Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Book Recommendation: Prosecution Complex: America's Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent [Hardcover]
Publication Date: March 5, 2012
American prosecutors are asked to play two roles within the criminal justice system: they are supposed to be ministers of justice whose only goals are to ensure fair trials, whatever the outcomes of those trials might be--and they are also advocates of the government whose success rates are measured by how many convictions they get. Because of this second role, sometimes prosecutors suppress evidence in order to establish a defendant’s guilt and safeguard that conviction over time.
Daniel S. Medwed, a nationally-recognized authority on wrongful convictions, has wrestled with these issues for nearly fifteen years, ever since he accepted a job as a public defender with the Legal Aid Society of New York City. Combining his hands-on experience in the courtroom and his role as a teacher and scholar in the classroom, Medwed shows how prosecutors are told to lock up criminals and protect the rights of defendants. This double role creates an institutional “prosecution complex” that animates how district attorneys’ offices treat potentially innocent defendants at all stages of the process--and that can cause prosecutors to aid in the conviction of the innocent. Ultimately, Prosecution Complex is not intended to portray prosecutors as rogue officials indifferent to the conviction of the innocent, but rather to explain why, while most prosecutors aim to do justice, only some hit that target consistently.
"Daniel Medwed provides a fascinating ethical, legal, and psychological perspective on the work of prosecutors, the power-players in our criminal justice system. With gripping accounts from real criminal cases gone wrong, he shows how the best-intentioned prosecutors can convict the innocent while racing to convict the guilty. Prosecutors can fall prey to cognitive biases that we all share in our everyday lives, but with nearly-absolute discretion, they lack adequate checks and safeguards to correct for such bias. This book simply must be read by all who care about the past and the future of criminal justice."
-Brandon Garrett,Roy L. and Rosamund Woodruff Morgan Professor of Law, University of Virginia
“Professor Daniel Medwed has written a compelling book entitled Prosecution Complex. The book offers inside knowledge based on his experience as a litigator and serious scholar of miscarriages of justice in the criminal justice system. Anybody concerned with fairness and examining the role of prosecutors at every stage of our criminal justice process will find this book absorbing, sobering, and informative. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking at our American legal system and seeking reforms. This is a must read!”
-Charles J. Ogletree,Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice
"Wrongful convictions will continue until prosecutors are one day held accountable for their deliberate misconduct. Prosecution Complex examines their misbehavior and the tragic consequences. It also shows us how to fix the problems."
-John Grisham,New York Times best-selling author of The Litigators
About the Author
Daniel S. Medwed is Professor of Law at the University of Utah and is a member of the board of directors of the Innocence Network and the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center.
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: NYU Press (March 5, 2012)
Shipping Information: View shipping rates and policies
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)