Legal minds eye quality control for convictions

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NEW YORK (AP) — Hospitals have staff meetings to examine why patients died. Airplane pilots have a system for voluntarily submitting information on safety concerns. Yet criminal justice often operates without a similar mechanism for scrutinizing its most feared failure: wrongful convictions.

Some legal thinkers say it's time for a criminal-justice version of quality control: routine scrutiny of cases gone wrong to identify potential weaknesses in the justice system and prevent errors from happening again.

District attorneys, defense lawyers, police officials and law professors traded thoughts with doctors, transportation safety officials and a research-lab safety expert last week at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Some prosecutors and defense lawyers have adopted such strategies as checklists from other fields. And a few cities are testing out problem-solving reviews of cases gone wrong.

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