'Misconvictions', Science, and the Ministers of Justice

42 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2007 Last revised: 2 Feb 2012

See all articles by Jane Campbell Moriarty

Jane Campbell Moriarty

Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University


This article provides a new perspective on wrongful convictions - what I term misconvictions. Focusing on the intersection of ethics and expert evidence in criminal cases, the article specifically considers the role of judges and prosecutors, collectively referred to as the ministers of justice. The article has a dual focus: first, to explain the forensic science concerns that contribute to misconvictions; and second, to contemplate the ethical roles that the ministers of justice have in creating misconvictions by their management of expert evidence. In addition to explaining how problematic forensic science can contribute to wrongful convictions, the article details the ethical concerns of prosecutorial and judicial acts and omissions. The article concludes with some suggested changes of a legal and ethical nature that might help reduce the rate of misconvictions.

Keywords: criminal law, prosecutor, expert evidence, ethics, foresnic science, wrongful convictions

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Moriarty, Jane C., 'Misconvictions', Science, and the Ministers of Justice. Nebraska Law Review, Vol. 86, No. 1, 2007, U of Akron Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=964741

Jane C. Moriarty (Contact Author)

Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University ( email )

600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
United States

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