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Sue Russell

Sue Russell
Journalist Sue Russell's work has appeared internationally in such publications as The Washington Post, New Scientist and The Independent. She is the author of Lethal Intent, a biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos.

Recent articles

A Prescription for Criminal Justice: Embrace Errors, Then Fix Them

A sampling of the many achievable reforms now being used to help avoid wrongful convictions

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for the 1991 arson murder of his three young children. The arson evidence against him was later debunked.

Why Can’t Law Enforcement Admit They Blow It Sometimes?

Because police, detectives and forensic scientists are only human, and it’s all-too natural to be inexplicably reluctant to admit to – or even to see – some of their mistakes.

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Seeking Second Chances Without DNA

DNA testing has overturned many wrongful convictions but the vast majority of criminal cases have no DNA to test. And some of those inmates’ convictions are also flawed.

(PHOTO: ILYA ANDRIYANOV/SHUTTERSTOCK)

The Right and Privilege of Post-Conviction DNA Testing

Almost half the DNA tests conducted at prisoners’ request confirm guilt. Yet many believe that the exceptions more than justify making post-conviction testing widely accessible. And what is often fair or prudent is for Death Row inmates essential.

Litigating Lineups: Why the American Justice System Is Keeping a Close Eye on Witness Identification

The single biggest cause of wrongful convictions is mistaken eyewitness identification. Is there a better way to find the right perpetrator?

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Why Fingerprints Aren’t the Proof We Thought They Were

Fingerprint matching is a vital investigative tool. But despite its legendary aura of infallibility, courtroom claims of fingerprints’ uniqueness are slowly receding.

Human Lie Detectors: The Death of the Dead Giveaway

Amateurs and experts alike overestimate their ability to divine truth and deception. But when criminal investigators do it, it can be very bad news for the accused.

Red Flags: Early Warnings of Wrongful Convictions

Experts find recurring themes in wrongful convictions. And while some jurisdictions are now creating in-house review units to ensure convictions are righteous, commonly repeated mistakes continue to mar cases.

Wrongful Convictions

A Porn Stash and a False Confession: How to Ruin Someone’s Life in the American Justice System

John Watkins’ stash of pornography made him a look like a prime suspect for a rape in police and prosecutors’ eyes. How they wrung a confession out of him and convinced a shaky witness to ID him offers textbook examples of how to achieve a wrongful conviction.

When Extreme Animal Rights Activists Attack

Lawmakers, researchers, and peaceful activists all say they deplore violence committed in the name of animal rights. But laws that may label some protesters as “domestic terrorists” are upsetting activists.

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Quick Studies

To Make Friends, Autistic Kids Need Advice—and Space

Kids with autism need help when it comes to making friends—but they also need their independence.

Gaming the Wedding Gift Registry System

Registering for your wedding? Keep your must-have items away from the average price of your registry—they’re unlikely to be purchased.

Smokey Can’t Save Us: Wildfires Are Out of Control

New research shows how rapidly fire dangers are rising in the American West. The results could help governments plan ahead for the flames.

Banning Chocolate Milk Was a Bad Choice

The costs of banning America's favorite kids drink from schools may outweigh the benefits, a new study suggests.

In Battle Against Climate Change, Cities Are Left All Alone

Cities must play a critical role in shifting the world to a fossil fuel-free future. So why won't anybody help them?

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014