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