Cost of Incarceration

Any conversation with our wrongfully convicted clients opens your eyes to just how difficult reentry into society is after a period of incarceration. Of course, everyone’s story following incarceration is inherently different. Some have a large support network of family and friends; others struggle through reentry on their own. Some were incarcerated for decades and… Read More

Justice Scalia’s Legacy of Injustice

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away over the weekend. In a non-traditional sort of eulogy, rather than talking about Justice Scalia directly, I’d like to remember Justice Scalia by telling you about Troy Davis and Justice Scalia’s adherence to his principles, including his firmly held belief that the Constitution permits the execution of innocent… Read More

Mental Illness and the Law

  Many of the important justice issues discussed here –police brutality, wrongful convictions, mistreatment in prison, and mass incarceration – are magnified when the justice system encounters people with mental illness. On every level, our criminal justice system fails the mentally ill. The results are beyond appalling. Let’s consider it step by step. Police encounters… Read More

False Confessions in America

False confessions are more common than people think. Exoneration work and DNA testing reveal that police-induced false confessions are one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions of the innocent. More than 1 out of 4 people wrongfully convicted, but later exonerated by DNA, made false confessions or gave false incriminating statements. That’s astonishing. Given… Read More

Wrongful Conviction Roundup: Q4

As we finish out the year with the fourth quarter wrongful conviction roundup, I want to highlight the cause-effect relationship of many of the common themes discussed in this blog. The fourth quarter wrongful convictions and exonerations illustrate the tragic, real world effects of prosecutorial misconduct, police misconduct, false confessions, and flawed eyewitness identifications. The… Read More

Crime Lab Scandals Abound

We like to think that only guilty people end up in prison. And we like to think that DNA and scientific evidence are so fool-proof and convincing that they prevent innocent people from getting convicted of crimes. The reality, however, is that scientific evidence in criminal cases relies on crime lab analysis and, more specifically,… Read More

Who Understands Miranda Rights?

  A person needs to be an adult to sign a legally enforceable contract. You can’t even legally commit to a gym membership until you’re 18 because the law assumes that children are too young to understand the full implications of most legal arrangements and commit themselves to a binding future. And yet, the courts… Read More

Prosecutorial Immunity: Checkmate

There are rules of fair play in criminal cases, and one of the most important ones is: the prosecutors must give the defense any evidence that is favorable to the person accused and material to the question of whether or not that person is guilty. In other words, it is cheating for prosecutors to hide… Read More

Wrongful Conviction Roundup: Q3 2015

I know we do a wrongful conviction roundup every quarter, but the injustice some people have to endure never fails to shock. This quarter’s wrongful convictions are especially upsetting. The Exoneration of Bobby Johnson Let’s begin with Bobby Johnson’s heartbreaking wrongful conviction. Bobby was 16 years old in 2006 when he was jailed for the… Read More

MI Man Sues Officials Who Allegedly Set Him Up for Murder Conviction

Grand Rapids, MI – Sept. 28, 2015 – This morning attorneys for a 40-year-old Kalkaska, MI man filed suit in federal court here against the County of Kalkaska, Village of Kalkaska, and several law enforcement officers and the prosecutor involved in the deeply-flawed investigation that led to his conviction. Exonerated by DNA in 2014, Kalkaska… Read More