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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

Wrongfully convicted and rightfully exonerated criminal defendants spent, on average, ten years in prison before exoneration, and the ramifications to the defendants, the criminal justice system, and society are immeasurable. Prosecutorial misconduct, however, is not the primary cause of wrongful convictions. To begin with, although more than twenty million new adult criminal cases are opened in state and federal courts each year throughout the United States, there have been only 1,281 total exonerations over the last twenty-five years. In only six percentof those cases was prosecutorial misconduct the predominant factor resulting in those wrongful convictions. Of course, although prosecutorial misconduct is not the driving force behind wrong convictions, prosecutors can – and should – be part of a comprehensive solution that reduces the likelihood of wrongful convictions. This article proposes a number of solutions to reduce the number of wrongful convictions in our criminal justice system, and to ensure that criminal trials are conducted in a manner that is consistent with due process of law.

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