Roberts’s Recent Article Named a “Must-Read”

Professor Anna Roberts’s 2020 article, Convictions as Guilt, has been selected as a “must read” article by the Academic Advisory Board of the Getting Scholarship into Court Project. The Project’s purpose is to spread the word about scholarship that will be especially useful to courts and practitioners. The article will be featured in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ magazine, The Champion, and should come to the attention of “thousands of lawyers, judges, and scholars.”

This is the fourth article by Professor Roberts to receive this accolade. (The others were Arrests as GuiltImpeachment by Unreliable Conviction, and (Re)forming the Jury: Detection and Disinfection of Implicit Juror Bias.)

An abstract of Convictions as Guilt follows:

A curious tension exists in scholarly discourse about the criminal legal system. On the one hand, a copious body of work exposes a variety of facets of the system that jeopardize the reliability of convictions. These include factors whose influence is pervasive: the predominance of plea bargaining, for example, and the subordination of the defense. On the other hand, scholars often discuss people who have criminal convictions in a way that appears to assume crime commission. This apparent assumption obscures crucial failings of the system, muddies the role of academia, and, given the unequal distribution of criminal convictions, risks compounding race- and class-based stereotypes of criminality. From careful examination of this phenomenon and its possible explanations, reform proposals emerge.

Anna Roberts
Professor of Law

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