Wrongful Convictions Seminar

Credit Hours: 2

This course will provide an opportunity for students to learn about systemic errors in our criminal justice system that lead to the conviction of innocent people. Students will also learn about complex legal remedies available for correcting wrongful convictions, as well as policy reforms for preventing them. Actual cases and existing laws will be analyzed during class. Specifically, students will learn how to identify, analyze, and develop a post-conviction innocence case. This aspect of the course will include learning about common elements in wrongful conviction cases: mistaken eyewitness identification; false confessions; misuse of informants; flawed forensic evidence; mistakes and misconduct by law enforcement officials; poor defense representation; legal barriers to post-conviction relief; and use of DNA and non-DNA evidence for achieving justice. Students will have an opportunity to hear from local police, prosecutors, defenders, exonerated individuals, and other key stakeholders affected by wrongful convictions and involved in improving the accuracy and reliability of our criminal justice system.