Andre Davis, convicted of rape and murder in Illinois, has been exonerated but once again, a prosecutor could not bring herself to apologize despite clearcut DNA evidence. This was just brought to my attention by Rob Warden, who provided the following link to the news story:
Two informative and interesting recent articles discuss the erosion of the Brady rule via the “due diligence” standard (could the defense have obtained the exculpatory evidence on its own?) and how discovery could be improved if the due diligence rule could be reconsidered and both prosecution and defense could, at least in the discovery phase, adopt one aspect of the continental/inquisitorial system: collaborate in a search for the truth with respect to discovery. Such collaboration is not without challenges for both prosecution and defense. These two articles, taken together, do an excellent job of examining the issues. Here are the citations: “Discovery from the Trenches: The Future of Brady” (UCLA Law Review Discourse 74 (2013) by noted scholar and commentator Laurie Levinson and “Prosecutors Hide, Defendants Seek: The Erosion of Brady Through the Defendant Due Diligence Rule (UCLA Law Review 138 (2012) by Kate Weisburd.
According to today’s issue of The Crime Report, the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police is sponsoring a conference where police chiefs will discuss their concerns about wrongful conviction. One of the keynote speakers will be Jennifer Cotton, who mistakenly identified Ronald Cotton as her rapist and who has subsequently co-authored a terrific book (Picking Cotton) about that case. Here is a link to The Crime Report‘s story about the conference:
All of us who care deeply about wrongful convictions and who oppose the death penalty lost an icon of both the innocence movement and the anti-death penalty movement last week, with the death of Hugo Adam Bedau. Bedau was widely regarded as the most articulate opponent of the death penalty and, along with his co-author, Michael Radelet, published a highly influential Stanford Law Review article, later expanded into a book (In Spite of Innocence, Northeastern University Press), focusing on wrongful convictions and the death penalty. That work was instrumental in causing the American public and its officials to give greater scrutiny to the death penalty, later resulting in the well-known moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois and moratoria and studies in other states. Here is the internet location of the New York Times obituary, written by William Yardley: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/us/hugo-bedau-philosopher-who-opposed-death-penalty-dies-at-85.html?_r=1&ref=williamyardley
Recently, the Albany Law Review published a special issue of the journal dedicated to articles focusing on the aftermath of wrongful convictions. As we all know, walking out of the prison gates after spending years being denied freedom does not necessarily result in immediate freedom. Freedom from what? In most cases, certainly, not freedom from financial needs; not freedom from housing needs; not freedom from employment needs; not freedom from psychological and social needs. The articles in this journal address many of those issues. I recommend it. Here is a link to that issue that will allow you to review each of the articles:
Just a heads up: A new book will be published later this year by Rutgers University Press. Title: Life after Death Row. Authors: Saundra Westervelt and Kimberly Cook. (Pre-order here) It is based on very detailed interviews and case histories of 18 exonerees who were wrongfully convicted of capital crimes and lived on death row. I had the pleasure of reviewing it for Rutgers Press prior to publication. It provides valuable insights into the challenges facing these exonerees following their release from prison. This book adds important information about a subject that has seldom been addressed, and I highly recommend it.