Asked to put a historical perspective on the issue of wrongful convictions -– are they more prevalent now than in the past, or is there simply more awareness of them? -– Brian Cutler strode across his office and pulled a book from a shelf. He returned with Edwin M. Borchard’s Convicting The Innocent, which cited 65 instances of defendants found guilty of crimes they hadn’t committed, and argued these victims of injustice ought to be compensated by the state. It was published in 1932.
“This is not a new problem,” said Dr. Cutler, a University of Ontario Institute of Technology professor and associate dean of the school’s Faculty of Social Science and Humanities.
Dr. Cutler has conducted extensive research on factors that lead to wrongful convictions, including faulty eyewitness memories and false confessions. His work has led to him testifying in or consulting on some 170 cases, educating judges and juries on how eyewitness identification can go wrong.