Curbing Wrongful Convictions Through Independent Forensic Laboratories
Author: Sandra Guerra Thompson
Situated firmly at the intersection of the courtroom and the lab room, Cops in Lab Coats illustrates the legal and personal gravity of forensic science as a tool for police and lawyers alike. Thompson combines her studies of wrongful convictions, scientific mishandling in the lab room, and the legal interplay of analysts and lawyers to hone in on the need for independent crime labs nationwide. Cops in Lab Coats brings a fresh and critical perspective to the world of forensic science and illustrates the dire need for independence between crime labs and police departments across the country.
A Former Prosecutor Exposes the Psychology and Politics of Wrongful Convictions
Author: Mark Godsey
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
In this unprecedented view from the trenches, prosecutor turned champion for the innocent Mark Godsey takes us inside the frailties of the human mind as they unfold in real-world wrongful convictions. Drawing upon stories from his own career, Godsey shares how innate psychological flaws in judges, police, lawyers, and juries coupled with a “tough on crime” environment can cause investigations to go awry, leading to the convictions of innocent people. In Blind Injustice, Godsey explores distinct psychological human weaknesses inherent in the criminal justice system—confirmation bias, memory malleability, cognitive dissonance, bureaucratic denial, dehumanization, and others—and illustrates each with stories from his time as a hard-nosed prosecutor and then as an attorney for the Ohio Innocence Project. He also lays bare the criminal justice system’s internal political pressures. How does the fact that judges, sheriffs, and prosecutors are elected officials influence how they view cases? How can defense attorneys support clients when many are overworked and underpaid? And how do juries overcome bias leading them to believe that police and expert witnesses know more than they do about what evidence means? This book sheds a harsh light on the unintentional yet routine injustices committed by those charged with upholding justice. Yet in the end, Godsey recommends structural, procedural, and attitudinal changes aimed at restoring justice to the criminal justice system.