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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

False Confessions and the Central Park Five

Nickie Phillips

The Ken Burns documentary, The Central Park Five, is scheduled for release next month.

For the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review, go here.

For more on the NYC subpoenas of the film footage, go here and here.

New York City is demanding that documentary filmmaker Ken Burns hand over footage of the movie he made about five men who were wrongfully imprisoned and later exonerated for the rape of a woman in Central Park. - CNN.com

For more on the case, see the article "The Painful Lessons of the Central Park Five and the Jogger Rape Case," in the Guardian, here.

The Central Park jogger case is particularly compelling because it flies in the face of what we believe to be common sense about criminal convictions. A confession, it would seem, is the most ironclad proof of guilt: why would anyone in their right mind confess to a crime they didn't commit? How could five boys all confess to the same crime if they weren't actually responsible?

For more on false confessions, see the data from the Innocence Project and Richard Leo's stellar Police Interrogation and American Justice (Chapter 6: False Confessions, available here).

UPDATE: If you are in the NYC area on April 17, 2013, be sure to attend the TimesTalks - Justice and The Central Park Five , featuring the producer/director/writer Ken Burns, co-director and author Sarah Burns, New York Times columnist Jim Dwyer, and the exonerated, including Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise.

For more info, go here.