U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

National Summit on Wrongful Convictions: Building a Systemic Approach to Prevent Wrongful Convictions

NCJ Number
244219
Date Published
August 2013
Length
54 pages
Agencies
BJA-Sponsored
Publication Type
Conference Material
Grant Number(s)
2012-MU-MU-K070
Annotation
This is the report on the National Summit on Wrongful Convictions: Building a Systemic Approach to Prevent Wrongful Convictions (August 2012), during which 75 experts from key criminal justice disciplines examined the causes of and solutions to wrongful convictions across the entire spectrum of the justice system.
Abstract
The participants addressed four key areas: making appropriate arrests, correcting wrongful arrests, leveraging technology and forensic science, and re-examining closed cases. The 30 recommendations that emerged from the Summit address these areas in order to build a foundation for changes in investigative protocols, policies, training, supervision, and assessment. A key theme of the recommendations is the importance of all justice system agencies being open to new information at any point in the investigation, arrest, prosecution, trial, and subsequent appeal of a defendant. This means that any time new information about a case that comes to the attention of professionals involved in the case, it should be made known to all parties and carefully examined to determine whether a new direction in the case is needed. Summit participants expressed a unanimous confidence that mistakes, omissions, and judgment errors leading to wrongful convictions can be prevented. This requires better communication, training, protocols, supervision, assessment and review, and a culture of openness to new information. Law enforcement must lead this effort, since it is at the front-end of the process. Case examples are provided, along with nine resources. Appended listings of the Summit Advisory Group, Summit participants, and project staff
Date Created: March 24, 2014