The Wrongful Convictions Reader


By Russell D. Covey

cover image of The Wrongful Convictions Reader

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Fueled by more than 2,000 exonerations of wrongfully convicted men and women, the "innocence revolution" has shaken the criminal justice system to its core. By gathering the leading research, law, and policy analysis into one volume, The Wrongful Convictions Reader explores the core contributing factors to wrongful convictions: false confessions, witness misidentifications, cognitive bias, junk science, police and prosecutorial misconduct, racial bias, and ineffective assistance of counsel.

The second edition provides an expanded treatment of certain critical topics. The reader now includes an entire chapter devoted to race and wrongful convictions and provides expanded treatment of the intersections between gender, sexual orientation, and disability and wrongful conviction. The addition of these topics in expanded form creates new options for instructors to explore timely topics in the field of compelling concern to many contemporary students. As before, the book remains more than a mere 'reader' of literature in the field, but rather a book that can serve as the principal text in doctrinal as well as experiential courses.

Each chapter is divided into three sections that include: readings, current law overview—which summarizes the key cases in the area; and legal materials, exercises, and media—which provides relevant experiential activities. Examples from the legal materials, exercises, and media sections includes:

  • Recommended listening and viewing: timed excerpts from podcast episodes, films, and television clips;
  • Oral advocacy exercises: mock bail arguments, parole hearings, testimony before the state legislature, presentations to the state rules committee, appellate oral arguments;
  • Written advocacy exercises: practice motions and comparing state statutes;
  • Issue spotting exercises: transcripts from interrogations and in-court testimony;
  • Review: reflective essays, short answer questions, and true/false questions;
  • Team exercises: plea negotiations;
  • Discussion prompts; and
  • Actual wrongful conviction case documents.
  • The Wrongful Convictions Reader