Edwin Borchard’s Innocence Project

The Origin and Legacy of His Wrongful Conviction Scholarship

  • Marvin Zalman Wayne State University
Keywords: wrongful conviction, exoneree compensation, Progressive Era

Abstract

The article recognizes the life and work of Edwin Montefiore Borchard, the founder of US innocence scholarship, as fitting for the Wrongful Conviction Law Review’s inaugural issue. The sources of his scholarship are located in his life and times in the early twentieth century US Progressive movement. The links between Borchard's other legal scholarship and his wrongful conviction writings are explained. Borchard's writings and advocacy leading to his main work, Convicting the Innocent, and passage of the federal exoneree compensation law are described. The article concludes that Borchard's lasting legacy is to refute innocence denial, a deeply help belief that wrongful convictions never occur or are vanishingly rare. 

Published
2020-05-12