Overturning Wrongful Convictions
Science Serving Justice
Imagine being convicted of a crime you didn’t commit and spending years behind bars. Since 1989 more than 1,400 Americans who experienced this injustice have been exonerated. Some of the people who have won their freedom include Ronald Cotton, who was falsely convicted of raping a college student; Nicole Harris, who was unjustly imprisoned for the death of her son; and intellectually disabled Earl Washington Jr., who was unfairly sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young mother. Wrongful convictions shatter lives and harm society by allowing real perpetrators to potentially commit additional crimes.
How can such injustices happen? Overturning Wrongful Convictions recounts stories of individuals who served someone else’s prison time due to mistaken eyewitness identification, police misconduct, faulty forensic science, poor legal representation, courtroom mistakes, and other factors. You’ll learn about the legal processes that can lead to unjust convictions and about the Innocence Project and other organizations dedicated to righting these wrongs.
The sciences—including psychology, criminology, police science, and forensic science—work hand in hand with the legal system to prosecute and punish those people whose actions break laws. Those same sciences can also be used to free people who have been wrongfully convicted. As a society, can we learn from past mistakes to avoid more unjust convictions?
|Interest Level||Grade 6 - Grade 12|
|Reading Level||Grade 8|
|Genre||Nonfiction, Young Adult|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Twenty-First Century Books ™|
|Number of Pages||120|
|Reading Counts! Level||11.6|
School Library Journal
“[W]ell-researched, extremely thorough look at how the legal system can go awry….The writing is on the scholarly side, making it ideal for students doing research or seeking an in-depth analysis of the subject….A strong purchase about an always timely issue.”―School Library
“Murray lays a solid foundation for readers, taking them through the legal system’s long road, from questioning all the way to appeal, while explaining how exoneration is achieved, mostly through DNA testing and fingerprints…. A chilling exposé.” —Kirkus Reviews
Author: Elizabeth A. Murray, PhD
Dr. Elizabeth A. Murray is a native Cincinnatian from a large family. When she was young, Elizabeth always thought she may grow up to be a writer, teacher, scientist, or explorer—now that she is a college professor and forensic scientist, she is active in all of those fields! Elizabeth always loved science; it was her favorite subject in school. In college, she studied biology and discovered that she found humans to be the most interesting animals, so she continued her studies in the field of anthropology. Being a very practical person, Elizabeth wanted her research focus to have tangible results and benefits that could aid society, and this led her to the forensic application of anthropology. It took many years of college and lots of hard work to become a forensic scientist, but Elizabeth says that teaching is still the very best part of her job. She enjoys taking difficult concepts in science and explaining them in a way that is interesting and relevant to her students.
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Overturning Wrongful Convictions
Imagine being convicted of a crime you didn’t commit and spending years behind bars. Since 1989 more than 1,400 Americans who experienced this injustice have been exonerated. Some of the people who have won their freedom include Ronald Cotton, who was falsely convicted of raping a… View available downloads →