Faculty Profiles

Barbara Spellman

Barbara A. Spellman

Visiting Professor
B.A. Wesleyan University, 1979
J.D. New York University School of Law, 1982
Ph.D. UCLA, 1993

LAW 669 - Law and Psychology: Wrongful Convictions

Why are people wrongfully convicted? There are a variety of reasons: some involve people who act with intentional bad faith, or who make decisions that are bad or unintentionally biased; others involve systemic procedures that engender bad results. Psychologists have been studying relevant situations and processes for decades. In this course we will look at what the psychology research has to say about things like: police investigation, line-ups, false confessions, prosecutorial discretion, plea bargaining, bail, jury “selection”, eyewitness memory, forensic science evidence, alibis, jury decision making, and appellate decision making.