Since 1989, when postconviction forensic DNA testing was first used to clear the innocent of crimes they did not commit, more than 2,700 people have been exonerated in the United States. A multitude of factors contribute to wrongful convictions including mistaken eyewitnesses, faulty forensic science, false confessions, government misconduct, inadequate defense lawyering, and more. In addition to exploring contributing factors, this talk will address the consequences of wrongful convictions for exonerees and the broader community. How do exonerees navigate life after exoneration? How is society harmed when actual perpetrators of crimes remain free to commit more crimes while the innocent are incarcerated? Finally, this talk will explore emerging issues in wrongful convictions.
Registration is $15 per person.
Dr. Catherine L. Bonventre is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She holds an M.S. in forensic biology and a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the University at Albany. She earned her J.D. at Albany Law School. She co-authored, with Robert J. Norris and James R. Acker, When Justice Fails: Causes and Consequences of Wrongful Convictions (Carolina Academic Press). In addition, she co-edited the volume, Examining Wrongful Convictions: Stepping Back, Moving Forward (Carolina Academic Press) with Allison D. Redlich, James R. Acker, and Robert J. Norris. She serves on the editorial board of WIREs Forensic Science and is an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Bonventre teaches criminal justice courses to incarcerated women in North Carolina through Guilford College’s Wiser Justice Program. She also has done pro bono work for Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York.