WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS CLASS - Winter 2004
Except for the first three weeks and the last three weeks, the order in which the topics for weeks 4 through 11 are actually covered, and assignments made, is subject to change
Week 1: Introduction – Introduction to wrongful convictions and The Midwestern Innocence Project – Where are we today – Overview of process used to date – How the class will be conducted – What will be required of students – Review "questionnaire"
Week 2: Eyewitness Identification – The law – How memory works and the weaknesses of identification testimony – Admissibility of expert testimony – Investigating cases involving eyewitness testimony
Week 3: Investigation of wrongful conviction claims
Week 4: Snitches and Informers – How use of informers and snitches contributes to wrongful convictions – What needs to be done – How to investigate cases involving informer testimony – Safeguards for the future
In the second hour, cases will be distributed and students will meet with their Teams.
Week 5: Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct – Nondisclosure of discoverable materials by police or prosecutor – Nondisclosure of exonerating evidence – How to look for missing material in case files – Improperly induced guilty pleas.
We will also discuss progress on cases and determine whether eyewitness identification, snitch testimony or police or prosecutorial misconduct appears as a factor in any of the cases under review.
Week 6: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel – How does bad lawyering contribute to wrongful convictions? -- What is legal ineffectiveness (the law) – How to spot a failure of competency in cases examined -- Assess whether ineffective assistance of counsel is likely a factor in any of the cases under review
Week 7: False Confessions and Evidentiary Barriers - The causes and effects of false confessions – How to identify false confessions – Evidentiary restrictions on the defense that contribute to wrongful convictions -- -- Assess whether either false confessions or evidentiary limitations were likely a factor in any of the cases under review
Week 8: DNA Evidence – What can it do? – What can it NOT do? – Difference from traditional serology – Right of access to DNA testing – Privacy issues
Week 9: Junk Science – How to tell junk science from emerging science and "good" science – Weaknesses inherent in even respectable crime laboratory techniques – What does Daubert and Kumho Tire require? – How to obtain experts for the defense? – How to evaluate cases -- Assess whether DNA or junk science is a factor in the cases under review and, if so, what avenues should be pursued
Week 10: A Primer On Post Conviction Remedies - Challenges of and strategies for obtaining judicial release of innocent individuals -- Assess what avenues of relief may be open to inmates in cases under review
Week 11: Meet a Wrongfully Convicted Person
Week 12: Catch Up
Week 13: Case Conferencing
Week 14: Case Conferencing