Deirdre Enright

"Miracle" Conviction or One More Mistake?

Washington Post

UVA Law Faculty Affiliations

Deirdre M. Enright


It is hard to imagine a more hollow and unsatisfying conviction than that of Ingmar Guandique. Twice in 10 years, law enforcement has been hijacked by sensation.

Immediately after Chandra Levy’s disappearance, police ignored even the most basic principles of investigation and evidence preservation in favor of allowing themselves to be hypnotized by a sex scandal that turned out to be irrelevant. Years later, Post reporters exposed the negligent investigation and generated the theory of Mr. Guandique’s involvement. Law enforcement was entranced once more in search of the public illusion of solving the crime and vindicating its negligent investigation. Ironically, the shoddy investigation simultaneously left Guandique with little physical evidence with which to defend himself and invited prosecution based on the most dubious and desperate form of “evidence” — the testimony of Guandique’s cellmate, who was the linchpin of the prosecution’s case.



Matthew L. Engle & Deirdre M. Enright, "Miracle" Conviction or One More Mistake?, Washington Post (November 27, 2010).

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