In BARRED,Medwed reveals how convoluted legal procedures—essentially technicalities—make exonerations nearly impossible. The rules surrounding litigation after conviction are extremely complex, with narrow guidelines on how much time a defendant has to submit notice of an appeal, which court to file in, and whether they will be allowed to present new evidence or to raise errors that occurred at the initial trial. Because of deferential attitudes toward lower courts, higher courts also tend to uphold convictions, even when there is compelling evidence of a miscarriage of justice.
With heart-wrenching stories of people who have been wrongfully convicted, BARRED makes a powerful call for change.
Bio: Daniel Medwed has spent more than twenty years in the field of criminal justice, serving as a public defender, as cofounder of a law school clinic that investigated post-conviction innocence claims, and now as a professor advocating for justice reform. He’s seen firsthand the deep-seated issues that plague the criminal process, namely how the system is complicit in putting innocent people behind bars. There are convictions that rest on dubious eyewitnesses. Possible police misconduct that goes uninvestigated. Subpar performance from overworked, even if well-meaning, defense attorneys.
A renowned innocence advocate, he is the author of Prosecution Complex: America’s Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent.