Griffin On the Wrong Person Defense

Pace University School of Law Professor, Lissa Griffin, has posted an article titled Avoiding Wrongful Convictions: Re-Examining the ‘Wrong-Person’ Defense (Seton Hall Law Review, Vol. 39, 2009) on SSRN. Prof. Griffin’s article has been featured on Legal Theory Blog under a title Griffin On the Wrong Person Defense.

This article reviews the history of the right to present a defense and closely examines the United State Supreme Court’s modern analysis of that right. Part III. analyzes the emergence of the right to present a defense that a third party committed the crime and concludes with a discussion of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in South Carolina v. Holmes. Part IV. then describes the current restrictive implementation of the wrong-person defense by the lower courts. Part V argues that the constitutional right to present a wrong-person defense is being insufficiently protected under the current, arbitrary standards, and prescribes a constitutional analysis of the defense that is consistent with the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, more reflective of what the lower courts actually are doing, and that it likely to produce more reliable results.

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