• The Fairbanks Four: hopeless innocence and the flawed system that escorted them to stagnant wrongful convictions

      Hill, Meghan (2014)
      This project explores factors that lead to wrongful convictions with a case study from 1997 on the sensitive claim of innocence on the Fairbanks, Alaska community: The John Hartman murder. As the representative model throughout the project, this sexual assault and murder case of the accused Fairbanks Four will be examined. Through a multi-disciplinary scope, the topic will be approached through numerous accounts of research, interviews, and field-work. By dissecting the Fairbanks Four case and applying it to the research of the burdensome appeals process, the supporting factors are apparent in the practices that lead to wrongful convictions. In the synopsis, methods that lead to convictions, as well as the inconsistent wavering time table, will be disclosed. Further, counter methods to tactics currently practiced and how to avoid time delays of such a rigorous and often hopeless process will also be included. With underdog defense organizations such as The Innocence Project and The Alaska Innocence Project growth and expansion, we increasingly see success in the overturn of wrongful convictions throughout the United States. This paper will argue and highlight the systemic faults in the current convictions process and identify recommendations to modify such faults in relation to the case study of the Fairbanks Four.