Book Review: Blind justice: A former prosecutor exposes the psychology and politics of wrongful convictions

AuthorWilliam W. Berry
Published date01 June 2023
Date01 June 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
the federal court after getting unfairly stapled to the wall by a conviction-loving state court system
(p. 245). There is no end to the twists and turns the case takes. The battle between viewing the case as
false confession or murderis once again posed, and the what ifquestions concerning the appeals
court and the USSC now called into question (p. 167).
Part VI Legal Reform translates into an argument to update Miranda. Three reforms are offered. A
more in-depth look at the admissibility of a confession is introduced. If Miranda and interrogation
reforms are implemented, what if the testimony were given by an expert witness on false confession
to prevent wrongful conviction? Also needed are changes to the methods police use to interrogate.
Reid and other police techniques are questioned. Unless police are trained to keep an open mind
early in the case and receptive to evidence that contradicts the accusers story,nothing will
change (p. 192). Cicchini insists defeat is not an option and clarif‌ies this by stating if the
Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, Brendon Dassey will go down as one of the greatest injus-
tices in the history of American criminal law(p. 203). Brendon Dasseys prosecution falls short on
so many levels, and as such, the book reveals the worst of the criminal justice system.
This textbook would work well as a supplement for a junior- or senior-level undergraduate course
or as a stand-alone for an individual special studies class. Examining the procedural aspects of the
criminal justice system through a more comprehensive approach to include what works, what dem-
onstrates promise, and what is broken along with the book invites a fuller perspective.
Lee E. Ayers-Preboski
Godsey, M. (2019). Blind justice: A former prosecutor exposes the psychology and politics of wrongful convictions.
Oakland: University of California Press. 264 pp. $24.95, ISBN 978-0-5203-0563-2.
Reviewed by: William W. Berry III, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, USA.
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819874385
In his recent book, BlindInjustice, lawyer and professorMark Godsey adds an important chapter to
the growing innocence literature. A former U.S. attorney in New York, Godsey provides the unique
perspective of a former prosecutor who subsequently served as the director of the Ohio Innocence
Project at the University of Cincinnati Schoolof Law. Responsible for the exonerationof over 25 inno-
cent inmates, Godsey frames wrongfulconvictions as a product of blind spots that prosecutorspossess.
Indeed, that is Godseys mission with this textto open the eyes of actors in the criminal justice
systemprosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys aliketo the blindspots inherent in all participants
with the hope of reducing error and increasing justice. Unlike many who condemn indi viduals on the
other side as incompetent or evil, Godsey cleverly takes the tact of framing shortcomings as largely
unintentional blind spots that develop for situational, cultural, environmental, and institutional
reasons. His goal is not to shame those that f‌ight to uphold convictions even in the presence of over-
whelming evidence of innocence. Rather, Godseywants to help open the eyes of criminal justice actors
to the possibility that errors exist and the underlying biases that allow such mistakes to persist.
To that end,his book marches througha series of kinds of criminaljustice blindness”—blind denial,
blind ambition, blind bias, blind memory, blind intuition, and blind tunn el visionultimately demon-
strating human limitation. Godsey sprinkles his discussions of these topics with a series of anecdotes,
mostly from his personal experience, that illustrate practical examples of these kinds of blindness. S ome
of his examplesthe cases of Nancy Smith andClarence Elkins come to mindappearseveral times.
Book Reviews 265

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