November 29, 2012
Women's wrongful conviction project launched
By: Nancy Loo
The Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) at Northwestern University School of Law is beginning a new focus on women.
The CWC is well known for many exonerations, but most have involved men. Today it unveiled a new Women’s Project.
Surrounded by women who wrongfully spent time in prison for murders they did not commit, senior attorney Karen Daniel stressed the importance of the new program.
The cases of wrongfully convicted women often involve their own children, leading to highly emotional situations which could lead to false confessions.
According to the group's research, in 63 percent of cases in which women were exonerated there was actually no crime. The deaths were accidental.
The program also found that of the 1,022 documented exonerations since 1989 only 66 involved women.
"While it is certainly true that more men than women are convicted of crimes, the disparity in the numbers of exonerations is nowhere accounted for by the difference in the rates of conviction," CWC attorney Karen Daniel told reporters.
"My career, my life, everything that I ever had was destroyed," said Gloria Killian, one of the exonerated women who attended today's news conference at Northwestern University School of Law. "The consequences of wrongful conviction go on forever and ever and ever -- and that's why this project is so important."
Apart from helping women wrongfully convicted the program is also pushing for new research in interrogation practices, since questioning and tactics can often elicit far different responses in women than men.