Monday, November 12, 2007
Since 1989, over 200 prisoners have been exonerated in the United States due to post-conviction DNA testing, their innocence proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The original convictions in those cases occurred as a result of a number of errors, including mistaken identifications, false confessions, police and prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, perjury by jailhouse informants, and the use of dubious forensic science.
Presumably, the factors that led to the wrongful convictions in those cases overturned by DNA appear in matters that lack biological evidence (an estimated 80-90% of criminal cases overall), yet non-DNA cases are notoriously difficult to litigate. Over time, moreover, the rate of DNA exonerations is bound to diminish as pretrial DNA testing becomes commonplace and, thus, more innocent suspects are filtered out at the front end of the process. Accordingly, issues surrounding non-DNA claims of innocence will become increasingly significant.
These issues will be tackled at a two-day symposium to be held Nov. 15-16, 2007, at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. More Information. . . [Mark Godsey]