Spring 2023 - CRIM 438 D100

Wrongful Convictions and Other Miscarriages of Justice (3)

Class Number: 2230

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    SSCK 9500, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2023
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    CRIM 330 is recommended.



Examines the issues of wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice. Considers the major factors that contribute to wrongful convictions despite the safeguards built into the system, and ways to prevent or reduce their number. Students with credit for CRIM 417 under this title (Fall 2007 or Fall 2008) may not take this course for further credit.


Wrongful convictions are one of the most critical problems within our criminal justice system, and within our society more broadly. This course will introduce you to the FYI’s of wrongful convictions in Canada. Using both legal and intersectional frameworks, we will explore wrongful convictions from all angles! We will look at how and why wrongful convictions happen; the legal processes for addressing wrongful convictions; the systemic issues that perpetuate wrongful convictions; the immense (and sensational!) impact of the media; and the pivotal role that we the public have as the court of public opinion. We will also explore some of the less visible parts of a wrongful conviction – namely how the wrongfully convicted experience wrongful convictions, as humans and as individuals, beyond just a case study. Throughout this course, reintegration will be a constant theme we come back to as we explore the profound impact that a wrongful conviction has on the wrongfully convicted. Please note, this course will primarily explore cases of wrongful convictions in Canada, but will occasionally draw from other countries.


  • Tutorial Engagement 10%
  • Tutorial Activity 10%
  • Response Paper 15%
  • Assignment 25%
  • Prep Test 10%
  • Final Exam 30%



There is no required textbook for this course. Rather, readings for this course will consist of online reference sources, such as (but not limited to) the legislation (ie. Criminal Code of Canada), case law, scholarly articles, government reports, diagnostic tools, and media articles. These will be detailed in our course syllabus and they will also be linked on our Canvas course page.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

If you have any Criminology course enrollment requests (course adds, course swaps), please contact a Criminology advisor. Please do not contact instructors for enrollment assistance as they will ultimately refer you to a Criminology advisor.

Criminology course enrollment requests should be sent to a Criminology advisor no later than the last day of the Second week of classes. Late enrollment requests are subject to approval and are not guaranteed. 

Enrollment requests for non-Crim courses should be directed to the advisor for the program offering the course. 

ATTENTION: STUDENTS WITH A DISABILITY: Please contact the Center for Accessible Learning, (MBC 1250 or Phone 778-782-3112) if you need or require assistance, not your individual instructors.  

  • N.B.: Students are reminded that attendance in the first week of classes is important. However, there are no tutorials in the first week.
  • ON CAMPUS COURSES ONLY: Assignments not submitted to the Professor/T.A. during class/office hours must be placed in the security box behind the General Office (SWH 10156), or submitted as per Professor’s instructions for courses taking place at Surrey Campus. The assignment drop box is emptied Monday to Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. only, with the contents date stamped accordingly. No other department’s date stamp will be accepted (e.g. Library/Campus Security).  For the Surrey Campus, assignments must be hand delivered to the General Office of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, located at SUR 5180, on Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30p.m., or placed in the assignment drop box located at the southwest corner of Galleria 5.  The Surrey assignment drop box is emptied Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., with the contents date stamped accordingly.  The School of Criminology is not responsible for assignments submitted in any other manner (e.g., slid under office doors).  The University does NOT accept assignments by fax or email.
  • A student must complete ALL aspects of a course (including assignments, exams, class participation, presentations, chat room components of Distance Education courses and other), otherwise they will receive a grade of N. 
  • The University has formal policies regarding intellectual dishonesty and grade appeals which may be obtained from the General Office of the School of Criminology.
  • Under GP18, the University has policies and procedures which respond to our obligations under the BC Human Rights Code to provide a harassment and discrimination free environment for the students, staff and faculty of this institution.  Members of this community have an affirmative obligation to safeguard the human rights of others.


Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html