases and errors of individual legal actors to structural features of the system that impede its overall performance. The book’s particular strength lies in the latter domain, highlighting the sociopolitical environment—the wars on drugs and crime, the culture of punitiveness, and racial animus—and accentuating the shortcomings of the legal process itself—the plea mill, excesses of adversarialism, prosecutorial culture, stunted discovery rules, and the paltry remedial powers of appellate and collateral review. The book opens the door to further research and to the generation of novel ideas for increasing the accuracy of criminal verdicts.” — Dan Simon, Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology, Gould School of Law, University of Southern California
“We’ve learned a huge amount about wrongful convictions in the past twenty years. It’s impossible to summarize all this work in a single volume, but Examining Wrongful Convictionsdoes a first rate job of surveying the field and peering into the future. A well-written and wide-ranging collection of essays by many of the best scholars in the field, this book is an excellent introduction to the rapidly changing body of research and writing on the causes, the effects and the means of preventing convictions of innocent criminal defendants.” — Samuel Gross, University of Michigan Law School, Editor of the National Registry of Exonerations
“The book lets the reader look at innocence research through a fresh lens, understanding innocence theory, rooted in the past and looking forward, focusing on new issues like innocence and racism, justice system culture, the adversary system, plea bargaining, false confessions, juvenile behavior, and the American punitive wars on drugs and crime. More importantly, the approach of Examining Wrongful Convictions: Stepping Back, Moving Forward helps to formulate a framework of knowledge that learns from the limitations of the past and creates a strong theoretical foundation for the future. This is a guide in all social science studies, not just research on innocence, for integrating science and practice in formulating reform policies.” — Leona Jochnowitz, Criminal Law Bulletin 52 NO 2