Elephants in the Courtroom:
Examining Overlooked Issues in Wrongful Convictions

Panelist Biographies

 

Race and Miscarriages of Justice

Moderator:

Frank R. Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on public policy, agenda-setting, and interest groups. He is co-author of The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence (Cambridge University Press, 2008), which won the Gladys M. Kammerer Award for best book on U.S. national policy from the American Political Science Association.

Presenters:

Devon Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at George Mason University. Her research focuses on race, public opinion, and criminal justice practices. She has published extensively in a variety of outlets and is co-editor of an upcoming book entitled, Deadly Injustice: Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Criminal Justice System (New York University Press, forthcoming 2015).

William Lofquist is a Professor of Sociology at SUNY Geneseo. Using an assortment of methods, he has conducted research on a variety of topics related to criminal justice, many of which draw on broad sociocultural perspectives and some of which focus on wrongful convictions. Dr. Lofquist recently authored a chapter exploring the “structural sources of wrongful convictions” (Lofquist, 2014) in which he masterfully tied together topics such as mass incarceration and the “Southern strategy” to miscarriages of justice.

L. Song Richardson is a Professor of Law at the University of California-Irvine. Her research is interdisciplinary, using perspectives from cognitive and social psychology to study criminal procedure, criminal law, and policing. She has published several articles related to racial bias in the context of policing and public defender decision-making.

Guilty Pleas

Moderator:

Daniel S. Medwed is a Professor of Law in the Northeastern University. His research and pro bono activities revolve around the topic of wrongful convictions. He has published a number of scholarly articles on topics related to miscarriages of justice and is author of the book, Prosecution Complex: America’s Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent (New York University Press, 2012).

Presenters:

Albert Alschuler is the Julius Kreeger Professor Emeritus of Law and Criminology in the University of Chicago Law School and Professor in the Northwestern University Law School. He is one of the leading experts on the guilty plea process and its history, and has authored seminal works in this area, including examinations of the roles of defense attorneys, prosecutors, and trial judges.

Stephanos Bibas is a Professor of Law and Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the powers and incentives that shape how prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants, and judges behave in the real world of guilty pleas. He also studies the disconnect between criminal procedure’s focus on efficiency and criminal law’s interest in healing victims, defendants, and communities.

Shawn Bushway is a Professor in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. His areas of expertise include quantitative methods and analysis, and he has published extensively on issues involving judicial discretion and sentencing, including plea bargaining. Currently, Dr. Bushway directs the NSF-funded RCN on understanding plea bargaining.

Misdemeanors

Moderator:

Keith Findley is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin and is the co-founder of and faculty director to the Wisconsin Innocence Project. He served as the president of the Innocence Network for five years and has published extensively on several issues related to wrongful convictions and criminal law.

Presenters:

Issa Kohler-Hausmann is an Associate Professor of Law and Sociology at Yale. Her research has appeared in the Stanford Law Review and the American Journal of Sociology. Her most recent publications focus on misdemeanor arrests in New York City and their use as a form of social control, and her work has earned her awards from the American Sociological Association and the Law and Society Association.

Alexandra Natapoff is the Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law & Rains Senior Fellow at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. In addition to her seminal work on the role of informants in wrongful convictions, she has recently authored articles on misdemeanors that have helped to re-ignite scholarly interest in lower-level offenses. Professor Natapoff has received several awards for her research, including the 2013 Law and Society Association Article Prize.

Jenny Roberts is Associate Dean for Scholarship and Professor of Law at the Washington College of Law at American University, where she also co-directs the misdemeanor-focused Criminal Justice Clinic. She has written numerous articles on plea bargaining, misdemeanors, and collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Her work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and many state high courts, and by state and federal lower courts.

Data and Methodological Constraints

Moderator:

Richard A. Leo is the Hamill Family Chair Professor of Law and Social Psychology and Dean’s Circle Scholar at the University of San Francisco School of Law. He is a leading expert on police interrogation tactics, the impact of Miranda, psychological coercion, false confessions, and wrongful convictions.

Presenters:

Simon A. Cole is a Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society at the University of California-Irvine. He specializes in the historical and sociological study of the interaction between science, technology, law, and criminal justice. Dr. Cole is the author of Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Harvard University Press, 2001) and co-author of Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting (University of Chicago Press, 2008).

Samuel R. Gross is the Thomas and Mabel Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and is the Editor and Co-founder of the National Registry of Exonerations. He has published many works on false convictions and exonerations, eyewitness identification, evidence law, pre-trial settlement, and the selection of cases for trial and racial profiling.

Christian A. Meissner is a Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University. He conducts research on the psychological processes underlying investigative interviews, deception detection, and interrogations and confessions. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He has served on advisory panels for the National Academy of Sciences and served as Program Director of Law & Social Sciences at the National Science Foundation.