The Intersection of Wrongful Convictions and Gender in Cases Where Women Were Sentenced to Death or Life in Prison Without Parole
This Note examines National Registry of Exonerations data and discusses the prevalence of false confessions and presence of a child victim in cases of women who were convicted of murder, received a serious sentence, and were later exonerated. After looking at the cases of women exonerated after receiving death sentences or life without parole sentences in light of the prevalence of these factors, this Note argues that examination of the cases reveals that the presence of a false confession or a child victim may have contributed to some of the wrongful convictions where these factors may have led to the women being viewed as having failed to conform to society’s expectations for women. This Note then discusses why evidence that portrayed the women as having violated society’s expectations could not have been excluded at trial and why exclusion in future cases through the rules of evidence or new legislation is challenging. This Note concludes by arguing that an awareness of how gender can contribute to wrongful convictions or the imposition of harsher sentences can help attorneys and judges guard against gender affecting the outcomes of criminal proceedings.
Connor F. Lang,
The Intersection of Wrongful Convictions and Gender in Cases Where Women Were Sentenced to Death or Life in Prison Without Parole,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol27/iss2/4