"Failing the DNA Test," Michael Blanding and Lindsay Markel, November 20, 2011, The Boston Globe Magazine
WBUR's Radio Boston hosts talk with Schuster Senior Fellow Michael Blanding about DNA testing for prisoners in Massachusetts
- Post-conviction DNA testing in Massachusetts: "Failing the Test"
- Waiting for DNA: More about Massachusetts prisoners claiming innocence who are featured in the article
- Exonerated by DNA: Massachusetts wrongful convictions overturned
- Background: A primer on the Massachusetts DNA access bill
- Underlying issue: No law requiring preservation of crime scene evidence
- Digging deeper: What do exonerations teach us about the criminal justice system?
- Non-DNA cases: What happens if there is no DNA to test?
How do wrongful convictions occur?
- Eyewitness misidentification
- Faulty forensics or bad science
- False confessions
- Informants and "snitches"
- Bad lawyering or representation in court<
- Misconduct by prosecutors or law enforcement
Causes of Wrongful Convictions:
A review by the Innocence Project of “convictions overturned by DNA testing reveals a trail of sleeping, drunk, incompetent and overburdened defense attorneys, at the trial level and on appeal.” As state budgets continue to shrink, so too do resources for public defenders and state-appointed attorneys. The chances for poor defendants to receive adequate representation in the courts are low.
The interactive graphic above is a joint project between the Innocence Project and Brandon Garrett, author of "Convicting the Innocent."
© 2011 Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. All rights reserved.