A new study by a University of Virginia law professor finds that several factors, like eyewitness misidentification and limited and unreliable forensic testing, contributed to many of the first 200 wrongful convictions to be overturned by DNA testing.
, conducted by Prof. Brandon Garrett and to be published in the Columbia Law Review in January 2008, suggests that thousands of innocent people may be behind bars in the United States.
"DNA testing is available in fewer than 10 percent of violent crimes," said Peter Neufeld, a founder of the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School, which was instrumental in securing many exonerations. "But the same causes of wrongful convictions exist in cases with DNA evidence as in those cases that don’t."
Professor Garrett’s study strongly suggests, then, that there are thousands of people serving long sentences for crimes they did not commit but who have no hope that DNA can clear them.
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. (New York Times, 07/23/07, paid subscription required)
DNA exonerations highlight flaws in U.S. justice system
(International Herald Tribune, 07/22/07, no subscription required)