Addressing the specific issues surrounding wrongful convictions and their implications for society, Convicted but Innocent includes: survey data concerning the possible magnitude of the problem and its causes; fascinating actual case samples; detailed analyses of the major factors associated with wrongful conviction; discussion of public policy implications; and recommendations for reducing the occurrence of such convictions. The authors maintain that while no system of justice can be perfect, a focus on preventable errors can substantially reduce the number of current conviction injustices.

With Apologies to the Prisoner

With apologies to the prisoner

It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

Voltaire, Zadig, 1747

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.

Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries, 1765–1769

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the American conscience was shaken by a number of instances that cast doubt on a cherished belief—that innocent people are seldom, if ever, convicted and imprisoned, and they are certainly not executed. Almost as if orchestrated in the way they came to public attention, completely unrelated cases of miscarriage of justice, not in which the guilty were freed but in which the totally innocent were severely punished, became front-page news and the subject of frequent discussion on television. Nor ...

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