Addressing Official Misconduct
Increasing Accountability in Reducing Wrongful Convictions
Keywords:wrongful convictions, official misconduct, exonerations, innocence, miscarriages of justice
Currently, the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) states that official misconduct has been a contributing factor in 1,404 of 2,601 exonerations. The term “official” includes criminal justice professionals such as prosecutors, judicial officials, and law enforcement. Analyzing official misconduct and inadequate legal defense cases in the NRE, the goal of this article is to identify (1) officials who commit misconduct in murder exonerations, (2) types of misconduct conducted, and (3) impact on race of the exoneree. The findings of the study indicated that police and prosecutors committed more acts of misconduct than the number of exonerees included in the study. Additionally, African American exonerees were found to be disproportionately victimized by official misconduct. Policy implications and future research provide insight on how the findings reinforce calls for social justice and police accountability in wake of the killing of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Clayton Drummond, Mai Naito Mills
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