Hofstra Law Review

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Earl Washington's Ordeal


By way of preface to this Symposium, I offer an account of the ordeal of Earl Washington, who-having come within days of execution-was released from prison on February 12, 2001, after DNA evidence of his innocence finally proved conclusive to the Virginia authorities. I do so for two reasons.

First, I believe, both as a member of his legal team and a scholar, that history deserves an accurate account of the events. Second, more broadly, I believe that the case exemplifies many of the phenomena that contribute to the injustice of the death penalty in America today, and that its story therefore offers an appropriate framework within which to view the Symposium contributions that follow.

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