This book has been replaced by a newer edition:

The Wrongful Convictions Reader cover

The Wrongful Convictions Reader, Second Edition

Edited by: Russell D. Covey, Valena E. Beety

2023, 728 pp, paper, ISBN 978-1-5310-2387-4


Teacher's Manual available

The Wrongful Convictions Reader

Edited by: Russell D. Covey, Valena E. Beety

Tags: Civil Rights/Race and the Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Wrongful Conviction

Table of Contents (PDF)

Teacher's Manual available

666 pp  $80.00

ISBN 978-1-5310-0632-7
eISBN 978-1-5310-0633-4

Fueled by more than 2,000 exonerations of wrongfully convicted men and women, the "innocence revolution" has shaken the criminal justice system to its core. By gathering the leading research, law, and policy analysis into one volume, The Wrongful Convictions Reader explores the core contributing factors to wrongful convictions: false confessions, witness misidentifications, cognitive bias, junk science, police and prosecutorial misconduct, racial bias, and ineffective assistance of counsel.

Each chapter is divided into three sections:

  • Readings
  • Current Law Overview—which summarizes the key cases in the area, and
  • Legal Materials, Exercises, and Media—which provides relevant experiential activities.

Examples from the Legal Materials, Exercises, and Media sections include:

  • Recommended listening and viewing: timed excerpts from podcast episodes, films, and television clips
  • Oral advocacy exercises: mock bail arguments, parole hearings, testimony before the state legislature, presentations to the state rules committee, appellate oral arguments
  • Written advocacy exercises: practice motions and comparing state statutes
  • Issue spotting exercises: transcripts from interrogations and in-court testimony
  • Review: reflective essays, short answer questions, and true/false questions
  • Team exercises: plea negotiations
  • Discussion prompts
  • Actual wrongful conviction case documents

This combination of materials makes the book more than a mere "reader" and makes it ideal for doctrinal as well as experiential courses.

A set of 392 PowerPoint slides, as well as other teaching materials, is available upon adoption of this book. Click here to view a sample PowerPoint presentation. If you are a professor using this book for a class, please contact Rachael Meier at to request your materials.

Fundamentally, what is unique about this text is its interdisciplinary approach to the study of wrongful convictions. In addition to thoughtfully assembling critical works of influential scholars in the field, Covey and Beety also include suggestions for multimedia programming such as videos, blogs, and podcasts. Each chapter ends with proposed interactive exercises for students, ranging from drafting a motion for post-conviction DNA testing to reading a transcript from an actual witness identification procedure and assessing whether or not police followed best practices. Each chapter also incorporates a "current law" section highlighting the relevant judicial opinions and legal standards for the topic discussed. In this way, The Wrongful Conviction Reader differs from the other primary texts often assigned in wrongful convictions courses...In sum, The Wrongful Conviction Reader is a welcome addition to the existing literature in the field. The editors present a comprehensive, interdisciplinary collection of legal and social science scholarship and popular media accounts...At the same time, the depth and breadth of the research and commentary presented will offer new perspectives to seasoned practitioners and scholars in the field, as well."
— Stephanie Hartung, Professor of Law, Northeastern Law School

Comp Copy If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.