Members of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review have been writing on a broad range of topics. This post summarizes an article by Colin Maguire about junk science.
The legal system is far from perfect. Sometimes, the system can even create gross injustices.
That was the case with David Gavitt – a man who served over two decades in prison after he was wrongly convicted of killing his wife and young children. At the time of his conviction, the scientific consensus was that someone set a fire that engulfed David’s house, injured him, and killed his family. With no other suspects, a jury convicted David of setting the fatal fire.
Years later, it was revealed that the “science” used to convict David was junk science . . . and David was not the only person affected as a result of bad arson science. The Thomas M. Cooley Law Review’s Publicity Editor, Colin W. Maguire, visited Imran Syed, Staff Attorney at the University of Michigan Law School’s Innocence Clinic. Mr. Syed started working on David’s case as a law student and was there to accompany David out of prison after he was exonerated. You can read the interview on the Review‘s website in a piece entitled “When Science Fails Us & We Fail Justice: A Conversation About the Tragic Case of David Gavitt.” In this in-depth interview, Maguire and Syed explore the details of this injustice. The interview also looks at remedies that attorneys and lawmakers should consider when dealing with a clear case of bad science leading to bad convictions.