The Justice Brandeis Law Project: Examining possible miscarriages of criminal justice


Judge Robert J. Kane (off-camera): The court, after a rigorous review of the entire record of this case, has come to be reasonably sure that George Perrot did not physically or sexually assault Mary Prekop. That finding…[inaudible] *soft piano music begins to play* Florence Graves: Our students are working on real-world projects. In the case of wrongful convictions, someone’s freedom is depending on them and all of us who are working on that particular case. People are reaching out to us as a last resort. Tate Herbert: The students do everything, from the littlest things like if we need to ask them to go back into a trial transcript, to really in-depth research. They have a significant part in bringing up ideas to pursue and directing the research as a collaborative effort. Gregory Wilson: When I first started working at Schuster, I was working on George Perrot’s case. This was obviously supported by a false testimony from FBI examiners in an FBI laboratory. This is a man who spent 30 years in prison. He was taken advantage of because of his lack of knowledge — so many factors are working against him yet he still maintained his innocence. Graves: The number of wrongfully convicted people who are sitting in prisons right now, based on all kinds of junk science is enormous. Finally the public, as well as the criminal justice establishment, has started to realize that just because someone is convicted doesn’t mean they actually did it. Herbert: When the judge read that decision he recognized George as another human being deserving of his dignity. I was just so happy to see him in plain clothes reunited with his mother it was amazing. Graves: When you don’t have watchdog journalism to monitor both our government and large organizations, including corporations, then your democracy is under threat. Wilson: I believe in this day and age because information is able to be accessed at such a fast rate that we need investigative journalists to push and to share and keep distributing information that is true, information that is objective and information that is isn’t biased. Graves: The thing that most distress is me about our work here are the cases we have to turn down that we would take if we had the resources to take them. There are simply not enough people committed to this work to take all of the cases that need to be taken. Herbert: It just feels like a privilege to be a part of their lives and to be the person who finally said yes to their case and believe them really bringing the truth to light and get their voices heard.

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