CONVICTING THE INNOCENT

CONVICTING THE INNOCENT

Brandon L. Garrett
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 376
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbt8f
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    CONVICTING THE INNOCENT
    Book Description:

    This probing analysis of three of Giotto’s major works and the patrons who commissioned them goes beyond the clichés of Giotto as the founding figure of western painting. It traces the interactions between Franciscan friars and powerful bankers and illuminates the complex interactions between mercantile wealth and the iconography of poverty.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06098-2
    Subjects: Art & Art History, History, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    In October 1993, Ronald Jones sat on death row in Illinois waiting to be executed. He had been sentenced to death for a gruesome rape and murder in Chicago. Jones clung to one last request—for a DNA test, which he claimed would prove his innocence. His lawyers offered to pay the $3,000 that it would cost to do the test. At the time, only a handful of people had ever proven their innocence using postconviction DNA testing. The prosecutors opposed testing, arguing that it would make no difference. Indeed, there appeared to be overwhelming evidence of Ronald Jones’s guilt....

  4. CHAPTER 2 Contaminated Confessions
    (pp. 14-44)

    A fifteen-year-old girl’s body was found by a dirt path in a heavily wooded area of a park in downtown Peekskill, New York, near where she lived. She was attacked while walking in the park, listening to a New Kids on the Block cassette tape. She had been severely beaten with a blunt object. The medical examiner concluded she was raped.

    Jeffrey Deskovic was seventeen years old and he was a classmate of the victim—both were sophomores at Peekskill High School. Deskovic attended her wake and funeral and appeared distraught. He told the police he was eager to help...

  5. CHAPTER 3 Eyewitness Misidentifications
    (pp. 45-83)

    A woman was bird-watching with her husband in a park in Buffalo, New York, in May 1982. As the sun set, she was getting cold and decided to return to the car alone. But as she walked down a jogging path, a man approached. He suddenly ran up and jumped out from behind, and said, “Scared you, didn’t I?” She caught only a glimpse of him before he grabbed her, choking her neck and blindfolding her with a bandana. He dragged her into a thicket, raped her, and left.¹ She reported the rape to the Buffalo Police Department that evening...

  6. CHAPTER 4 Flawed Forensics
    (pp. 84-117)

    In July 1977, police in Homewood, Illinois, came across a young woman, disheveled and walking by the side of the road. She told police she had been raped. Following the standard practice, police took her to a hospital for examination. Medics combed her pubis for any loose hairs, they used cotton swabs to sample fluid from her vagina, and they preserved her stained underwear. They assembled this evidence in a standard collection box, called a rape kit, and sent it to a lab for analysis.

    Meanwhile, police worked with the victim to prepare a composite drawing of the attacker—a...

  7. CHAPTER 5 Trial by Liar
    (pp. 118-144)

    Things were looking better for David Gray. He had been arrested and tried for a rape in Illinois. But at the end of Gray’s trial in 1977, the jury could not reach a verdict. It was a hung jury. Why?

    The prosecution case had started strong. The victim identified Gray and testified that she was “absolutely positive” that he had attacked her. The culprit had come once before to look at a motorcycle her son was selling. A few days later, the same man returned to look at the motorcycle. This time, he sat on the motorcycle and grabbed the...

  8. CHAPTER 6 Innocence on Trial
    (pp. 145-177)

    The small town of Culpeper, Virginia, was shaken by the gruesome rape and murder of a nineteen-year-old woman in June 1982. Two of her infant children were present when she was raped and stabbed thirty-eight times. The bedroom walls and floor of her apartment were smeared and splattered with blood. She collapsed outside screaming “help me” and “he hurt me.” Police and her husband arrived before the ambulance. She was able to tell them only that a black man attacked her. She quickly died. Eyewitnesses saw a black man climbing a fence, and newspapers ran a composite sketch. For more...

  9. CHAPTER 7 Judging Innocence
    (pp. 178-212)

    In 1992, Kennedy Brewer’s girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter was abducted from their Macon, Mississippi, home, and was raped and murdered. Police immediately suspected Brewer and arrested him even before the victim’s body was found. He had been home babysitting that evening, and there was no evidence of a forced entry, although the window where the victim had been sleeping was open. In 1995 Brewer was convicted of murder and sexual battery and sentenced to death. DNA testing was not used at the time of trial, because the semen sample from the victim’s body was deemed insufficient for testing. The chief evidence...

  10. CHAPTER 8 Exoneration
    (pp. 213-240)

    A string of vicious murders had been committed in the Fort Lauderdale area. Frank Lee Smith became a suspect in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old when residents thought he resembled a composite sketch. He was schizophrenic and had been twice convicted of manslaughter when he was a teenager. At trial, the evidence against him chiefly consisted of testimony by an eyewitness. She testified that she saw him jumping out of the window of the victim’s house at around the time of the murder. There was “no doubt” in her mind that Smith was the person she saw. The...

  11. CHAPTER 9 Reforming the Criminal Justice System
    (pp. 241-274)

    In 1995, Ronald Cotton’s exoneration in North Carolina received national press coverage. His DNA exoneration was followed by those of Joseph Abbitt, Keith Brown, Dwayne Dail, Darryl Hunt, Lesly Jean, and Leo Waters, all in North Carolina. The state’s response to this drumbeat of DNA exonerations was dramatic: it changed the structure of its criminal justice system. Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr., then chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, decided that preventing future wrongful convictions would be his legacy. Before he retired in 2006, he helped to create the first entity designed to prevent wrongful convictions in the...

  12. Appendix
    (pp. 277-290)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 291-350)
  14. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 351-354)
  15. Index
    (pp. 355-367)