Midweek News Roundup

This is the first of our new, bi-weekly news roundup where we will highlight stories currently in the media relating to wrongful convictions and criminal justice reform, particularly in the New England area. We hope you read and share these stories- and feel free to comment and keep the conversation going!

Progress on Criminal Justice Reform in MA
Top state officials from all three branches of government convened in Governor Charlie Baker’s office yesterday to hear the latest research by an outside non-profit that could help reduce incarceration and recidivism rates in Massachusetts. This Justice Center review is on track to produce recommendations by January, which could put criminal justice reforms at the forefront of the Beacon Hill agenda for the next legislative session. The research will be further discussed at a public meeting on Thursday.

The South Coast Today has the story here:

Mourning the loss of Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson
Kenneth P. Thompson, Brooklyn’s first black district attorney, died of cancer on Sunday, October 9th, at the age of 50. His death is a tremendous loss not only to his family and friends, but to the broader causes of prosecutorial and criminal justice reform nationwide. Thompson devoted his life to public service, balancing his respect for the criminal justice system with his desire to fix it from the inside out. Since taking office in 2014, Thompson had put into place a myriad of reforms, including creating a Conviction Integrity Unit to look into past convictions, leading to reversed convictions for 21 people who collectively had spent hundreds of years in prison. It is a loss to us all that his remarkable life and work were cut short.
Ken Thompson’s passing has been covered extensively, here are a few articles:

NY Times:

Innocence Project:

Washington Post:


Trump and the Central Park
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were accused of assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park: they became known as the Central Park Five. Young and under duress, they falsely confessed, leading to wrongful convictions and prison time for all of them. In 2002, DNA evidence and the confession of the true criminal led to their exoneration, and the city of New York has subsequently given them monetary compensation for their false imprisonment- so why can’t Donald Trump let it go? In 1989, Trump spent nearly $100,000 placing full page ads in the four New York City daily papers calling for the return of the death penalty (in clear reference to this case), and to this day maintains that the Central Park Five are guilty of a crime they have been exonerated of.

The New York Times has the story here:

And here, Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five, discusses how Trump’s assertions have affected his life:

Recommended Reading
"An Ex-Cop's Remorse:" An investigator who probes wrongful convictions now doubts a case of his own"
By Stephanie Clifford

A thoughtful and substantive look at the many causes that can lead to wrongful convictions in our criminal justice system, examined through the lens of one particular case in which an investigator, who has spent his life fighting for the wrongfully convicted, comes face to face with his own involvement in a case that sent an innocent man to prison.

Read it here: