An article in today’s New York Times explores the effect of newsroom cutbacks on efforts to overturn wrongful convictions – especially in death penalty cases. When legal avenues fail, the Innocence Project and other advocacy organizations sometimes work with newspapers and magazines to investigate cases of possible wrongful convictions. This work has been slowed, however, by cutbacks in newsrooms across the country.
“It’s extremely troubling, some of the leading investigative journalists in this country have been given golden parachutes or laid off,” said Barry Scheck, the co-founder of the Innocence Project in New York, which is affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “When procedural mechanisms begin to fail, the press is the last resort for the public to find out the truth.”
In the case of Claude Jones, who was executed in 2000 for a crime he said he didn’t commit, the Innocence Project joined with the Texas Observer and other organizations in filing a lawsuit seeking access to DNA testing on a strand of hair from the crime scene.
Read the full story here
. (New York Times, 05/21/09)