Wrongful Convictions


Name: Maria DeArteaga
SCID: UW Law School
Department: University of Wisconsin Law School
Course Name: Wrongful ConvictionsCourse Objectives:

  • CO1: Students will identify the most common causes of wrongful convictions.
  • CO2: Students will be able to create a map of pre- and post-conviction procedure.
  • CO3: Students will be able to analyze a case to determine which potential post-conviction litigation options, if any, are available to a client.

Course Units:

  • CU1: Pre-Conviction Criminal Procedure
  • CU2: Post-Conviction Criminal Procedure
  • CU3: Post-Conviction DNA Testing

Unit Objectives:

  • UO1: Students will identify the elements of Wisconsin Statute section 974.07, Wisconsin’s post-conviction DNA statute.
  • UO2: Students will identify cases where filing a post-conviction DNA motion appears appropriate.
  • UO3: Students will identify sources of information that will allow them to determine whether physical evidence still exists in a case.

Activity One

Activity: the dna statute
Description:Read Wisconsin Statute section 974.07 and appropriate case las; create a personal reference guideModality: In class – Team Work
Activity Sequence: Students will review the statute, then in teams of 2, develop reference guides that contain the basic elements of the statute.
Objectives Supported: UO1, UO2
Horton Type: Absorb/Do
Bloom’s Level: Knowledge/Describe
Evidence: Accuracy of reference guides
Time on Task: 30 minutes
Required Knowledge: Ability to read a statute
Pedagogical Role: Provide feedback on reference guides
Social Role: Ensure effective teamwork
Managerial Role: Monitor use of class time
Technical Role: NA
Technical Role:

Activity Two

Activity: the science of dna
Description:Identify the basics of DNA testingModality: Online and In Class
Activity Sequence: Online readings, visual presentation in class, followed by quiz
Objectives Supported: UO2, UO3
Horton Type: Absorb
Bloom’s Level: Knowledge/Understand
Evidence: Quiz
Time on Task: 60 minutes
Required Knowledge: NA
Pedagogical Role: Develop content that leads to student appreciation of the science behind DNA testing
Social Role: NA
Managerial Role: Communicate clear and consistence expectations of depth of knowledge regarding the science of DNA testing
Technical Role: TopHat (ensure students feel comfortable using this technology)
Technical Role:

Activity Three

Activity:dna in the news
Description:Read article addressing DNA testing in the news and reflectModality: Online and in class
Activity Sequence: Review article, journal thoughts, class discussion
Objectives Supported: UO2
Horton Type: Absorb/connect
Bloom’s Level: Evaluate
Evidence: Participation in class discussion of the article
Time on Task: 40 minutes
Required Knowledge: NA
Pedagogical Role: Choose article that fosters deeper thinking about post-conviction DNA testing
Social Role: Cultivate student participation in the class discussion of the article
Managerial Role: Establish guidelines and expectations for class participation
Technical Role: DoIT Help Desk
Technical Role:

Activity Four

Activity: Requesting information from necessary sources
Description:Identify sources of information to determine if physical evidence still exists in a case; practice exampleModality: In class
Activity Sequence: Review actors (holders of information and decision makers) in the criminal justice system, demonstrate example in front of class using technology, students then practice using their own case
Objectives Supported: UO3
Horton Type: Absorb/Do
Bloom’s Level: Knowledge/Understand/Apply
Evidence: Accuracy of practice example
Time on Task: 60 minutes
Required Knowledge: General understanding of actors in the criminal justice system
Pedagogical Role: Ensure the practice examples are good representations of cases students will work on in the future
Social Role: Allow students enough time to digest the information before the practice example activity; encourage team work
Managerial Role: Ensure students have the foundational knowledge necessary for understanding how and from where to request information
Technical Role: DoIT Help Desk
Technical Role:

Activity Five

Activity: identification of a “dna case”
Description:Review sample potential client applications; determine whether post-conviction DNA testing is a potential option for post-conviction relief; draft outlinesModality: In class
Activity Sequence: Individually read cases and make an initial determination about viability of DNA testing, discuss as a class, map out a motion outline in teams
Objectives Supported: UO1, UO2
Horton Type: Absorb/Do
Bloom’s Level: Analyze/Evaluate/Create
Evidence: Participation in class discussion, accuracy of motion outline
Time on Task: 90 minutes
Required Knowledge: DNA statute; sample DNA motion
Pedagogical Role: Ensure students have appropriate level of information necessary for drafting the outline
Social Role: Encourage teamwork and respectful class discussion
Managerial Role: Ensure students are comfortable with the determination of whether a case has the potential for post-conviction DNA testing before requiring the students to draft DNA motions
Technical Role: NA
Technical Role:

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