The Innocent Man Project
The Innocent Man Project is a criminal justice learning resource on wrongful convictions, based on the Oklahoma cases of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, as told in the bestseller, "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham. Using this resource, students of criminal justice will develop their awareness of controversial investigative and procedural techniques and other factual errors that can increase the risk of wrongful conviction in criminal prosecutions; processes and possible remedies for the prevention and correction of wrongful convictions; and the human dimension of wrongful convictions in modern criminal justice.
What is a "wrongful conviction?"
The concept of wrongful conviction is itself controversial. "Wrongful" convictions would include cases where the defendant was
- tried and found guilty (convicted) by a judge or jury
- later exonerated by new evidence (usually DNA) and released by the court
- later granted a new trial based on new evidence and acquitted by the jury or court
and the State has acknowledged the wrong person was convicted. A broader definition would include those defendants, and others who were initially convicted, then granted a new trial and acquitted, though not acknowledged as factually innocent by the State.