Order Book via

Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases

by Scott Christianson

REVIEW - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Vol. 3, Issue 5 (2004)

Scott Christianson is the author a new book, Innocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases (NYU Press, 2003) that graphically documents the problem of wrongful convictions in New York state. Due to appear on Dec. 15, the book will hopefully soon begin to attract reviews and news coverage.

A longtime journalist, an ex-newspaper investigative reporter (going back to the late 60s) who has published articles in the NY Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Village Voice, etc. as well as in numerous scholarly and professional journals, Christianson's previous books include With Liberty for Some: 500 Years of Imprisonment in America (1998), a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award winer that was hailed by Bill Kovacs, John Siegelthaler, Arthur Schlesinger and others; and Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House (2000), which received a lot of attention in anti-death penalty circles, with support from Tony Amsterdam and many others. He is also a former high-ranking NY state criminal justice official and longtime justice advocate.

The new book gets inside recent and current wrongful conviction cases in NY state, which is thought to be one of the better legal jurisdictions, showing that the problem is very serious. In addition to documenting many cases in which persons were exonerated, Christianson also picked 12 prisoners still in custody, which he selected as being actually innocent. In addition to the book, he put together a traveling documentary exhibition that has toured since Sept. 2001 to locations including the NY State Capitol, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Puffin Cultural Forum, etc. Thus far, 6 of the 12 convictions he identified have been overturned, 2 were granted federal habeas hearings, 1 is up for executive clemency, and 1 is in state court. He is also making a feature-length documentary film for HBO about one of the cases, working with Academy Award winning director Alan Raymond.

Christianson will soon go on a limited book tour with assistance from various innocence projects and defense organizations, one of the goals of which will be to get journalists and law schools more involved in covering the topic of wrongful convictions.

Return to Innocent Main Page