The Exonerated: False Confessions and Wrongful Conviction
This event is co-sponsored by Adelphi University’s Criminal Justice Club and Program, The Artivism Initiative and the Artivism Club, and the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice
Internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert and Founder of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, Jeffrey Deskovic, Esq., MA, will be joined by his colleague, Oscar Michelen, Esq, an Advisory Board Member of The Foundation, as they discuss their work on false confessions and wrongful conviction. Jeff himself spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit based in large part on coerced, false confession obtained from him, and has used that miscarriage of justice to help others in similar circumstances. Mr. Michelen has exonerated 6 people including David McCallum who falsely confessed and is currently preparing for an upcoming retrial for a Foundation client who falsely confessed.
Topics to be discussed will include: Jeff’s false confession; types of false confessions; percentage of wrongful convictions caused by false confessions that ended in a DNA exoneration; red flags that a confession may be false; best practices for preventing wrongful convictions caused by false confessions; legal limitations on false confession experts; defending cases involving false confession – at trial, on appeal, and in the exoneration process via post conviction; and pending legislation that addresses false confessions.
Jeffrey Deskovic, Esq., MA
An internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert and Founder of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice which has freed 11 wrongfully convicted people and helped pass 3 laws aimed at preventing wrongful conviction. Jeff is also an advisory board member of the national coalition group It Could Happen To You, which helped pass 6 additional laws; serves on the Global Advisory Council of Restorative Justice International; and co-owns the Recharge Beyond The Bars Re-Entry Game. Jeff speaks across the country and internationally on wrongful conviction, criminal justice reform, and overcoming adversity; makes frequent media appearances; regularly meets with elected officials; and as an individual endorses political candidates who are running on a wrongful conviction prevention and/or criminal justice reform plank. He has spoken in front of numerous judicial audiences; prosecutorial groups & District Attorney Offices; Police Academies; Forensic Scientists; defense attorneys; and as a Continuing Legal Education Co-Instructor. Jeff served on the Peekskill Police Taskforce Reform group as well as on the transition team of an incoming District Attorney, helping to draft memos and recommendations for the new Conviction Review Unit. His motivation is that he spent 16 years in prison – from age 17-32 – despite a pre-trial negative DNA Test, for murder and rape prior to being exonerated by DNA. A documentary short about his advocacy and life after exoneration, “Conviction”, can be watched on Amazon Prime.
Oscar Michelen, Esq.
Oscar has exonerated 6 people, and is currently handling 6 wrongful conviction cases. His exoneration of David McCallum (28 yrs) and Willie Stuckey was the subject of the documentary, “David and Me”, while Calvin Buari’s (22 yrs) was featured by the podcast, “Empire on Blood”. Oscar is an advisory board member of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice and It Could Happen To You. Oscar, who was born in the Dominican Republic and graduated New York Law School Magna Cum Laude in the top 5% of his class, is also an adjunct professor at Touro Law College.