O.J. Lawyer Pushes For Use of DNA Evidence

Three authors challenged law school students last night to leave the halls of academic and seek out injustice.

Former O.J. Simpson lawyer Barry Scheck joined the co-authors of his new book, Actual Innocence, lawyer Peter Neufeld and columnist Jim Dwyer, in a panel discussion about the possibilities for DNA to exonerate the wrongly convicted.

The trio discussed their work over the last decade on "The Innocence Project," a program based at the Cardozo School of Law in Wisconsin, which has helped to exonerate 70 people--including eight on death row--in North America using DNA evidence.


The trio documented 10 cases in their book, painting a portrait of a justice system full of mishandled evidence, corrupt prosecutors and mistaken identities.

"These people could not get heard," Dwyer said. "The system didn't work."

Joining the authors were L. Michael Seidman, a Georgetown University law professor, Bill Kovach, Nieman Foundation curator, and Richard Lewontin, Agassiz research professor in comparative zoology.

Each approached the issue from a different perspective--scholar, journalist and scientist--but agreed on the fundamental basis.

"We can't get rid of this problem, but we can do a hell of a lot better," Seidman said.

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