Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rob Warden  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1940 in Carthage, Missouri

-- Website --
-- Rob Warden on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Warden lives and works in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Rob Warden, an award winning legal affairs journalist and, editor and publisher of ''Chicago Lawyer'' magazine during the 1980's, is Executive Director of the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University. Before founding Chicago Lawyer in 1978, Mr. Warden was an investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor at the ''Chicago Daily News''. Since the ''Chicago Lawyer'' changed ownership in 1989, Mr. Warden has worked as a political issues consultant, executive officer of the Cook County States Attorney's Office, and consultant to various law firms and the litigation department of General Electric Medical Systems.Mr. Warden is the author or co-author of hundreds of articles and five books, including two books about wrongful convictions written in collaboration with Northwestern University Journalism Professor David Protess - ''A Promise of Justice'' and ''Gone in the Night''. Mr. Warden has won more than 50 journalism awards, including the Medill School of Journalism's John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism, two American Civil Liberties Union James McGuire Awards, five Peter Lisagor Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Norval Morris Award from the Illinois Academy of Criminology. In 2004, he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Gone in the Night
ISBN: 044021243X

Dell. 1994

When seven-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was murdered near her suburban Chicago home in 1988, her innocent father was convicted and jailed, and his legal team and some committed journalists set out to win David Dowaliby's acquittal, and succeeded. Reprint.

A Promise of Justice: The Eighteen-Year Fight to Save Four Innocent Men
ISBN: 0786862947

Hyperion. 1998

The dramatic true story of how a journalist, a professor, and three students solved a murder and helped free four wrongly convicted men after 18 years in prison.

Wilkie Collins's The Dead Alive: The Novel, the Case, and Wrongful Convictions
ISBN: 0810122944

Northwestern University Press. 2005

On the evidence of The Dead Alive, Scott Turow writes in his foreword that Wilkie Collins might well be the first author of a legal thriller. Here is the lawyer out of sorts with his profession the legal process gone awry even a touch of romance to soften the rigors of the law. And here, too, recast as fiction, is the United States' first documented wrongful conviction case. Side by side with the novel, this book presents the real-life legal thriller Collins used as his model-the story of two brothers, Jesse and Stephen Boorn, sentenced to death in Vermont in 1819 for the murder of their brother-in-law, and belatedly exonerated when their "victim" showed up alive and well in New Jersey in 1820.

Rob Warden, one of the nation's most eloquent and effective advocates for the wrongly convicted, reconsiders the facts of the Boorn case for what they can tell us about the systemic flaws that produced this first known miscarriage of justice-flaws that continue to riddle our system of justice today. A tale of false confessions and jailhouse snitches, of evidence overlooked, and justice more blinkered than blind, the Boorns' story reminds us of the perennial nature of the errors at the heart of American jurisprudence-and of the need to question and correct a system that regularly condemns the innocent.

True Stories of False Confessions
ISBN: 0810126036

Northwestern University Press. 2009

Editors Rob Warden and Steven Drizin—leaders in the field of wrongful convictions—have gathered articles about some of the most critical accounts of false confessions in the U.S. justice system from more than forty authors, including Sydney H. Schanberg, Christine Ellen Young, Alex Kotlowitz, and John Grisham. Many of the pieces originally appeared in leading magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, The Nation, the New Yorker, and the Los Angeles Times.

By grouping the cases into categories—including brainwashing, fabrication, mental fragility, police force, and unrequited innocence—the editors demonstrate similarities between cases, thereby refuting the perception that false confessions represent individual tragedies rather than a systemic flaw in the justice system. These incidents are not isolated they are, in fact, related, and more shocking for it. But the authors of the articles excerpted, adapted, and reprinted in this collection want more for their subjects than outrage they want to fuel change in the practices and standards that illicit false confessions in the first place. To this end, Warden and Drizin include an illuminating introduction to each category and recommendations for policy changes that would reduce false confessions. They also include a postscript for each case, providing legal updates and additional information.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)