DNA evidence has exonerated over two hundred wrongfully convicted defendants in the last several years, providing insights into the causes of such convictions. One such cause, faulty scientific evidence, is a focus of this article. For decades, many have written about the prevalence of and reasons for wrongful convictions--what I have termed "misconvictions." A few reasons support the coinage "misconvictions": the miscarriage of justice when an innocent person is convicted; the mistakes involved in the prosecution and trial of the case; the mistaken identification that may have occurred; and finally, the recognition that all wrongful convictions are a missed opportunity to convict the person who actually committed the crime. In light of these concerns, misconvictions is an apt term.
This Article provides a new perspective on misconvictions by focusing on the intersection of ethics and expert evidence in criminal cases, specifically considering the actions of judges and prosecutors. The Article has a dual focus: first, to explain the forensic science concerns that contribute to misconvictions; and second, to contemplate the role that the "ministers of justice"-the executive and judicial branches play in creating misconvictions by their management of expert evidence. The Article then provides suggestions for improving the quality of justice to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions.
Jane Campbell Moriarty,
"Misconvictions," Science, and the Ministers of Justice,
86 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol86/iss1/2