Editor’s Note:

Each year, LJSJ works internally towards fostering action-orientated legal discourse. To this end, our Symposium was an in-person panel discussion titled Innocent Behind Bars: A Symposium on Over-Criminalization, a multi-panel discussion centered around Professor Valena Beety’s book Manifesting Justice, which discusses the overcriminalization of vulnerable populations and how women and vulnerable populations are uniquely impacted by incarceration. Our panelists included Professors Maybell Romero, Aya Gruber, Yvette Butler, Leigh Goodmark, Daniel Medwed, Omavi Shukur, Russ Covey, Jessica Henry, Wendy Bach, Ji Seon Song, Priscilla Ocen, Eve Hanan, Seema Saifee, Jordan Woods, and Carla Laroche. The Symposium would not have been possible without the generous contributions of the Academy for Justice and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. 

This volume starts off with a Keynote Address for Innocent Behind Bars: A Symposium on Over-Criminalization, where author Valena Beety expands our ideas of wrongful convictions to include miscarriages of justice, bias, and faulty forensic evidence. Professor Beety argues that these wrongful convictions are convictions that should be reversed.

In Women and No-Crime Wrongful Convictions: The Misclassification Error, author Jessica Henry examines the numerous types of non-criminal events that have resulted in no-crime wrongful convictions of innocent people. Throughout her piece, she considers the intersectional factors that make women particularly vulnerable to no-crime wrongful convictions.

In Not Just Mercy: The Untapped Potential of Clemency to Right Wrongful Convictions, author Daniel Medwed provides an overview of executive clemency, arguing that it is “by no means a fail safe that some apologists for judicial inaction consider it to be.” Professor Medwed concludes by discussing how to alter clemency to best support factual innocence claims.

In Criminalized Survivors and the Promise of Abolition Feminism, author Leigh Goodmark argues that to protect criminalized survivors of gender-based violence, we must dismantle the carceral system. Abolition feminism, instead, is the only practice that can undo the damage that has been done to these survivors.

In Manifesting Feminism, author Aya Gruber explores how the feminist approach to gender violence is invariably endorsing tougher criminal law. Professor Gruber argues that to manifest justice, more feminists should explore non-carceral remedies that reject the penal system, a system antithetical to feminism.

Finally, in Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care, author Wendy A. Bach analyzes a Tennessee law that made it a crime for a pregnant woman to transmit narcotics to a fetus. In this excerpt from her book, Professor Bach focuses on the structural mechanisms that merge punishment and care, arguing that criminalizing care is a steep cost; individuals have to pay in incarceration, in fines, in separation from their family and community and in many other ways that incarceration and conviction make life difficult.

I would to like to thank Valena Beety, Jessica Henry, Daniel Medwed, Leigh Goodmark, Aya Gruber, and Wendy Bach for contributing excerpts of their powerful books, as well as all the scholars who joined our Symposium. Finally, I would like to thank my Executive and Editorial Board for their continuous hard work and support. Your passion and knowledge are needed out in the legal sphere, and I look forward to seeing how you reshape the law to create a more just world.

Kylie Love | Editor-in-Chief