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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943





Conference Examines "Miscarriages of Justice"

Conference Examines "Miscarriages of Justice"

Contact: Katie Thomas
WARRENSBURG - 02/13/2007- All too often are the lives of innocent people affected when the criminal justice system fails. International authorities in the field of criminal justice look to confront the issue during the "Miscarriages of Justice: Current Perspectives" conference at UCM Feb. 19-21.

A Look at the American Criminal Justice System

Visitors, UCM faculty and students from a variety of academic disciplines will present papers that examine the processes of the American criminal justice system. Don Wallace, UCM professor of criminal justice and director of the Institute of Justice and International Studies, stressed the importance of hosting such a large conference at UCM.

UCM Gains Global Recognition

"We are pleased to be hosting a major conference that gives UCM the opportunity to be recognized by a global audience," he said. "We have hosted three conferences in the past, and this year promises to be the largest yet."

In addition to the invited plenary session speakers, more than 50 papers will be presented by scholars, some traveling here from around the globe.

Failure of System Creates Controversy

"Miscarriages of justice are extremely controversial in the criminal justice system. These issues should concern everyone," Wallace added. "For every innocent person wrongly convicted of a crime, there is a guilty person walking around free of consequence. It is also important that our students see the business of academia. This conference will show them how issues regarding the criminal justice system are researched and presented."

Exonerees Will Speak

  • Ted White Jr., an exoneree of the state of Missouri, will speak about his experiences after he was falsely convicted of molesting his daughter in 1998 in Lee's Summit, MO. He was eventually acquitted after jurors voted 12-0 to find him innocent on all charges in 2005.
  • Dennis Fritz, author of "Journey Toward Justice," will address the miscarriages of justice as an exoneree of the state of Oklahoma. Fritz was convicted of murder in 1988 and sentenced to life in prison. DNA testing obtained from the crime scene eventually vindicated Fritz from the offense. He was released in April 1999.

Keynote Speaker Will Speak on Reforms

The conference keynote speaker, Thomas P. Sullivan, co-chair of Illinois Governor George H. Ryan's Commission on Capital Punishment and chairman on the Illinois Capital Punishment Reform Study Committee, will share his reflections on new reforms.

Sullivan is a senior partner at Jenner & Block LLP and former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He frequently lectures on trial and appellate practices and has taught at Loyola University and the National Institute of Trail Advocacy.

Visiting Fulbright Scholar to Speak

Visiting UCM Fulbright scholar, Stefan Lorenzmeier, will lecture on "The Right to a Fair Trial in Europe? Procedural Guarantees Under the European Convention on Human Rights and Their Enforcement." Lorenzmeier is an assistant professor at Augsburg University of Law School. He has a master's degree in European law and specializes in international and European law.

Additional Topics

Other plenary session speakers include:

  • Sean D. O'Brien, executive director of the Public Interest Litigation Clinic and professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School
  • Steven Weinberg, professor of journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Timothy Maher, lecturer and Outreach Program Coordinator for the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Cathleen Burnett, criminal justice professor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Peter J. van Koppen, senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement and professor of law and psychology at the Free University Amsterdam and Maastricht University.

Panel Discussions

Papers will presented during panel discussions  on:

  • "International Experiences"
  • "Lessons of Philosophy and History"
  • "Sentencing and Systemic Concerns"
  •  "UCM Women and Juveniles."
  • "Refugees and Immigrants"
  • "Victims and Exonerees.
  • "The Defense Issues and Counsel"
  • "Public Reaction"
  • "Systemic Issues"
  • "DNA Technology and Challenges"
  • "International Experience"
  • "Conceptualizing Justice"

Poster Presentations

Poster presentations will take place from 2-2:50 p.m. in Elliott Union 234. Research by academics and students from UCM and other visiting universities will be featured.

"Miscarriages of Justice: Current Perspectives" is sponsored by the UCM Department of Criminal Justice and Institute of Justice and International Studies. The conference is dedicated to the memory and spirit of the late Irma Garcia, a UCM criminal justice graduate student.

All panel and plenary sessions are free and open to the public. Access a detailed schedule of events at www.ucmo.edu/cjinst. For more information, contact Wallace at 660-543-4950.