Over the past couple of decades though DNA testing, hundreds of people in the U.S. have been exonerated of crimes they didn’t commit, including eighteen people serving time on death row. But why were they convicted in the first place? That’s something Jon Gould has researched as the principal investigator of the Preventing Wrongful Convictions Project at American University in Washington, DC.
The project, funded by the National Institute of Justice, is a collaboration between academic researchers and criminal justice professionals. The goal is to understand how the criminal justice system avoids wrongful convictions by determining what factors are uniquely present in violent felony cases that ended in an official exoneration after conviction.