Tomorrow (Aug. 24), the University of Houston Law Center will be celebrating the publication of a new book entitled American Justice in the Age of Innocence: Understanding the Causes of Wrongful Convictions and How to Prevent Them. This book, co-edited by one of our faculty, Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson (a leading criminal justice scholar), with two of her top students, Jennifer L. Hopgood and Hillary K. Valderrama, "explores the circumstances surrounding wrongful convictions" and "examines the most common causes behind breakdowns in the legal system."
Interestingly (at least to me), today (Aug. 23) happens to be the 84th anniversary of the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti. Whether one believes they were innocent or guilty, it hardly can be denied that the controversy surrounding the Sacco and Vanzetti case provided the foundation for the modern innocence projects movement. Then Harvard professor, and future Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Felix Frankfurter authored a famous article excoriating the trial proceedings, especially the use of eyewitness testimony. Criticism of the reliability of eyewitnesses remains a focal point of exoneration attempts to this day.
Douglas Linder, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, has put together an excellent website devoted to the Sacco and Vanzetti case. For those who are tired of Casey Anthony, I strongly encourage you to check out Prof. Linder's website. And then, grab a copy of American Justice in the Age of Innocence.
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