Date Approved

2012

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Donna Selman

Second Advisor

E.L. Cerroni-Long

Abstract

The Innocence Project has exonerated only four women out of their first 250 cases. Even with the increase in media attention, wrongfully convicted women are still underrepresented among exonerees. An examination of the four cases of exonerated women with the help of the Innocence Project will be conducted. First, utilizing official documents including court filings and rulings, the study will identify commonalities and difference that led to a case being chosen by the Innocence Project. Characteristics to be considered are: the crime(s) they were convicted of, the duration of sentences and whether DNA testing was used to exonerate them, or if another type of error was exposed. Second, to understand the context in which the case was selected an examination of the representation of the women by the media and in popular literature will be conducted utilizing discourse analysis. Finally, this research will provide recommendations that suggest improvements to the case selection process.

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