One hundred years later: Wrongful convictions after a century of research

Jon B. Gould, Richard A. Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


In this Article, the authors analyze a century of research on the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions in the American criminal justice system while explaining the many lessons of this body of work. This Article chronicles the range of research that has been conducted on wrongful convictions; examines the common sources of error in the criminal justice system and their effects; suggests where additional research and attention are needed; and discusses methodological strategies for improving the quality of research on wrongful convictions. The authors argue that traditional sources of error (eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, perjured testimony, forensic error, tunnel vision, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, etc.) are contributing sources, not exclusive causes, of wrongful convictions. They also argue that the research on wrongful convictions has uncovered a great deal about how these sources operate and what might prevent their effects. Finally, the authors urge criminal justice professionals and policymakers to take this research more seriously and apply the lessons learned from a century of research into wrongful convictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-868
Number of pages44
JournalJournal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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