David L. Strauss Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress KF224.P36S77 2010 | Dewey Decimal 364.1523092
On December 14, 1955, Darrel Parker arrived at his Lincoln, Nebraska, home to find his wife, Nancy, strangled to death. Although their house was broken into less than a month earlier, the police were unable to find any leads, so their attention turned to Parker. To make their case, the authorities relied on a private interrogation by polygraph operator John Reid of Chicago. Reid’s company, founded in 1947, today provides interviewing and interrogation techniques that the company claims are the most widely used in the world.
Barbarous Souls tells the story of Darrel Parker’s wrongful conviction for Nancy’s murder. Lincoln native David Strauss weaves a shocking true crime story with an exposé of still-prevalent methods of interrogation—methods that often lead to false confessions and the conviction of innocent suspects. After he was convicted, Parker served thirteen years of a life sentence before agreeing to a deal that would free him but not clear his record. It was later discovered that a murderer who died in prison in 1988 had taped a confession to the crime.
A roller-coaster ride in the tradition of John Grisham’s The Innocent Man, Barbarous Souls is a thorough examination of a wrongful conviction based on a false confession, and an illuminating portrayal of a widespread phenomenon that still plagues the justice system.
DNA exonerations have shattered confidence in the criminal justice system by exposing how often we have convicted the innocent and let the guilty walk free. In this unsettling analysis, Garrett examines what went wrong in the cases of the first 250 people exonerated by DNA testing, and proposes systemic reforms.
Today, death sentences in the U.S. are as rare as lightning strikes. Brandon Garrett shows us the reasons why, and explains what the failed death penalty experiment teaches about the effect of inept lawyering, overzealous prosecution, race discrimination, wrongful convictions, and excessive punishments throughout the criminal justice system.
On a sweltering August morning, a woman walked into a Buddhist temple near Phoenix and discovered the most horrific crime in Arizona history. Nine Buddhist temple members—six of them monks committed to lives of non-violence—lay dead in a pool of blood, shot execution style. The massive manhunt that followed turned up no leads until a tip from a psychiatric patient led to the arrest of five suspects. Each initially denied their involvement in the crime, yet one by one, under intense interrogation, they confessed.
Soon after, all five men recanted, saying their confessions had been coerced. One was freed after providing an alibi, but the remaining suspects—dubbed “The Tucson Four” by the media—remained in custody even though no physical evidence linked them to the crime.
Seven weeks later, investigators discovered—almost by chance—physical evidence that implicated two entirely new suspects. The Tucson Four were finally freed on November 22 after two teenage boys confessed to the crime, yet troubling questions remained. Why were confessions forced out of innocent suspects? Why and how did legal authorities build a case without evidence? And, ultimately, how did so much go so wrong?
In this first book-length treatment of the Buddhist Temple Massacre, Gary L. Stuart explores the unspeakable crime, the inexplicable confessions, and the troubling behavior of police officials. Stuart’s impeccable research for the book included a review of the complete legal records of the case, an examination of all the physical evidence, a survey of three years of print and broadcast news, and more than fifty personal interviews related to the case. Like In Cold Blood, and The Executioner’s Song, Innocent Until Interrogated is a riveting read that provides not only a striking account of the crime and the investigation but also a disturbing look at the American justice system at its very worst.
Austin Sarat University of Massachusetts Press, 2016 Library of Congress KF9756.L39 2016 | Dewey Decimal 347.7312
From false convictions to botched executions, from erroneous admission of evidence in a criminal trial to misunderstandings that arise in the process of creating contracts, law is awash in mistakes. These mistakes can be unintentional deviations from expected practices or the result of intentional actions that produce unintended negative consequences. They may become part of a process of response and correction or be accepted as an inevitable cost of action. Some mistakes are external to law itself, such as errors in an agreement made by two private parties. Others are made by legal actors in the course of their work; for example, a police officer's failing to obtain a search warrant when one was required.
The essays in Law's Mistakes explore the things that law recognizes as errors and the way it responds to them. They identify the jurisprudential and political perspectives that underlie different understandings of what is or is not a legal mistake, and examine the fraught, contested, and evolving relationship between law and error. And they offer templates for thinking about what mistakes can tell us about the aspirations and limits of law, and for understanding how our imagining of law is enabled and shaped by its juxtaposition to a condition labeled mistake.
