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The Beat: Wrongful Convictions

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2014
2 pages
This transcript and audio of one segment from the Beat podcast series examines victim issues in cases of wrongful convictions.
The participants are a rape victim who misidentified the perpetrator of her rape, leading to a wrongful conviction, and an attorney adviser from the U.S. Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The focus of the discussion is the impact of wrongful convictions on crime victims. The rape victim first describes her feelings when she learned that DNA testing had cleared the man who was wrongfully convicted, based largely on her misidentification. She describes her feelings as "suffocating." A more detailed description of her reaction is "I no longer had confidence in myself. I no longer felt safe. I mistrusted my own decisions and my own memory on many levels. I was also terrified. I honestly believed that Ronald (the person wrongfully convicted) was going to try and seek revenge on me or my children." When the representative of the Office for Victims of crime was asked what her office might do to help crime victims involved in wrongful convictions, she first acknowledged that this has been a neglected area in victims services. She then mentioned that the OVC is currently preparing to hold small round-table discussions among experts and crime victims to assist the OVC in identifying the needs of these victims. Current services to these victims will then be assessed and improvements recommended for implementation by State and local jurisdictions.