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For Don Timoh

For this essay, you will look at a case of wrongful incarceration and explain some of the issues in the justice system that can cause a wrongful incarceration.

The cases I have provided all have had a decent amount of media coverage and I have linked to the trail of the film or series to give you a better idea of the cases.


  • The Central Park Five (Covered in class)

  • The West Memphis Three: Three teenagers are accused of the murder of three young boys. After years of appeals and three documentary films, they are freed on an Alford Plea, which doesn't exonerate them, but they are able to go free based on time service. The films on this subject are The Paradise Lost documentary series. There are three films and they are rather graphic. There is a documentary that covers the whole story and is a little less graphic called West of Memphis.

  • Randal Adams (Depicted in the filmThe Thin Blue Line) A drifter, Randal Adams gets accused of shooting a police officer, and the main eyewitness is a teenager with a criminal record and wants to get even with Adams for not helping him out. Director Errol Morris investigates the case and his interviews reveal something very different, and perhaps even a confession.

  • Steven Avery (First Conviction, Making a Murderer) The popular Netflix show focuses on the current attempts to exonerate Avery, but before the murder of Theresa Halbach, he was exonerated for sexual assault.

  • The San Antonio Four: This is a newer film/case. They were exonerated in November of last year. I have not seen the film yet, but here is the description."After being wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls during the Satanic Panic witch hunt era of the 80s and 90s, four Latina lesbians fight against mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor in their struggle for exoneration in this riveting “true crime” tale."

  • Your Choice: If you find a case of exoneration with enough research to create an essay, email me for approval.

Essay Requirements:

  • 1000 to 1200 words

  • Six academic and argumentative sources

  • MLA Formatting

  • Argumentative Thesis Statement

Essay Organization:

  • Introduction: Brief background, thesis statement—Why do you think these individuals were targeted as the perpetrators of the crime?

  • Body paragraphs: The case, the issues (economic class, prejudice, racial biased—connect this to your thesis) with the case, and the outcome

  • Conclusion: Restate your thesis and point out the strongest parts of your argument.

Case Links:

  • The West Memphis Three; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgqP2SS33VI&feature=youtu.be
  • The Thin Blue Line; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o1NMQbmCy0&feature=youtu.be
  • Making a Murderer; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxgbdYaR_KQ&feature=youtu.be
  • The San Antonio Four; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUfabu85cqc&feature=youtu.be
  • The Central Park Five; https://fmovies.se/film/the-central-park-five.z08m

Resources and Links:

  1. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/record-number-exonerations-2015
  2. https://www.innocenceproject.org/
  3. http://time.com/79572/more-innocent-people-on-death-row-than-estimated-study/
  4. https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=808
  5. https://www.aclu.org/blog/speakeasy/race-contributes-wrongful-convictions
  6. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/taxing-the-wrongfully-convicted/470397/
  7. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/michelle-alexander-a-system-of-racial-and-social-control/
  8. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/life-exoneration/

You must use these sources when you writing the essay. Also, if you want you can add 1 or 2 your own sources. 

Essay include at least 6 sources. 

I will upload an outline for this essay. You have to write according to this outline.

Last but not least, don't forget to the thesis statement. You have to write an impressive thesis statement.

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