Daniel Medwed is a distinguished professor of law and criminal justice at Northeastern University School of Law and the author of “Barred: Why the Innocent Can’t Get Out of Prison.” He shared the procedural hurdles faced by the wrongfully convicted in getting new trials, even when they have proven their actual innocence. The criminal justice system values the finality of criminal trials over all else, including the liberty of innocent people. Daniel argued that problems are found in both the trial process, where poor defendants and their public defenders are unable to match the resources available to state prosecutors, as well as in the post-conviction rules that apply when seeking review of trial procedures.
Professor Medwed is a founding member of the Innocence Network, a global consortium of innocence projects working to free the wrongfully convicted. He also serves on the board of the New England Innocence Project. He described the three-phase process used by innocence projects in deciding which cases to pursue and working to free prisoners in the cases they take on. He also stressed the need for concise facts and simplicity in applications for assistance from Innocence Projects.
For more on the need to fix U.S. courts, subscribe to “Who Wrote That Up For You?” wherever you listen to podcasts.