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Barred: Why the Innocent Can't Get Out of Prison

Daniel S Medwed

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Sentencing & punishment

A prominent legal scholar uncovers how our justice system makes it nearly impossible to overturn wrongful convictions.

Thousands of innocent people are behind bars in the United States. But proving their innocence and winning their release is nearly impossible.

In Barred, legal scholar Daniel S. Medwed argues that our justice system's stringent procedural rules are largely to blame for the ongoing punishment of the innocent. Those rules guarantee criminal defendants just one opportunity to appeal their convictions directly to a higher court. Afterward, the wrongfully convicted can pursue only a few narrow remedies. Even when there is strong evidence of a miscarriage of justice, rigid guidelines, bias, and deference toward lower courts all too often prevent exoneration.

Offering clear explanations of legal procedures alongside heart-wrenching stories of their devastating impact, Barred exposes how the system is stacked against the innocent and makes a powerful call for change.

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