In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Paul Schiff Berman, Sonali Chakravarti, Jody L. Medeira, Stewart Motha, Kunal Parker, and Jordan Steiker.
Life after Death Row examines the post-incarceration struggles of individuals who have been wrongly convicted of capital crimes, sentenced to death, and subsequently exonerated.
Saundra D. Westervelt and Kimberly J. Cook present eighteen exonerees’ stories, focusing on three central areas: the invisibility of the innocent after release, the complicity of the justice system in that invisibility, and personal trauma management. Contrary to popular belief, exonerees are not automatically compensated by the state or provided adequate assistance in the transition to post-prison life. With no time and little support, many struggle to find homes, financial security, and community. They have limited or obsolete employment skills and difficulty managing such daily tasks as grocery shopping or banking. They struggle to regain independence, self-sufficiency, and identity.
Drawing upon research on trauma, recovery, coping, and stigma, the authors weave a nuanced fabric of grief, loss, resilience, hope, and meaning to provide the richest account to date of the struggles faced by people striving to reclaim their lives after years of wrongful incarceration.
By all accounts, Jovan Mosley was a good kid. He was working on a way out of his tough Chicago neighborhood and had been accepted at Ohio State University when he was forced to confess to a murder he did not commit. He then spent five years and ten months in jail without a trial. His efforts to exonerate himself got him nowhere until he happened to meet a successful criminal defense lawyer, Catharine O’Daniel. She became convinced of his innocence and took him on as her first pro bono client. Along with Laura Caldwell, she decided to fight to free Jovan. Against enormous odds, they finally won some measure of justice. In this affecting memoir, Caldwell tells the unforgettable story of a breakdown in the criminal justice system and what it took to free an innocent man.
On the evidence of The Dead Alive, Scott Turow writes in his foreword that Wilkie Collins might well be the first author of a legal thriller. Here is the lawyer out of sorts with his profession; the legal process gone awry; even a touch of romance to soften the rigors of the law. And here, too, recast as fiction, is the United States' first documented wrongful conviction case. Side by side with the novel, this book presents the real-life legal thriller Collins used as his model-the story of two brothers, Jesse and Stephen Boorn, sentenced to death in Vermont in 1819 for the murder of their brother-in-law, and belatedly exonerated when their "victim" showed up alive and well in New Jersey in 1820.
Rob Warden, one of the nation's most eloquent and effective advocates for the wrongly convicted, reconsiders the facts of the Boorn case for what they can tell us about the systemic flaws that produced this first known miscarriage of justice-flaws that continue to riddle our system of justice today. A tale of false confessions and jailhouse snitches, of evidence overlooked, and justice more blinkered than blind, the Boorns' story reminds us of the perennial nature of the errors at the heart of American jurisprudence-and of the need to question and correct a system that regularly condemns the innocent.
Imperfections in the criminal justice system have long intrigued the general public and worried scholars and legal practitioners. In Wrongful Conviction, criminologists C. Ronald Huff and Martin Killias present an important collection of essays that analyzes cases of injustice across an array of legal systems, with contributors from North America, Europe and Israel. This collection includes a number of well-developed public-policy recommendations intended to reduce the instances of courts punishing innocents. It also offers suggestions for compensating more fairly those who are wrongfully convicted.
The American criminal justice system contains numerous safeguards to prevent the conviction of innocent persons. The Bill of Rights provides nineteen separate rights for the alleged criminal offender, including the right to effective legal representation and the right to be judged without regard to race or creed. Despite these safeguards, wrongful convictions persist, and the issue has reverberated in the national debate over capital punishment.
The essays in this volume are written from a cross-disciplinary perspective by some of the most eminent lawyers, criminologists, and social scientists in the field today. The articles are divided into four sections: the causes of wrongful convictions, the social characteristics of the wrongly convicted, case studies and personal histories, and suggestions for changes in the criminal justice system to prevent wrongful convictions. Contributors examine a broad range of issues, including the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, particularly in cross-racial identifications; the disadvantages faced by racial and ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system; and the impact of new technologies, especially DNA evidence, in freeing the innocent and bringing the guilty to justice. The book also asks such questions as: What legal characteristics do wrongful convictions share? What are the mechanisms that defendants and their attorneys use to overturn wrongful convictions? The book also provides case studies that offer specific examples of what can and does go wrong in the criminal justice system.