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The People’s Vanguard of Davis | PACE UNIVERSITY

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The People’s Vanguard of Davis featured Haub Law School Alumn Jeffrey Deskovic's piece: "Looking Back: Truth and Justice – The Innocent Prisoner's Dilemna"


The People’s Vanguard of Davis featured Haub Law School Alumn Jeffrey Deskovic's piece: "Looking Back: Truth and Justice – The Innocent Prisoner's Dilemna"

“Jeffrey Deskovic, JD, MA, is an internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert and founder of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which has freed 7 wrongfully convicted people and helped pass 3 laws aimed at preventing wrongful conviction. Jeff is an advisory board member of It Could Happen To You, which has chapters in CA, NY, and PA. He serves on the Global Advisory Council for Restorative Justice International, and is a sometimes co-host and co-producer of the show, “360 Degrees of Success.” Jeff was exonerated after 16 years in prison-from age 17-32- before DNA exonerated him and identified the actual perpetrator. A short documentary about his life is entitled “Conviction“, and episode 1 of his story in Virtual Reality is called, “Once Upon A Time In Peekskill“. Jeff has a Masters Degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with his thesis written on wrongful conviction causes and reforms needed to address them, and a law degree from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

Parole is discretionary release from prison after an inmate has served the minimum time to which he was sentenced and has appeared in front of a parole board, a panel generally consisting of three or more commissioners who have been appointed by the governor to make determinations of whether or not a prisoner would, if released, remain at liberty without breaking the law. Part of their evaluation depends upon whether or not the individual has been rehabilitated. Factors which are typically considered include the inmates disciplinary record, his vocational and educational accomplishments in prison, any letters of support and any letters from the crime victim or surviving family members.

One factor which is not statutorily required, but which has become a de facto element in the process is whether or not the prisoner takes responsibility for their crime and expresses remorse.

That element creates a catch 22 situation, labeled by Law Professor Daniel Medwed as “The Innocent Prisoner’s Dilmena.” Medwed, who is a law professor at the university of Utah, used to be the assistant director to the now defunct “second Look Program” at Brooklyn Law school, which sought to clear wrongfully convicted prisoners in non-DNA cases. The innocent prisoner, on the one hand, must maintain his innocence if he is to legitimately pursue every avenue of appeal and discovery potentially capable of reversing his wrongful conviction. On the other hand, if he maintains his innocence before the parole board, he is almost certainly going to be denied.

Read the full People’s Vanguard of Davis article.