Law 165 - An Introduction to Wrongful Convictions: Causes, Cures, and Methods for Investigation

Jennifer L. Mnookin

Jennifer L. Mnookin

Dean, David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, and Faculty Co-Director, PULSE @ UCLA Law (Program on Understanding Law, Science & Evidence)
A.B. Harvard, 1988
J.D. Yale, 1995
Ph.D. History and Social Study of Science and Technology, M.I.T., 1999
UCLA Faculty Since 2005
Course Description:

This course will provide an introduction to the causes and potential cures of wrongful convictions within our judicial system.   Our first session will focus on the emergence of DNA exonerations, the big picture surrounding wrongful convictions, and will also provide an introduction to the difficult issues surrounding how to empirically assess wrongful convictions. The following four sessions will each look at one particular contributing cause to wrongful convictions:  (1) mistaken eyewitness identification; (2) false confessions; (3) faulty forensic science evidence; and (4) prosecutorial misconduct.   The final session will look at potential reforms to reduce the prevalence of wrongful convictions, and what the pros and cons – and potential unintended consequences – of these reforms might be.  Students will be expected to write short (2-3 page) response papers to the readings for three of sessions.   In addition, they will also be expected to write a brief (3-5 page) synopsis and critique of an academic article of their choice (from a list provided); these synopses will be distributed to the class.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Jennifer Mnookin 17S 165 LEC 17 R 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 1.0 No No
  Class will meet on 2/2, 2/16, 3/2, 3/16, 4/6 in room 2483 and 4/13 in room 2326.