Wrongful Convictions is run in conjunction with the Innocence Project of Minnesota. Its purpose is to educate students about the causes of wrongful convictions as well as provide students with an opportunity to work on hypothetical courtroom situations in a classroom setting. The reading materials and classroom discussion will cover such topics as unreliable eyewitness identifications, false confessions, jailhouse informant testimony, ineffective assistance of counsel, government misconduct, problematic forensic science and racial bias in the court system. We will also discuss how DNA testing works and its application in the courtroom. Students are expected to perform in-class exercises such as examination of witnesses making eyewitness identification, challenging confessions, cross-examine a cooperating witness and conduct voir dire on racial bias. Finally, students will be required to evaluate inmate applications for assistance submitted to the Innocence Project of Minnesota as part of their midterm sample assignment and final assignment.
Julie Jonas ’95