How “Preventive Journalism” Could Avert Wrongful Convictions


The news media could practice more “preventive journalism” to help avoid wrongful convictions, journalist Steve Weinberg of Missouri writes in Miller-McCune magazine. “Until and unless journalists improve their performance, far more innocent people will be imprisoned than the criminal justice system seems likely ever to acknowledge,” Weinberg says. When that happens, “Many criminals will continue to go unpunished, free to murder or rape or rob again.”

Converts to the discovery-of-innocence movement include lawyer-authors John Grisham and Scott Turow, and Mark Fuhrman, former Los Angeles police detective of O.J. Simpson case fame, whose book Death and Justice provides chapter and verse on wrongful convictions throughout Oklahoma. Typically, Weinberg says, media coverage of criminal cases is spotty and often superficial when it occurs. Elected prosecutors tend to be treated as the last of the sacred cows, the white hats who keep the streets safe for law-abiding citizens


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