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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.

Filtering by Tag: wrongful convictions

Randy Williams Speaks Out about Wrongful Conviction

Nickie Phillips

The ripple effect of wrongful convictions resonates throughout families and communities. Randy Williams’ time behind bars can never be returned, nor his time away from his family and the promise of his future.
— Private Investigations by Management Resources Limited of NY

Randy Williams and Bob Rahn

Randy Williams served nine years of a 22 years-to-life prison sentence as a result of a wrongful conviction. He was released in 2016.

On April 14, 2016, Randy and his mom, Rosie, spoke with students at St. Francis College to share their story. They discussed how Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin, of Private Investigations by Management Resources Ltd of NY, worked tirelessly on behalf of Randy uncovering false eyewitness testimony and police misconduct.

Criminologist Nickie Phillips, Rosie Benjamin, Randy Williams, and Bob Rahn

Continuing Efforts to Exonerate Jesse Friedman

Nickie Phillips

Jesse Friedman will be back in court this week arguing for the release of documents that he believes prove his innocence. The New York Times reports on the continuing efforts to exonerate Jesse Friedman:

From the beginning, the case was deeply flawed. The only evidence that Jesse and his father, Arnold, had abused anyone consisted of statements to the police by children and one of Jesse’s friends. Many of the statements were made after repeated or hourslong visits from detectives who would not leave until they heard what they wanted. None of the children had previously complained to anyone of any abuse.
— New York Times

In the following clip, Jesse Friedman and attorney Ron Kuby discuss Jesse's case and explain his innocence.

Feminists and the Police State

Nickie Phillips

In her article pointing out the gross injustices suffered by Bernard Baran who was wrongfully convicted, JoAnn Wypijewski writes:

Pause, then, in memory of Bernard Baran, a human man who survived with curiosity, gentleness and humor intact. Pause, too, to honor Bob Chatelle and his colleagues, who have expended decades resisting reckless prosecutions while supporting dozens of people wrongfully accused of sex offenses.

She then strikes a blow against the hysteria and sex panics that have led to the rise of incarceration rates and an increasing police state:

It is the lust for prosecution, the clang of the prison door; and the liberal/progressive/feminist hand in enabling the police state and confusing punishment with justice.…'Carceral feminists,' the subject of a fair amount of recent talk and scholarship on the roots of anti-trafficking campaigns, is an unlovely phrase, but it usefully denotes a social force that elided personal power with state power, eschewed the project of liberation—the goal of a radically different set of power relations—and took as its armor the victim's mantle.

Wypijewski brings up some interesting points about the tension between due process rights and concerns for public safety that too frequently erupt into sex panics that ensnare innocents.

We're curious, though, about Wypijewski's linking of the "liberal/progressive/feminist[s]" to the rise of mass incarceration and the police state. Thoughts?

For more on Bernard Baran, his innocence, and his life tragically cut short after only eight years of freedom from wrongful incarceration, go here.

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. -

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.