Q&A: Attorney for the Wrongfully Convicted

The Inquisitor

FACTS:
There have been 305 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the U.S.
Eighteen of those exonerees had been sentenced to death.
The exonerees served a total of 4,102 years in prison.
In half of these cases, DNA testing identified the actual perpetrator.

“Wrongful conviction is the criminal justice system’s worst nightmare,” says Nina Morrison to a rapt class of students at Vanderbilt’s law school.

Morrison is senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project, an organization that works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through DNA testing and to reform a justice system rife with error. “DNA is unique in its ability to get to the truth,” she adds, standing in front of a giant screen illuminated by a montage of photographs of smiling men, all exonerees freed by her organization.

The glowing faces fade, and a quotation replaces them: “Our procedure has been always haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted. It is an unreal dream.” – Justice Learned Hand

It’s clear that Morrison is haunted by those ghosts, and their tangible incarnations—the men and women who serve on average 13.6 years for crimes they didn’t commit. “Many don’t live to see their exoneration,” she says, pausing as the words do their work on the silent room, packed with young law students.

With an attorney’s gift for narrative, Morrison tells two exonerees’ stories. “You look back,” she says steadily, “and you can’t believe they got convicted. James Waller, a 19-year-old with no criminal record, served ten years for a rape he didn’t commit. A witness misidentified him, and forensic evidence at the scene was woefully mishandled. Jeffrey Deskovic served 15 years for murdering a teenage classmate in 1989. Investigators interrogated the teen until he broke down and confessed; in 2006, a DNA test exonerated him and IDed the real killer.

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About securityteknews
Ralph Thomas is author of over 32 books on various aspects of conducting investigations, founder and director of The National Association Of Investigative Specialists,CEO of Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc, The Spy Exchange And Security Center and SpyTek Wholesale Imports. Thomas is a member of the Executive Security Council of Griffith Colson Intelligence Service, a private intelligence agency. Thomas's latest project is NAIStv on the Griffith Media TV Network. He has also developed A Native American Store in Georgetown Texas called Tribal Impressions. You can review his person home page off of: http://www.pimall.com/thomas

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