In opinion piece "The Changing Face of Exonerations" for TIME magazine online, Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer said, "If we are to make meaningful progress towards freeing innocent people now serving time—a population some now place at more than 100,000—we need new laws designed to target miscarriages of justice that lack DNA evidence."
Her op-ed reacts to a report released in February by the National Registry of Exonerations, which found that the number of U.S. inmates exonerated after being falsely convicted of a crime hit a record high in 2013.
Based on the study's data, Professor Tuerkheimer considers how DNA evidence is often of little use to the wrongfully convicted. She discusses recent trends in post-conviction relief, including new laws that account for the lack of or faulty forensic evidence. She notes how this movement is especially important to women, a fast-growing segment of the prison population, whose alleged violent crimes "do not typically hinge on the whodunit question of identity that DNA is so useful in resolving."
Professor Tuerkheimer, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, has written widely on rape and domestic violence. She is currently a Public Voices Faculty Fellow with the OpEd Project. Her book "Flawed Convictions: “Shaken Baby Syndrome” and the Inertia of Injustice" (Oxford University Press) is forthcoming in April.