CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, January 13, 2006

CrimProfs Garrett and Solomonon the Innocence Cases

Virginia CrimProf Brandon Garrett and Georgia CrimProf Jason Solomon published this oped about the innocence cases pending in the U.S. Supreme Court--both involve suspect forensic evidence, and evidence of other potential killers tha the jury never heard. One of the problems the oped identifies is that in engaging in whatever harm analysis is required under the circumstances, "appellate judges are forced to speculate on the impact of evidence the jury never heard."  What's wrong with the argument that if there is newly discovered forensic or other evidence presenting a serious claim of innocence, the best method of determining what a jury would have done with all relevant evidence is present the case to a jury?  True, letting juries rather than appellate judges make the determination of the appropriate weight to be given to new evidence will result in more acquittals in close cases, but is that really objectionable?  [Jack Chin]

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