Over the last fifteen years, the legal community has increasingly recognized the role of “changed science” in contributing to wrongful convictions. Changed science wrongful convictions occur when the scientific evidence used to convict a criminal defendant at trial has since been questioned or repudiated by the greater scientific community. To address this issue, seven states have enacted “changed science writs,” providing petitioners who may have been wrongfully convicted with a more reliable state habeas mechanism to challenge their convictions. Under these statutes, petitioners may bring challenges based on now-discredited scientific evidence, new guidelines, expert recantations, and scientific advancements. Importantly, these statutes have provided relief to changed science petitioners more consistently than habeas remedies that were previously available. To aid other states considering whether to enact their own changed science statutes, this Note analyzes the existing state writs and makes recommendations for future statutes. Then, this Note proposes a model statute that encapsulates those recommendations.
Jack D. Wasserman,
Science as Superstition: A Model Statute for Changed Science Claims,
73 Duke Law Journal
Available at: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/dlj/vol73/iss3/4