Jurisdiction-Specific Wrongful Conviction Rate Estimates: The North Carolina and Utah Examples

21 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018 Last revised: 13 Nov 2018

See all articles by Paul G. Cassell

Paul G. Cassell

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Determining an error rate for wrongful convictions remains among the most pressing problems in the criminal justice literature. In a response to my earlier article, Professor George Thomas has offered an intriguing way to make that determination—through examining innocence cases uncovered through North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission. This Reply reassesses Thomas’s North Carolina estimate rate, concluding it to be somewhat too high. This Reply then looks at another state—my home state of Utah—to find another possible jurisdictionspecific error rate. Properly calculated, the wrongful conviction rates for North Carolina and Utah support my earlier-offered suggestion of a wrongful conviction rate in this country much lower than the rates commonly suggested in other wrongful conviction literature. This Reply underscores the important point of convergence between Thomas’s estimate and my estimates: both are much lower than the conventional wisdom on the subject suggests.

Suggested Citation

Cassell, Paul G., Jurisdiction-Specific Wrongful Conviction Rate Estimates: The North Carolina and Utah Examples (2018). 60 Ariz. L. Rev. 891 (2018); University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 290. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3276195 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3276195

Paul G. Cassell (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-585-5202 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)

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