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False Convictions in Silicon Valley

On May 3, 2008, we held a panel discussion on false convictions that focused on miscarriages of justice in our local area. 
The panelists were:

Rick Tulsky:

Mr. Tulsky is a Pulitzer-prize-winning Journalist and author of "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice."   He spoke about particular cases in our county of innocent people going to jail.  See his description of a murder case in this two minute video:

 

Rick Walker:

Mr. Walker was falsely convicted of murder in Santa Clara county and released as innocent after being incarcerated for twelve years.  In the trial, the real murderer made a plea bargain and testified against Rick.  Watch this two minute video of his reaction:

 

How does our society act after people are wrongfully convicted?  See Rick's comments in this two minute video:

 

Natasha Minsker;

Our ACLU death penalty policy director spoke on the three main ways that false convictions occur. 

The ACLU has proposed procedures and laws to reduce the number of these tragedies.

False Convictions in Dallas

On the day after our event in Palo Alto, the TV program 60 Minutes aired a similar story that focused on false convictions in Dallas, Texas.   So far, 17 people have been released and another 250 cases are being reviewed.   One man was held for 26 years for a crime he didn't do.  You can see that 60 Minutes report by playing the video below or going to their site.  The 12 minute report is preceded by a 30 second commercial.

 

Books, Videos, and Web Sites on False Convictions

The Innocent Man

John Grisham's first non-fiction book tells the story of an innocent man convicted of murder.  Shocking, disturbing, enthralling.  Available at the library.

The Innocent Man Book Cover

The Thin Blue Line

The classic documentary movie of the murder conviction of Randall Adams who was still in jail during the filming.  See the interview with the real killer who testified in court against Randall.  The real killer murdered another person shortly after Randall was jailed.  Because of this film, Randall was released after 11 years in jail.  It's a must-see for documentary film makers.  Available from the Palo Alto library or Netflix.

The Thin Blue Line Poster

The Innocence Project

The Innocence Project is a public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system.  They maintain an excellent web site with statistics, case studies, and ways you can help.  Their work freed James Woodward after 27 years in prison.

James Woodward spent 27 years in prison for a crime he didn't do.

The Faces of Wrongful Conviction

A web site with stories and photos of wrongfully convicted men and women.