Causes of Wrongful Convictions
In 1992 Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld started the Innocence Project at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. The Innocence Project seeks to exonerate wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing. In addition, the Project seeks to create public policy that would reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. Law students at Benjamin N. Cardozo handle case work while supervised by a team of attorneys and clinic staff.
Since the clinic was formed, there have been 225 cases were DNA evidence has proven innocence beyond a doubt. A study of these cases has identified six main causes of wrongful convictions:
- Eyewitness Misidentification
- Unvalidated or Improper Forensic Science
- False Confessions / Admissions
- Government Misconduct
- Bad Lawyering
The results of these studies have lead to a series of recommendations and model practices.