A11: Annotated Bibliography

Adapt from your Proposal +5

The Annotated Bibliography is an assignment you are already prepared to post if you’ve been adding bibliographic information to your Proposal +5 (or to your White Paper) since the day you first posted it.

15 Sources

Most likely you have consulted more than 15 sources in the course of your semester of research, but restrict your Annotated Bibliography to the 15 most useful sources.

Wrongful Convictions The American Experience

1. Huff, Ronald C. “Wrongful Convictions: The American Experience.Questia Trusted Online Research. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 15 Jan. 2004. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

Background: This article discusses the depth of wrongful convictions in the United States as well as other nations such as Canada. It focuses on how wrongful convictions occur and on organizations that are working to try and prevent them.

How I Used It: This article helped me discover the most common reasons why innocent people end up in prison. I used it demonstrate that a mixture of intentional and unintentional actions on the part of witnesses and prosecutors most often landed innocent people in jail. The defendants were often badly represented, and the prosecutors exhibited an appalling willingness to cajole, coerce, or bargain with witnesses to get the testimony they needed to convict innocent people.

2. Liptak, Adam. “Study Suspects Thousands of False Convictions.The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Apr. 2004. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Background: This article from The New York Times focuses on a study conducted by The University of Michigan about 328 criminal cases in which the convicted person was released from prison. Upon finding this evidence, the University believed that thousands of innocent people are in prison for crimes they did not commit. While the article does not fixate on DNA exonerations, there is a large portion of it that suggests new DNA evidence can easily overturn wrongful convictions.

How I Used It: The most common way to overturn wrongful convictions proves to be the finding and presenting of DNA evidence that was ignored at trial. The study highlights exactly how large of a problem false convictions are in the United States by using a small group of convicted inmates and discovering exactly how many of them are actually innocent, something I proved in my essay on a larger scale.

3.  “250 Exonerated, and the Need for Reform.– The Innocence Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Background: This extraordinary document from “The Innocence Project”details the cases of 250 convicts falsely imprisoned, many for 20 years or more, on the basis of misidentification, false testimony, questionable evidence, or flawed test results. The Innocence Project is dedicated to helping free innocent victims that were falsely convicted. It uses DNA evidence to exclude convicts who have consistently and loudly protested their innocence of the crimes they’ve been convicted of.

How I Used It: I used concrete examples of people that were helped by the discovery or reopening of cases based on DNA or other evidence. The evidence is clear that poor defendants with or without prior convictions who feel powerless to fight a system that appears stacked against them can be coerced into taking plea deals even when they know they haven’t committed a crime.

4.  Dewan, Shaila. “Prosecutors Block Access to DNA Testing for Inmates.The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 May 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Background: This article focuses on two men, one of which is in prison for a rape he insists he did not commit, and the other who says DNA evidence would prove he was falsely convicted of a double murder. The article states that prosecutors often resist reopening cases despite the fact that the reinstitution of a closed case could potentially free an innocent person from prison.

How I Used It: I used the evidence of this source to demonstrate the unconscionable efforts of prosecutors to avoid reopening a case to do further DNA testing. Quite often, law enforcers are content with placing a person in prison and to them, a person in jail is a win whether they are innocent or not. This obviously is a major flaw in the justice system, which I exposed with the help of this article as it offers a backstage pass into the world of criminology.

5. “Criminology” Beirne, Piers, and Messerschmidt, James. Criminology. Fort Worth, Texas. Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1991.

Background: This book provides background on all things related to Criminology. The chapter dedicated to false convictions helped guide my research into prosecutorial misconduct, false eyewitness testimony, and the difficulty of getting new trials even when new evidence is discovered.

How I Used It: This book did not provide me specific details of case histories, but it was invaluable as a resource for terminology and explanations of laws, court proceedings, and criminal investigations.


  • Adapt your Proposal +5 into an Annotated Bibliography.
  • 15 Sources. Most likely after a semester of research, you will have 15 or more strong sources to include. Limit yourself to the best 15.
  • Broad Range of Credible Source Types. As we have mentioned many times, your sources are to be a blend of popular and peer-reviewed academic sources. They may also include first person reports, interviews, surveys. The model above uses an academic journal, two New York Times articles, an advocacy website, and a nonfiction textbook.
  • “How I Used It.” The “How I Intend to Use it” section no longer applies in the finished Bibliography. Alter those sections to produce the “How I Used It” sections.
  • Call your post Bibliography—Username.
  • Publish your bibliography in the A11: Bibliography category and of course, your Username category.


  • DUE TUE APR 25 before class.
  • Customary late penalties. (0-24 hours 10%) (24-48 hours 20%) (48+ hours, 0 grade)
  • Portfolio grade category (75%)