Books & Videos

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Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong
Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong by Brandon L. Garrett

Brandon Garrett investigates the causes of wrongful convictions of the first 250 wrongfully convicted people exonerated by DNA testing. The investigation reveals larger patterns of incompetence, abuse, and error.

Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire
Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire by Robert Perkinson

Examines the country’s harshest, largest penal system, that of Texas, the state that reigns supreme in the punishment business.

The Confession: A Novel book coverThe Confession: A Novel by John Grisham

The Confession is the story of an innocent man who is about to be executed.

They Said It Was Murder book coverThey Said It Was Murder by Brenton Butler

The harrowing true story of Brenton Butler, a fifteen-year-old black man innocently accused of a brutal murder.

False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the InnocentFalse Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent by Jim Petro

Former Ohio Attorney General, Jim Petro, crusades against wrongful conviction and shows how citizens can prevent this terrifyingly common miscarriage of justice.

Innocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction CasesInnocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases by Scott Christianson

A chilling chronicle of what can happen when the criminal justice system goes awry, Christianson’s volume documents 42 cases in which an innocent person was sentenced for a crime that she or he didn’t commit.

True Stories of False ConfessionsTrue Stories of False Confessions (English and English Edition) Edited by Rob Warden and Steven A. Drizin

Warden and Drizin have collected 39 actual cases in which people said they were responsible for crimes they did not commit.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarcerations in the Age of ColorblindnessThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

In this book, Alexander argues that this system of mass incarceration “operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race.”

When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of JusticeWhen Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice (Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Series on Rae and Justice) by Austin Sarat (Author), Jr. Charles Ogletree (Editor)

The ten original essays in When Law Fails view wrongful convictions not as random mistakes but as organic outcomes of a misshaped larger system that is rife with faulty eyewitness identifications, false confessions, biased juries, and racial discrimination.

The Innocence Commission: Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice SystemThe Innocence Commission: Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice System by Jon Gould

The Innocence Commissiondescribes the creation and first years of the Innocence Commission for Virginia (ICVA), the second innocence commission in the nation and the first to conduct a systematic inquiry into all cases of wrongful conviction.

Picking Cotton book coverPicking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino (Author), Ronald Cotton (Author), Erin Torneo (Author) The Wrong Guys book coverThe Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four by Tom Wells and Richard Leo (Authors)
Chasing JusticeChasing Justice: My Story of Freeing Myself After Two Decades on Death Row for a Crime I Didn’t Commit by Kerry Max Cook (Author) Police Interrogation book coverPolice Interrogation and American Justice by Richard A. Leo (Author) American Furies book cover
American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment by Sasha Abramsky
The Innocent Man book coverThe Innocent Man by John Grisham Dreams of Ada book coverThe Dreams of Ada by Robert Mayer

Mayer reveals how the criminal justice system and an obsessed and overly zealous public can lead to injustice. The author does an excellent job depicting all sides of the story thoroughly and objectively. The reader is left with an eerie, frightening view of our criminal justice system. (From Library Journal)

Journey Toward Justice book coverJourney Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz

Dennis Fritz was an ordinary middle-aged man leading an ordinary life when he was charged with rape and murder. An overzealous prosecutor relied on flimsy evidence to convict and sentence Dennis to life in prison. After twelve years of incarceration, with the help of Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project, Dennis was exonerated.

Interrogations, Confessions and Entrapment book coverInterrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment (Perspectives in Law & Psychology) by G. Daniel Lassiter (Author) Surviving Justice book coverSurviving Justice: America’s Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated by Dave Eggers (Compiler), Lola Vollen (Compiler), and an Introduction by Scott Turow Actual Innocence book coverActual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld
Wrongly Convicted: Perspectives on Failed Justice book coverWrongly Convicted: Perspectives on Failed Justice
by Saundra D. Westervelt (Editor, Author), John A. Humphrey (Editor)


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Conviction video coverConviction (2010)

Betty Anne Waters, a young woman whose world is shattered when her beloved brother Kenny is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Steadfastly convinced of his innocence, Betty Anne embarks on an 18-year journey to set Kenny free, using state-of-the-art forensic technology. The unshakable bond between a brother and sister, at the heart of this real-life drama, will stir your emotions and inspire you.

After Innocence video coverAfter Innocence (2005)Director: Jessica Sanders

After Innocence tells the dramatic and compelling story of the exonerated – innocent men wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. Focusing on the gripping stories of seven men, including a police officer, an army sergeant and a young father that were sent to prison for decades – in some cases death row – for crimes they did not commit, After Innocence explores the emotional journeys these men face when thrust back into society with little or no support from the system that put them behind bars.

Trials of Darryl Hunt video coverThe Trials of Darryl Hunt(2006)Directors: Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg

This documents the aftermath of a brutal rape/murder & wrongful conviction in the modern American south. Told from the point of view of an investigative journalist an unyielding defense attorney & a wrongfully convicted man this examines a community & justice system subject to racial bias & tainted by fear.

Murder on a Sunday Morning video coverMurder on a Sunday Morning(2001)Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade

The Academy Award-winning documentary Murder on a Sunday Afternoon, which originally aired on HBO as part of its America Undercover series, is a troubling look at modern police investigation that unfolds in a story as compelling and suspenseful as any fictional drama.

The Thin Blue Lie video coverThe Thin Blue Lie (2000)(2000)Director: Roger Young

Philadelphia, 1976. The city of Brotherly Love is waging a successful war against crime led by its tough-talking mayor, Frank Rizzo (Paul Sorvino). But a maverick investigative reporter, Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow), has heard some troubling rumors: stories of innocent people victimized by a “goon squad” of law enforcement officers.

The Exonerated video coverThe Exonerated(2005)Director: Bob Balaban

Director Bob Balaban’s film adaptation of Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s true-life stage play. The story focuses on six people who were convicted of crimes they didn’t commit and spent years on various death rows before their cases were re-examined and new evidence led to their being set free.

Deadline video coverDeadline(2004)Directors: Kirsten Johnson, Katy Chevigny

What would you do if you discovered that 13 people slated for execution had been found innocent? That was exactly the question that Illinois Governor George Ryan faced in his final days in office. He alone was left to decide whether 167 death row inmates should live or die.

Whitewash video coverWhitewash: Clarence Brandley Story [VHS] (1994)

Courtney B. Vance and Gil Bellows star in the story of Clarence Brandley, an African-American high school janitor at a Texas high school who, in 1981, was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a 16 year-old student. He was held for nine years on death row, only to be set free when the true murderer–a white man who had left hair samples at the crime scene–finally confessed.

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