Category Archives: Events

The Marshall Project – Journalism for Justice

It’s been my belief that the media have done a “pretty good” job of making us aware of some of the flaws in the justice system   Just as an example, I believe their coverage of exonerations has been quite good.  But I also believe that one of the major obstacles to justice system reform is that the typical John and Jane Q. Public (aka: the electorate) are of the opinion that the justice system is just fine the way it is. Now there is a new group, with a new website, that is dedicated to seeing that journalism is perhaps even more active in addressing the issues with the justice system. This is The Marshall Project.

The Marshall Project’s mission statement speaks for itself, and appears below. (The bolding emphasis is mine.)

Mission Statement

The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization founded on two simple ideas:

1) There is a pressing national need for high-quality journalism about the American criminal justice system. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Spiraling costs, inhumane prison conditions, controversial drug laws, and concerns about systemic racial bias have contributed to a growing bipartisan consensus that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.  The recent disruption in traditional media means that fewer institutions have the resources to take on complex issues such as criminal justice. The Marshall Project stands out against this landscape by investing in journalism on all aspects of our justice system. Our work will be shaped by accuracy, fairness, independence, and impartiality, with an emphasis on stories that have been underreported or misunderstood. We will partner with a broad array of media organizations to magnify our message, and our innovative website will serve as a dynamic hub for the most significant news and comment from the world of criminal justice.

2) With the growing awareness of the system’s failings, now is an opportune moment to amplify the national conversation about criminal justice. We believe that storytelling can be a powerful agent of social change. Our mission is to raise public awareness around issues of criminal justice and the possibility for reform. But while we are nonpartisan, we are not neutral. Our hope is that by bringing transparency to the systemic problems that plague our courts and prisons, we can help stimulate a national conversation about how best to reform our system of crime and punishment.

We certainly welcome their contribution, and I look forward to following them.

 

Ricky Jackson Prison Release Video

On Wednesday, November 19, Nancy Petro reported on this blog about the exoneration of Ricky Jackson after 39 years in prison.  See that story here.

CNN has posted a great video of his release from prison.  See the 2 minute CNN video here.

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

  • RIP exoneree Darby Tillis
  • Chicago Tribune review of Parade, a musical about a wrongful conviction
  • How the criminal justice system fails the deaf community
  • A Catholic monsignor has been exonerated by the Vatican for alleged child abuse, after being suspended from the church for more than a decade.   [Editors note:  While I don’t know anything about this case, and whether this monsignor is innocent or guilty, knowing what I know about the criminal justice system and how we humans are prone to the witch hunt mentality (like we saw with the “Day Care Hysteria Cases“), I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the abuse cases against Catholic priests coming in the past 15-20 years are bogus.]

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

Today is the First International Wrongful Conviction Day…

Here are some of the groups holding events today, with links:

Canada—The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted: http://www.aidwyc.org/wcd-2014/

Canada—The Ontario Poetry Society: http://www.theontariopoetrysociety.ca/convicted.pdf

SSH Student Society (Canada) https://www.facebook.com/events/1495255117394681/?source=1

Canada—The University of Manitoba:       http://law.robsonhall.ca/events/icalrepeat.detail/2014/10/02/1125/36/distinguished-visitor-lecture-qconvicting-women-easy-to-do-well-nigh-impossible-to-undoq-speaker-kim-pate-an-event-to-mark-wrongful-conviction-day

Canada—Windsor Law, University of Windsor (Ontario): http://www.uwindsor.ca/law/409/wrongful-conviction-day

Illinois—Justice for the Illinois’ Wrongfully Convicted: https://sites.google.com/a/sihrg.org/solicitors-international-human-rights-group/Home

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/16874-wrongful-conviction-day-10-2

California—Humber School of Social and Community Services (California):             https://twitter.com/HumberSSCS/status/515136055818080256/photo/1

California Western School of Law https://www.facebook.com/events/1494548694148202/permalink/1494748220794916/

Ireland—Griffith College (Ireland):  https://www.griffith.ie/about-griffith/events/inaugural-wrongful-conviction-day-taking-place-griffith-college

Australia—Griffith University: http://www.griffith.edu.au/

California Anti-Junk Science Forensics Bill Signed Into Law

Mike Bowers, on his blog Forensics in Focus, has posted the news that a new “anti-junk science forensics” bill has been signed into law in California.

The law permits post conviction defendants the ability to contest expert testimony that was presented against them at trial. In other words, convictions in which experts have either repudiated their past testimony, or used forensic “science” that is later deemed faulty by legitimate research, are subject to later proceedings reversing that conviction.

This is a huge deal, because it prevents prosecutors and judges from just using old case law as an excuse for ignoring habeas corpus appeals expressing new forensic research and attitudes.

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

  • Ohio Innocence Project sues Columbus Police Department for release of records under Public Records Act, seeking clarification from Ohio Supreme Court over obligation of state to disclose files in old, post-conviction cases under investigation by OIP.
  • Irish Innocence Project now on Facebook
  • Ohio Innocence Project to celebrate 10-year anniversary and 17 released from prison at gala on October 25th
  • Midwest Innocence Project will partner with clinic at University of Kansas law school to more effectively investigate Kansas cases of wrongful conviction