WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS

Part of reducing wrongful convictions is learning about why it occurs so we can develop research-based policy recommendations to increase just outcomes. In this line of research, we explore causes and consequences of wrongful convictions. In exploring causes, we have conducted research examining eyewitness identification, plea bargaining, alibi decision making, and the interplay of multiple causes of wrongful conviction, or forensic confirmation bias. We are also researching cases of wrongful conviction to further explore factors that lead to known wrongful convictions, with the idea that understanding these causes and communicating stories can raise awareness about causes of wrongful conviction, lead to the discovery of new research questions, and assist in communicating science to legal decision makers. 

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Exoneree Outcomes

One of the projects currently taking place in lab revolves around exploring the outcomes of wrongful conviction, specifically investigating the impact on familial relationships as well as the mental health of exonerees and their access to mental health resources. This project is being led by graduate student Amanda Lewis and undergraduate student Nicole Guillen. Together, they have been conducting qualitative interviews with exonerees around the country through Zoom in order to to gather a clearer picture of the impact of a wrongful conviction. If you'd like to read more about this groundbreaking research project, click below.

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Selected products associated with this area of research

Haigh, C. B.**, Perez, G.**, & Levett, L. M. (submitted). Cross-Race Identification. Race, Crime, and Justice: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic.

 

O’Neill, S.** & Levett, L.M. (submitted). Central Park Five. Criminal Justice in America: The Encyclopedia of Crime, Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections. ABC-CLIO, Inc.

 

Levett, L.M. (submitted). Eyewitness identification. Criminal Justice in America: The Encyclopedia of Crime, Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections. ABC-CLIO, Inc.

 

Henderson, K.S.** & Levett, L.M. (2019). Influence of the advocate: How to attorneys influence plea decisions? Advances in Psychology and Law (Brian Bornstein and Monica Miller, Eds.). New York, NY, Springer.

 

Henderson, K.S. & Levett, L.M. (2018). Investigating predictors of true and false guilty pleas. Law and Human Behavior, 425), 427-441.

 

Kienzle, M.R.** & Levett, L.M. (2018). A novel paradigm for examining alibi corroboration and evidence interaction: Does a confession affect the likelihood of alibi corroboration for friends and strangers? Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 24(3), 353-364.

 

Henderson, K.S.** & Levett, L.M. (2016). Can expert testimony sensitize jurors to variations in confession evidence? Law and Human Behavior, 40 (6), 638-639.

 

Levett, L.M.  (2013). Social Psychological Influences in Eyewitness Behavior. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 18 (1), 168-180. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8333.2011.02037.x

 

Thompson, A.M.,** Molina, O.R.,** & Levett, L.M. (2011/2012). After exoneration: An investigation of stigma and wrongfully convicted persons. Albany Law Review, 75, 3, 1373 – 1413.

 

Levett, L.M., Principle Investigator. Social Psychological Factors in Eyewitness Behavior: Social Influence in Choosing Behavior, National Science Foundation, $128,937, ($95, 272 direct costs, $33,665 indirect costs) SBE # 0922370

 

Henderson, K.S.** & Levett, L.M. (2017). Investigating predictors of true and false guilty pleas. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society, Seattle, Washington.  American Psychology-Law Society Dissertation Award, 3rd Place. 

 

Zoe Arthurson-McColl, M.A.** (2016). Human intelligence interviewing with the Scharff technique. American Psychology-Law Society Graduate Student Research Grant in Aid, $318.

 

Megan Kienzle, M.A.** (2013). Evidence interaction: A more complete story of evidence contamination in a criminal trial. American Psychology-Law Society Graduate Student Research Grant-in-Aid, $750.

 

Adina Thompson, M.A.** (2013). The Aftermath: Two Comparisons of the Social Consequences of DNA and Non-DNA Exoneration. American Psychology-Law Society Graduate Student Research Grant-in-Aid, $750.

 

Adina Thompson, M.A.** (2010). Exoneree stigma: An investigation of attitudes toward guilty and wrongfully convicted persons. American Psychology-Law Society Graduate Student Research Grant-in-Aid, $360.

 

Megan Kienzle, M.A.** (2010). Does a confession affect the likelihood of alibi corroboration for friends and stranger? American Psychology-Law Society Graduate Student Research Grant-in-Aid, $370.