Wrongful Conviction

The emergence of forensic DNA analysis in the late 1980s has enhanced the criminal justice system’s ability to find the truth. In addition to facilitating the identification and conviction of the guilty, the DNA testing has also exposed a large and growing number of cases in which innocent people were convicted of crimes they did… Continue reading Wrongful Conviction

Witness Preparation

The term witness preparation refers to any type of advice or training given to someone who is going to give sworn testimony with the intention of helping improve the quality of their testimony. All persons who might testify in court are potential candidates for witness preparation, including civil and criminal case defendants, plaintiffs, victims, experts,… Continue reading Witness Preparation

Voir Dire

Voir dire is a legal proceeding during which attorneys and/or judges question prospective jurors (called venirepersons) to determine their fitness for jury duty. The purpose of voir dire is to uncover bias; the procedure is designed to identify and eliminate members of the venire panel who are unable to be impartial and who do not… Continue reading Voir Dire

Victim Impact Statements

Most states allow victims and/or victims’ survivors to speak during the sentencing phase of trials as to the pain they have suffered as a result of the crime. Such proclamations, called “victim impact statements,” are extremely controversial. Some legal experts posit that victims and/or victims’ survivors have the right to speak publicly about the harm… Continue reading Victim Impact Statements

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court conducts appellate review hearings of lower-court decisions, relying on written briefs and oral arguments by counsel for the parties to help the justices formulate opinions as to cases’ outcomes. The number of petitions from parties seeking to have the Supreme Court grant a hearing on their appeal far exceeds the number… Continue reading U.S. Supreme Court