Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System (Hardcover)

Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System By M. Chris Fabricant Cover Image
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Now in an expanded paperback edition, Innocence Project attorney M. Chris Fabricant presents an insider’s journey into the heart of a broken, racist system of justice and the role junk science plays in maintaining the status quo.

"Fierce and absorbing . . . Fabricant chronicles the battles he and his colleagues have fought to unravel a century of fraudulent experts and the bad court decisions that allowed them to thrive." —Washington Post

"No one in America will ever know the number of innocent people convicted, sent to prison, and even executed because of the flood of rotten forensics and bogus scientific opinions presented to juries. In this intriguing and beautifully crafted book, Innocence Project lawyer M. Chris Fabricant illustrates how wrongful convictions occur, and he makes it obvious how they could be prevented.”—John Grisham, author of A Time for Mercy

From CSI to Forensic Files to the celebrated reputation of the FBI crime lab, forensic scientists have long been mythologized in American popular culture as infallible crime solvers. Juries put their faith in "expert witnesses" and innocent people have been executed as a result. Innocent people are still on death row today, condemned by junk science.

In 2012, the Innocence Project began searching for prisoners convicted by junk science, and three men, each convicted of capital murder, became M. Chris Fabricant's clients. Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System chronicles the fights to overturn their wrongful convictions and to end the use of the "science" that destroyed their lives. Weaving together courtroom battles from Mississippi to Texas to New York City and beyond, Fabricant takes the reader on a journey into the heart of a broken, racist system of justice and the role forensic science plays in maintaining the status quo.

At turns gripping, enraging, illuminating, and moving, Junk Science is a meticulously researched insider's perspective of the American criminal justice system. Previously untold stories of wrongful executions, corrupt prosecutors, and quackery masquerading as science animate Fabricant's true crime narrative.

About the Author

M. CHRIS FABRICANT is the Innocence Project’s Director of Strategic Litigation and one of the nation’s leading experts on forensic sciences and the criminal justice system. Fabricant is featured in the Netflix documentary The Innocence Files and his public commentary has been published in virtually every major media outlet. A former public defender and clinical law professor, Fabricant brings to his writing over two decades of experience ranging from litigating death penalty cases in the Deep South to misdemeanors in the South Bronx. Born in New York City and raised in Sedona, Arizona, Fabricant has lived in Brooklyn since graduating from George Washington University Law School in 1997. He is the author of Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System.

Praise For…

This j'accuse provides a broader look at a deeply disturbing aspect of a criminal justice system already considered racist and biased by many . . . The endemic injustices Fabricant lays bare will likely shake even advocates of robust law and order approaches.

— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Readers—especially those fond of TV detectives and their infallible crime labs—will be flabbergasted by [Fabricant's] list of forensic techniques long used by labs, including the FBI's, and proclaimed by highly paid 'expert witnesses' that, when investigated by competent researchers, turn out to be unreliable or worthless . . . A brilliant rebuttal of junk science in the courtroom.
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

I believed in the polygraph test, in an unthinking way, right up until last week when I read a new book by M. Chris Fabricant, Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System, which carefully and unarguably explains that almost every forensic science is unreliable, and most are entirely bogus.

— Spectator (UK)

Junk Science is a book that should be on every true-crime reader's shelves. It is an eye-opening and infuriating tour through the failed idealism of forensic science as a discipline, how certain techniques like analyzing fibers and bite marks wilt under scrutiny, and how the criteria for 'experts' in a courtroom can be laughable at best and dangerous at worst, causing scores of innocent people to lose decades behind bars (or, in some heartbreaking instances, their lives.).

— Slate, One of “The Best New True Crime That Won’t Make You Feel Gross”

Junk Science is beautifully written, a compilation of stories of trials, appeals, the vagaries of purported science in the courtroom, and the author's personal journey across two landscapes—the many states where he went to challenge bitemark or similar evidence and his own journey of growth as a lawyer and friend to those jailed based on what is at times head-shakingly bad proof . . . Put simply, Junk Science is essential reading . . .

— ABA Criminal Justice Section Magazine
Product Details
ISBN: 9781636140308
ISBN-10: 1636140300
Publisher: Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publication Date: April 5th, 2022
Pages: 368
Language: English