I spoke to a group of about twenty students and faculty about the causes of wrongful convictions in the United States. Since 1992, there have been 301 exonerations of factually innocent people based on DNA evidence. By analyzing these cases, researchers have been able to identify six factors that are often present in these cases, and I shared these with the audience. I focused on three of these factors: eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, and unvalidated forensic science. I felt that these three factors, which are based on scientific research, were less grounded in specific aspects of American procedures or our legal framework as the other three factors (jailhouse snitches, government misconduct, and ineffective defense lawyers).
My talk seemed to be well received, and I really enjoyed the experience. I discussed the potential for some additional collaboration with my host, and hopefully that can happen in the next few months.