New Scholarship: Still Convicting the Innocent…


Texas Professor Jennifer Laurin

Jennifer Laurin of U. of Texas has posted the above-titled article on SSRN.  Obtain full article here.  Here’s the abstract:

In 1932, Edwin Borchard’s Convicting the Innocent offered the first systematic attempt to document and describe the existence of Judge Hand‘s “ghost” of the innocent prisoner wrongly convicted. Three quarters of a century later, Professor Brandon Garrett has published a book of the same title with similar goals – but in the context of the game-changing phenomenon of DNA exonerations. Garrett’s volume summarizes the vast data collected and analyzed in his study of the first 250 DNA exonerations in the United States, and in so doing offers the most empirically rich and conceptually nuanced descriptive account to date of the machinery of wrongful conviction. Moreover, to ongoing debates over the direction of criminal justice reform, it offers a persuasive and sustained critique of the tenaciously resilient notion that the unparalleled procedural protections of the American jury system are effective checks on substantive accuracy as well. And yet, Convicting the Innocent does not offer quite as powerful an explanatory lens as Garrett sometimes claims, and does not advance the ball of criminal justice policy reform as far as it might. Part II of this Review suggests that the project is hampered in fulfillment of its descriptive and prescriptive agendas by constraints intrinsic to the data at Garrett‘s disposal, and by limitations that Garrett‘s own framing and methodology impose. Part II further offers that modest but important qualifiers and additions to Garrett‘s agenda could enhance the prospect that his worthy contribution to criminal-justice-reform conversations will translate into positive and much-needed change.

One response to “New Scholarship: Still Convicting the Innocent…

  1. Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209

    2012.05.08.Tu.T1311 EDT

    Thanks , Mark . I ♥ the write .

    I am surprised that one of such tender years as Professor Laurin is aware of Edwin M. Borchard’s “Convicting the Innocent: Errors of Criminal Justice.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 1932.

    Some , including lawyers and judges , are either clueless or give a “1,000 mile stare” upon hearing or seeing the name of author or title of book . ( I have mastered the art of that stare and know nothing , NOTHING . ) ☺

    NOTE: (from wikipedia)
    Edwin Borchard 17 October 1884 – 22 July 1951) was a U.S. law professor at Yale University and jurist.
    He also served as a law librarian in the Law Library of Congress.
    He was a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) during the 1944 Korematsu v. United States Supreme Court case.
    He studied and practiced law at Yale University for 34 years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s