Protecting the Guilty in the Age of Innocence

30 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2019

See all articles by Jessica Bregant

Jessica Bregant

Indiana University Maurer School of Law; University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; University of Chicago - Department of Psychology

Date Written: July 31, 2019

Abstract

We live in a modern "Age of Innocence", in which concerns about factual innocence dominate the conversation about criminal justice. Alongside the growth of law clinics and policy reforms centered on innocence, innocence-focused media has exploded in popularity over the last thirty years. Concurrent with this narrative shift, courts have curtailed appellate review of criminal convictions, except in cases of so-called "actual innocence." The focus on innocence has led to important criminal justice reforms, but too little attention has been paid to the costs of such a focus. In this paper, I spell out the potential downsides of innocentrism.

Keywords: criminal justice, innocence, psychology, harmless error, actual innocence, due process

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Bregant, Jessica, Protecting the Guilty in the Age of Innocence (July 31, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3429437 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3429437

Jessica Bregant (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jessicabregant.com

University of Chicago - Department of Psychology ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

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