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On a Silver Platter: Ce-ROMs and the Promises of a New Technologyby Jon Gould
Synopses & Reviews
Beyond Exonerating the Innocent: Author on WAMU Radio
Convicted Yet Innocent: The Legal Times Review
Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2008
DNA testing and advances in forensic science have shaken the foundations of the U.S. criminal justice system. One of the most visible results is the exoneration of inmates who were wrongly convicted and incarcerated, many of them sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. This has caused a quandary for many states: how can claims of innocence be properly investigated and how can innocent inmates be reliably distinguished from the guilty? In answer, some states have created "innocence commissions" to establish policies and provide legal assistance to the improperly imprisoned.
The Innocence Commission describes the creation and first years of the Innocence Commission for Virginia (ICVA), the second innocence commission in the nation and the first to conduct a systematic inquiry into all cases of wrongful conviction. Written by Jon B. Gould, the Chair of the ICVA, who is a professor of justice studies and an attorney, the author focuses on twelve wrongful conviction cases to show how and why wrongful convictions occur, what steps legal and state advocates took to investigate the convictions, how these prisoners were ultimately freed, and what lessons can be learned from their experiences.
Gould recounts how a small band of attorneys and other advocates — in Virginia and around the country — have fought wrongful convictions in court, advanced the subject of wrongful convictions in the media, and sought to remedy the issue of wrongful convictions in the political arena. He makes a strong case for the need for Innocence Commissions in every state, showing that not only do Innocence Commissions help to identify weaknesses in the criminal justice system and offer workable improvements, but also protect society by helping to ensure that actual perpetrators are expeditiously identified, arrested, and brought to trial. Everyone has an interest in preventing wrongful convictions, from police officers and prosecutors, who seek the latest and best investigative techniques, to taxpayers, who want an efficient criminal justice system, to suspects who are erroneously pursued and sometimes convicted.
Free of legal jargon and written for a general audience, The Innocence Commission is instructive, informative, and highly compelling reading.
When the new medium of CD-ROMs emerged, industry figures and critics alike proclaimed their virtually unlimited potential. Adapting material from well-established media like television and film, CD-ROMs have quickly transformed genres such as science fiction and horror. At the same time, the realities of actual CD-ROMs often fall short of their utopian visions.
On a Silver Platter marks a "coming of age" for CD-ROMs as a commercially and aesthetically significant medium demanding critical attention. Greg Smith brings together media scholars such as Lisa Cartwright, Henry Jenkins, Janet Murray, and Scott Bukatman to analyze how CD-ROMs offer alternatives to familiar places--to museums, to cities, and especially to classrooms. Examining specific CD-ROM titles, including, Sim City, Civilization, and Phantasmagoria, the contributors argue that CD-ROMs are complex texts worthy of close consideration, both for how they have changed our understanding of space and genre, and for how they will impact the development of future media.
By examining particular CD-ROM texts and contexts, On a Silver Platter probes this new medium for insight and understanding into the current state of multimedia and into the future of technology.
About the Author
Greg M. Smith teaches media studies at Carlow College in
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